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The Island of Bliss The Island of Bliss  by RobSC

Not so many years ago National Geographic ran an article on a faraway mysterious land half a world away filled with improbably plants, jagged mountains, and utter obscurity, a land known as Socotra, the "Island of Bliss" as it has frequently been called. Alexander the Great's men had been here and Cleopatra sent an expedition this way. The Greeks talked of elephants, the phoenix is mentioned; truly this is a place of legends. Over a third of the plants there are endemic and they often look more out of the pages of Dr. Seuss than anything earthly. The more I learned of this mysterious place, the more intrigued I became.

Socotra is a part of Yemen, where the Queen of Sheba has once ruled, with some of humankind's oldest cities, a mysterious place in itself that is currently more known for being where Ross fled to avoid Janice in a "Friends" episode, or as a land of terrorism, drones, and kidnappings. I was met largely by confusion and queries as to "Why?" when I mentioned traveling there. It was a selfish thing to do to my wife and family, vanishing to go there and then see the wonders along the Nile. I can't really claim otherwise.

All Things
Holy in Panther Gorge: A New Route on the Haystack Side All Things Holy in Panther Gorge: A New Route on the Haystack Side  by MudRat

When I was last in Panther Gorge with Anthony Seidita in June, we had sights on a cliff on the western aspect below Little Haystack, what I’ve started calling the “V” Wall on account of its shape and position between a gully on the left and basaltic dike on the right. The weather skunked us so we spent a couple days exploring the gorge and targeted a couple technical slides to the south on our last day. I never forgot about the unexplored terrain. Adam emailed recently and we set up plans to head back into the gorge with all guns trained on this area.

The climbing was on excellent rock and easy by technical climbing standards. Putting up the route didn’t require study of the face or cleaning, it was simply a matter of simply following the most interesting features to the top.

Jefferson via the Jefferson Park Glacier Mount Jefferson via the Jefferson Park Glacier  by sstratta

Mount Jefferson is a beautiful and rugged volcano that stands prominently along the Cascade Range in Oregon. It is a likely extinct stratovolcano that has five main glaciers flowing from its summit, below which are fields of alpine meadows and lakes followed by lush old growth forests. Despite being the second tallest volcano in Oregon, its technical difficulty and remoteness make the summit a rarely visited place. However, those willing to put in the effort are continuously rewarded throughout the climb, and hopefully this trip report will help provide some useful info for anyone who is intrigued about climbing this amazing peak.

In early July I found myself in Grants Pass, Oregon, working a summer seasonal position for the U.S. Forest Service. My seasonal jobs have brought me to some pretty random places in the western United States, and Grants Pass was yet another location that required some extensive research on nearby peaks that would be fun to climb on my days off. I began with Mount Shasta, a well-known volcano in northern California that was rapidly losing its below-average snowpack. After this, a long 4th of July weekend made it possible to climb some peaks that were further away up in the Bend area, a place I've always wanted to visit.

Kings Peak
Day Tripping on the Fourth of July Kings Peak Day Tripping on the Fourth of July  by Bark Eater

Question: What do a parole officer from Colorado, a post-doc from California, and a middle-aged research manager from Delaware have in common? Answer: A love of the mountains and a sense of adventure. Thus, Andy, Nate, and Frank rendezvoused at the Wagon Wheel Motel in the metropolis of Fort Bridger, Wyoming on the 3rd of July. Our objective: a single day holiday assault on Kings Peak, the highest point in Utah via the Henry’s Fork Approach. Kings is in the middle of the High Uintas Wilderness. There are no short approaches. Ours was the “shortest” route at about 29 miles round trip.

Mountain, a Nevada gem Currant Mountain, a Nevada gem  by Dean

For the past ten years, I have been working to pick off the peaks listed on the list that contains the 169 mountains in Nevada that have more than 2000 feet of prominence. Some of these peaks are easy since they have roads to the top but many are very isolated and don't even have trails. Oftentimes, the crux is just getting to the mountain as some entail miles and miles of dirt roads or mountain tracks. Some of the peaks see tons of visitors during the year and some see only a few in a decade. A couple interesting facts about this mountain is that it is on many lists, two of which might interest those who aren't into prominence peakbagging, the Great Basin list and the Las Vegas Mountaineering club list of 50 peaks.

Dennis Poulin and myself were both down to having only one peak in the state left that had over 4000' of prominence and that mountain was Currant Mountain.

Currant Mountain reaches a height of 11,518 and with almost 4600' of prominence, it is the 16th most prominent peak in Nevada. It had been on our hit list for some time but every time previously we had been unable to access the mountain due to snow, electrical storms or excessive heat. Finally, we were able to find a time where we both could join forces and go after this one once again but even then we had to contend with heat and electrical storm possibilities.

On the
On the "Ruth of the North Cascades"  by EastKing

Ruth Mountain is one of the hundreds of gems in the North Cascades. It is a heavily glaciated peak yet a peak that in certain times of the year one may consider roping up overkill. Like the south spur of Mount Hood in May, Ruth Mountain's glacier holds together on good years well into late July. Most summit the peak during early July with just an ice axe, helmet and crampons. What Ruth Mountain lacks in elevation (around 7115 feet of elevation) it makes up for in terms of glaciated terrain and intense views. For Mike Lewis and I, we really wanted to take advantage of this time because Ruth Mountain, home to its excellent views, is one of the classic easy snowclimbs in the North Cascades. With the hot weekend coming up we thought it would be the best time to check out this great mountain.

Little Tahoma wasn't so
little after all Little Tahoma wasn't so little after all  by MountainGazer

The sun was already up at 5:45 when our group met at the park-and-ride. That was me, Elaina, Cameron, Bryan, Rob, and finally, our fearless leader Stephen. We carpooled in 2 vessels to Mount Rainier National Park, purchased our climbing permits, and there met the seventh and final member of our boogie, the young and scrappy Justin. After getting excited by the free blue bags on offer, we stepped outside the hut, from where we could see our object in the distance. Little Tahoma. Didn't look too far. I remember, long ago, being disbelieving when I was told that little tumor on the side of Rainier was actually considered the third tallest mountain in Washington. This then, I suppose, was my just desserts for my judgmental past.

The slopes were relatively moderate, and the trail was none too aggressive either. I looked at the slope gently rising above us, and thought about the fact that these slopes rose and rose, almost without interruption, for 10000 feet, nearly 2 vertical miles, before starting down again. The thought made me dizzy, so I returned my mind to the cheerful day. Despite the moderate rise of the trail and the moderate pace of the group, we made good progress by rarely stopping, and soon had gained about 4 miles and dispatched some 1-2 thousand feet. At this point, we saw our prize rising again ahead of us, closer now. It would rarely leave view again, an excellent motivator.

Carpathian adventure 2013 Carpathian adventure 2013  by LukZem

On a night train from Budapest with an Australian traveller looking forward to seeing the legendary Dracula’s castle. Listening to his stories about his incredible Uzbekistan/Tajikistan adventures. In no time the train pulls up at my favourite :-D railway station at Brasov, where I leave my heavy (30 kg) backpack. I walk through the second biggest city in Romania to the coach station in its eastern part, connected with the town of Săcele.

Disappointment: No long-distance buses at all. The first conversations with some locals. I try to hitchhike but without success. A horse drawn wagon! A dream! Two horses, three kids and a man. The youngest baby (no more than 2 years old) sleeps like a log, jolted all the way on an extremely hot summer day. They help me to get as far as Brădet – the last village. I walk along the road for about 3 km. Some Christian missionaries (Adventists) give me directions helping me to get closer to the foothills of the Ciucaş Mts. But to my surprise, they haven’t heard of Bratocea Pass. I take the wrong exit at a rest place. A spring of water at a zigzag. At first, I think this is Bratocea Pass. I notice some red lines on the tree trunks. What a stupid mistake to follow them.

I miss my way. An ascent through broadleaved woodland. A beautiful glade with an abandoned chalet. No marked routes in sight. A traverse of a wooded summit. Navigation becomes precarious. A difficult ascent through evergreen forest dotted with small crags. Dense carpets of bilberries and junipers at timberline. People picking berries. What a relief. Finally, after three hours of trudging along unmarked routes, I find a trail marked with red stripes:-)

4 Days & 4
Climbs in Lone Peak Cirque 4 Days & 4 Climbs in Lone Peak Cirque  by StephAbegg

When I had been on a job search in the spring (2014) and was having difficulty securing a teaching job in northwest Washington (I eventually did, though), I had targeted the Salt Lake area as a place I might want to live. Thinking it might be a good idea to visit the Salt Lake area before moving down, I made some climbing partner posts on MountainProject.com about potential June trips in the Salt Lake area. Charlie Stoker emailed me and invited me along on a 4-day climbing trip he and some friends were planning to Lone Peak Cirque. I'd never heard of Lone Peak, but according to summitpost.org, Lone Peak is the monarch of the Wasatch Mountains. This rugged 11,000+ foot summit is clearly visible from North Salt Lake to Provo. It rises abruptly above the valley floor and affords one the luxury of sitting in a glacial, alpine cirque just miles from the city. The cirque is ringed with near vertical granite walls and offers climbing ranging from Class 3 to 5.10 YDS. Lone Peak is considered by many to be the "hardest" 11,000 foot peak in the Wasatch due to the mileage and elevation gain required to sit atop it's summit. Needless to say, I was intrigued! Sure, I told Charlie, I'll join, thanks!

Friends in
High Places, on the Longest Day of the Year Friends in High Places, on the Longest Day of the Year  by MountainGazer

It was a long day at work delivering pizzas, and the manager finally gave me the okay to go at about 8:50. I rushed home, threw on nylon clothes, and grabbed my pack so I was ready to go when Nate showed up soon after 9. Thus equipped did we set out on the most dangerous part of our journey: crossing the Cascades at night on Highway 2.g

We only exposed ourselves to this stupid danger for one thing: the West Route of Dragontail Peak, the second highest peak in the Stuart Range, second only to the magnificent Mount Stuart itself(Long may he reign).

After that terrifying experience, we arrived at the Stuart/Colchuck Lake trailhead a little past midnight, immediately threw our sleeping bags and pads in the back of Nate's truck, and did our best to sleep for our big push the next day. Unfortunately, the sleep was poor, but at least the glittering, cloudless sky of stars overhead reminded me why I was here in the mountains.

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