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Lakes 2017: The Langdales by
triathlon Lakes 2017: The Langdales by triathlon  by markhallam

The Langdale Pikes are a collection of four summits in one of the most beautiful and famous parts of the English Lake District. The classic skyline features in many a photo and in paintings dating back for literally centuries. My parents (sadly long dead) had a treasured painting, by an artist of modest renown, which I came to realise was of the Langdales, back in the 1960's. Then I remember walking the Pikes back in the 1980’s and rock-climbing in the Langdale valley in the 1970's, on Gimmer Crag...

Browsing ‘Scrambles in the Lake District’ Cicerone guide by Brian Evans, inspired me to go back again in 2017. I particularly liked the look of Jack’s Rake – a mere grade 1 scramble, but slashing its way up across the otherwise strictly rock-climbing territory of the south-east face of Pavey Ark. In my early explorations I somehow missed this out. I also liked the look of Stickle Ghyll – less dramatic, but nevertheless a more sporting way of reaching Jack’s Rake than the boring foot-path. My interest stepped up a further notch: between the two scrambles lies the attractive mountain lake of Stickle Tarn. Normal procedure would be to walk round this 500 meter diameter water feature. Having recently taken up wild swimming, I started to like the idea of swimming across it – thus creating an eccentric scramble-swim-scramble combination… and with the possibility of going on to traverse the rest of ‘The Pikes’ after that… making it a scramble-swim-scramble-walk! (which I felt should give me the right to say I have done a triathlon ; )

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Barra Honda Caves, Costa
Rica Barra Honda Caves, Costa Rica  by nader

When my wife said her company was sending her and a guest to an all-expense paid resort in Playa Conchal, Costa Rica, at first I did not want to go. I simply did not want to take more time off work but of course, very quickly, I came to my senses and decided to go. Like any self-respecting Summitpost member, I did not want to go on a “sit by the pool” vacation. I needed to hike/climb something. The obvious choice was to hike to the summit of the 1895 m (6217 ft) Rincon de la Vieja Volcano a 90 minute drive away. It turned out that due to volcanic activity, the trail to the summit of Rincon had been closed for the past many years. I contacted a couple of guides about Orosi and Miravalles Volcanoes but they did not seem to know much about them. One of the guides suggested a visit to Barra Honda National Park where you could go down a very long ladder to the bottom of a cave 70 meters (230 ft) deep. When I googled Barra Honda, I found that for safety, park officials rope you down the ladder and you should expect to get very muddy. Google Maps showed a nearby 550 m high Barra Honda Peak but I found no information about climbing it. You could however, apparently hike to a viewpoint to get good views of the Gulf of Nicoya.

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Getting
Back Into the Swing of Things: Triple Couloirs Car to Car Getting Back Into the Swing of Things: Triple Couloirs Car to Car  by Josh Lewis

Due to serious head aches, pain, and getting busy I haven't written a climbing report in a long time. Fortunately things have gotten better, been working out, going on 5 mile runs, eating healthier, losing weight, becoming a lightweight-aholic (gear wise), and am back on the road to alpinism. January Will and I climbed the North Buttress Couloir of Colchuck as a starter kit for the year. Avalanches, bad weather, sickness, and extreme pain had it's vengeance February through April. Rather than throwing my hands up I kept training, stayed motivated, and sought after the opportune moment to get my first multi pitch ice lead in. Triple Couloirs has been on my to do list for a long time, definitely a great route. With 6840 feet of gain, 20 miles, 18.5 hours of hiking & climbing, 4 pitches, and a lot of kicking in steps it made for a good work out.

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On the Roda
di Vael On the Roda di Vael  by MikeLJ

“Are we going up that mountain”? Marie pointed to the huge camel hump – shaped rock face in front of us.

“No, that’s not it” I replied quickly.

We were sitting side by side on the chairlift travelling from the Alpenrose Hotel up to the Rifugio Paolina. It was a fine, sunny morning in early July. We had caught an early bus from Campitello, down the valley to Pera to change buses for the Bolzano bus which took us over the Costalunga pass and on to the Alpenrose stop.

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A 50 State Highpoint
Completion on Denali A 50 State Highpoint Completion on Denali  by Puma concolor

"And down the stretch they come," I announced just a couple of weeks after thoroughbred American Pharaoh had ended a 37-year Triple Crown drought in America's Sport of Kings. "22 years of chasing state highpoints is about to come to an end."

But American Alpine Institute's Team 6 wasn't in the lowlands of Belmont Race Track on Long Island, New York. Instead we were nearly 20,000 feet higher making our way across Denali's "football field" with the summit of North America's highest peak seemingly close enough to touch. Less than two hours later, I found myself choking back tears as I took those final steps onto my 50th and final highpoint. "Yo Adrian, I did it!"

And what a journey it had been. Not just on this breathtaking world-class peak, but starting on Mount Marcy in July 1993 long before I had entertained any kind of thought of traveling all across the United States in pursuit of high places. At just nine days shy of my 46th birthday, my state highpointing journey had stretched across nearly half of my life, often taking a back seat to the more pressing concerns of every day life. But it was never far from my thoughts and always close to my heart.

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Return to Form Return to Form  by Castlereagh

The first week of my trip was plagued by worry and anger about being sick and losing my wallet on the first day of my climbing vacation stumbling down from Crazy Peak. Physically weakened by a throat infection/inflammation and an intense hacking cough, I kept Sam waiting a-plenty on our hikes of Francs and Windy in the Absarokas. The lost wallet meant I had to divert my Montana/Idaho/Wyoming trip with a one day detour to Salt Lake to grab a credit card I had my bank send to Greg’s address.

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Honaker Trail to San Juan
River Honaker Trail to San Juan River  by nader

San Juan River originates in the San Juan Mountains of southwestern Colorado. On its way to join Colorado River, San Juan River carves a 1300 ft deep canyon in southeastern Utah. The canyon is best seen at Utah’s Goosenecks of San Juan River State Park. Parallel bands of cliffs separated by steep slopes go down all the way from the rim to the bottom of the canyon making it appear impossible to reach the river. Honaker Trail is a well-defined but unmarked trail that sits a few miles to the northwest of the Goosenecks. It somehow takes you down through the cliffs to reach the river.

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Pico de Orizaba Pico de Orizaba  by MishaCZ

A group of friends from Colorado decided to climb Pico de Orizaba (18,491'), the highest volcano in Mexico, at the end of March 2017. I got recommended a local company (Nómada) who can set us up with logistics and I have to admit we lucked out - they took care of everything and made the trip a huge success.

We left Denver on Friday afternoon (took only 1/2 day off), got to Mexico Intl' Airport at 11:30 PM. Nómada set us up with a van and drove us to Tlachichuca. We stayed at Canchola House and after breakfast, took jeeps (already waiting for us) to drive up the 4x4 road to Piedra Grande Hut Base Camp that is located at an elevation of 4,270 m (14,010 ft).

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Glen Affric: a winter's
journey 2017 Glen Affric: a winter's journey 2017  by markhallam

It is summer 1985. I am a 24 year old junior hospital doctor with a passion for mountaineering. One Friday evening, battered by 14 continuous days of work linked by nights and a weekend on-call, I am making my bid for freedom – for a long anticipated weekend off. I have no plans. Probably I will do little other than sleep – and dream of my next climbing expedition. By the light of an evening sun I amble out of the neon lit world of the hospital and across a court yard towards the junior doctor’s residences.

“Hey Mark!” I am suddenly accosted by Mad Alex, another junior doctor, a couple of years older than me “we’re going off up to Scotland – d’you want to come?” So called Mad Alex is possessed of a kind of restless energy, impervious to nights on call, and which is liable result in things like impulsive weekend trips to Scotland. The “we” is himself, his long suffering physiotherapist girlfriend Karen and another junior doctor by the name of Mike. If at all I would normally go to Scotland to climb things and with a minimum 6 hour journey to reach the Highlands I would aspire to go for longer than a weekend. None of the other three are climbers. Nevertheless in a matter of minutes I find myself piled into Alex’s Red Fiesta GTi and hurtling rather too fast for comfort up the Great North Road.

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Mummy Range
Traverse via Icefield Pass Mummy Range Traverse via Icefield Pass  by Bill Reed

Back in 2003, my son Chris, who was 17 at the time, and I decided to do a week long backpacking trip in Rocky Mountain National Park. Aside from being our longest trip together it was also our first A to B trip. We’d cross the park from east to west, a distance of a little over 20 miles. Not an expedition by any stretch, but a challenging undertaking for us at the time.

Basically, we’d head west up the North Fork of the Big Thompson River, continue west off-trail, crossing the spine of the Mummy Range at Icefield Pass. From there we’d resume traveling cross-country, getting back on trail at Mummy Pass, follow that trail down to the Cache La Poudre River then along the river trail before turning up Corral Creek to the Corral Creek TH, which is where our trip would end. The crux of the route would be the crossing of Icefield Pass. Aside from completing the journey, we hoped to climb the highest summit in the Mummy Range, 13,561 foot-Hagues Peak and also to catch a rare Greenback Cutthroat trout from one of the Range's high lakes.

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