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The Winds
at our Backs - A ski crossing of the Wind River Range The Winds at our Backs - A ski crossing of the Wind River Range  by relic

In late April of 2015 a friend and I skied across the Wind River Range from the Torrey Lake entrance, up over Burro Pass, down into Dinwoody Creek, took in a summit of Gannett, then exited over Bonney Pass and out to Elkhart Park. It was true wilderness experience; we did not see another human for the entire trip.

The snow drought of 2015 was very evident, the lack of snow in spots on the east side required us to carry the skis almost to Burro Pass,then in quite a few intermittent spots as we worked our way up the Dinwoody. It took 4 days to hike or ski in, with Gannett Peak finally coming into view at the end of day 3; we intentionally set a camp that evening with a great view of the mountain. Day 4 we moved up into the basin directly below the Gooseneck Glacier, finding a perfect rocky alcove in which to set a partly protected camp.

White Hill - Cheticamp
Flowage White Hill - Cheticamp Flowage  by MountainHikerCO

It was almost 11:00 am when we came to a survey cut line that isn’t marked on the map. I did know of its existence from studying the aerial photos of the area. I had a copy of the aerial photo with me. This survey cut line probably indicates the National Park boundary. I knew if the road still existed we had to be within a 100 meters of it along this cut line. Dorthe waited while I first walked about 100 meters in the direction I thought least likely, just to eliminate it. After getting back to Dorthe we didn’t have to travel very far in the other direction to finally meet up with this road. It was now a full 2 hours after leaving the lake. We had only gained about a kilometer in that hour with a lot of thrashing through the bushes.

Little Hikers on the North
Mountain Little Hikers on the North Mountain  by Rocky Alps

Ever since watching “Frozen”, our 3-year-old daughter Ivy has wanted to climb the North Mountain. North Peak (the one near Mount Nebo), one of the few remaining Wasatch 11ers on my list, seemed like the closest mountain having a similar name, so I told her that if she got really good at hiking this summer then we could give it a try. Until this summer she’d mostly just been taken along for the ride in our kid carrier backpack, but with her baby sister Elissa now having dibs on the backpack it was time for Ivy to get used to hiking more on her own. We started out on some easier family hikes in the Wasatch, some of which we’d already done before along with some new ones.

Slam: Spickard, Rahm, Custer, Redoubt, SE Mox Chilliwack Slam: Spickard, Rahm, Custer, Redoubt, SE Mox  by StephAbegg

The Chilliwack Group has particular appeal to peak-baggers because it has five* of Washington's 100 highest summits within close proximity—#16 (Spickard), #18 (Redoubt), #39 (Custer), #56 (SE Mox), and #60 (Rahm). We figured we could easily climb all five in a matter of 4-5 days. At this point, I am not specifically pursuing the Top 100 summits yet, but a trip like this at least inspires the idea to begin to stew in the back of my mind. After all, SE Mox is often considered to be one of the hardest summits on the list, so having that one tagged would make the list all the more achievable. (*Note: At the time we did not realize that there were actually six Top 100 summits in the area, with NW Mox being #75; if we had known we would have climbed NW Mox on our final day before hiking out. Oh well, just gives a reason to go back to the area!)

Even with all our winter day trip-planning, Brian and I had never really nailed down a specific order in which to climb the five summits. The decision was finally made when an early July snowstorm left a fresh dusting of snow on the North Cascades, encouraging us to plan on first climbing the more moderate Spickard, Rahm, and Custer, giving the snow a chance to melt off of the steeper and rockier Redoubt and SE Mox, which we would climb from a basecamp at the head of the Redoubt Glacier. At the onset of the trip, we had been a bit concerned that the early season snowcover would pose some problems, but in the end we discovered that the snow covered much of the annoying scree and talus we had read about, expedited our traverses and descents, and gave the climbs more of an alpine flavor.

Crippled Peakbagging I: Big
Sky Rehab Crippled Peakbagging I: Big Sky Rehab  by Castlereagh

This past August I stood atop Mt. McGuire in the heart of the Bighorn Crags and could not see a damn thing through the wildfire haze. To quote Vince Vaughn a la True Detective Season 2, it was truely blue balls of the heart, in addition a waste of a valuable vacation day, and alas just one of several during a frustrating four days of fruitlessly seeking views during the worst of the 2015 wildfire season, flashbacks of which still fills me with pure, unadulterated rage and literally costs me whole nights of sleep.

The Long
Way Up the Owen-Spalding The Long Way Up the Owen-Spalding  by oblongflight

Climbing the Grand Teton was a long-held goal for me. I was captivated by the the Teton Range long before I visited for the first time in 2012; I still easily recall the wonder I felt when I first saw the legendary Ansel Adams photograph The Tetons and the Snake River as a teenager. Back then I didn't think that I would ever climb any of those peaks, only that, more than any other landscape I had ever seen, the Tetons had an unmatched sense of grandeur and majesty. As the years passed that sense of wonder faded a bit from my memory. As a result, the first time I found myself there it wasn’t even my first-choice destination - the trip I was planning on taking, with my then-girlfriend, was to RMNP, but it was derailed at the last minute by the High Park fire. We chose the Tetons essentially because it was the next closest national park either of us had heard of. So we loaded up the car and pointed it that way. The seven days we spent backpacking in the park’s various canyons were profoundly formative for me. Suddenly my outdoors goals, previously nebulous, came into sharp focus: I wanted to get to those high places. I started learning to trad climb for the sole purpose of climbing the Grand Teton (which, as we’ll find later, is a little ironic). “Next year,” I thought, “I’ll be back.” I didn’t have any idea how rarely the stars align to make something like that happen. It took rather longer than I expected.

Alpine Cragging on Ingalls
Peak Alpine Cragging on Ingalls Peak  by LukeJennings

The Seattle Times newspaper has been running a series of articles in their Sunday magazine titled "Our Crowded Future" about the impacts of population growth on our quality of life. I was thinking about that while standing at the base of Ingalls Peak waiting in line behind four other rope teams to climb the South Ridge. On Ingalls Peak I discovered a new form of climbing that combines the crowds of a popular cragging destination like I-90's Exit 38 with the approach hike of an alpine climbing destination like the North Cascade's Black Peak. I call it "Alpine Cragging".

The day began before dawn in Seattle as an "urban alpine start" when my friend Jason picked me up at 5 a.m. It was the first weekend of fall, but the forecast was promising some fine Indian summer conditions—warm and sunny. With such good weather I hoped to do something ambitious, but it was a Sunday and Jason had to be at work early on Monday so he had one criteria—that whatever we climbed needed to have zero possibility for turning into an epic that would result in us getting back to Seattle late.

Big Fun on Big Island Big Fun on Big Island  by Jow

Bit of Jow history: Back in 2005 a younger me got married and we spent our honeymoon in Maui which was lovely. In 2008 I started this whole state highpointing project. So in 2015 for our 10 year wedding anniversary when the idea came up to head back to Hawaii I suggested it may be fun to explore a different island this time, one that may or may not have a certain peak on it. This time there would be a little stowaway coming along with us for the adventure.

A Stellar time in the Court
of Oval A Stellar time in the Court of Oval  by Mike Lewis

The last couple days of September Fletcher asked me to join him on Courtney, Star and Oval Peaks in the Chelan Sawtooths. Given that the Larches were peaking, weather was looking perfect and I missed that show last year, I had to go. Given the long ride out there from Kirkland, we arrived at the TH sometime after 11am on the 29th. Going over Washington Pass we had excellent views of the foliage and knew we were in for a treat. I was excited to be packed very light and testing a new camera on the gorgeous scene. Unfortunately the camera turned out to be a let down, but I'll see about using some of Fletcher's phone pics. The Buttermilk Road was in decent shape except for a large ditch near the last mile where clearance of 9 inches or so might be handy. The trail itself was open and easy dirt/soot. The soot on the trail from older fires came up in plumes, though, and gave both me and Fletcher a hard time when it became suspended. I suspect there may have been some damage to the lungs. Oh well, worth it.

Val Fedaria
Circuit (Livigno, Italy) Val Fedaria Circuit (Livigno, Italy)  by damgaard

My summer vacation for 2015 went to the Alps, again, and part of it was spent in the town of Livigno in northern Italy. In the winter Livigno is a major skiing town that in the summer takes good advantage of the skilifts for hiking and especially mountainbiking (MTB). Many of the hiking trails have thus been optimized for MTB and the trails and surrounding scenery are great.

On one MTB trip I had taken the Carosello 3000 lift up from Livigno to the mountain ridge west of the town. From the ridge you have a great view of the next valley, Val Federia, the valley floor lying some 800 meters lower. When enjoying the view I noticed the row of mountains that surrounded Val Fedaria and wondered, if it was possible to hike/scramble around to all these, and thus more or less possible to walk all the way around Val Fedaria. My map (a somewhat crude hiking/MTB map that they sell in shops in Livigno) showed only trails on a very little part of the route, but from my viewpoint on the ridge it looked doable.

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