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Staying the Course up North Staying the Course up North  by Castlereagh

Castle Peak had been on Greg’s radar for longer than mine’s; having already climbed most of the range highpoints and P2K’s in the area, he had for years gazed tantalizingly at Castle in the distance, scrutinizing its ever changing profile from every direction. Me, less so, but Smoky Dome and a couple other trips to the Sun Valley area peaks this summer had allowed me a glimpse of this towering behemoth hidden deep in the White Clouds. Greg had wanted it last summer, but with inclement weather and the giant haze storm from a particularly bad year for wildfires, the timing never really worked out. Now with a week off in early August to do some peaks deeper up in North/Central Idaho he figured he could start with Castle after leaving Salt Lake, then work his way further into the Idaho interior. This worked for me too, as I could get Castle in as an exciting scramble the weekend before I was due to fly back to Massachusetts for a wedding.

Narrows-Minded Narrows-Minded  by Bob Sihler

The latest installment of the series showing how I lose hiking and climbing partners.

My brother Chris, not the one who almost got lost out on the Jackson Glacier, got it in his head back in 1996, after our first visit to Zion, that he wanted to hike the Virgin River Narrows. Looking at pictures of the canyon, I was interested as well, and everything I’d read about it said to me that the Narrows was one of America’s most spectacular and unique hiking destinations. And since the water in July, according to the NPS site and some other guides I’d read, would only be around ankle-deep in most places, it sounded downright good for a Utah summer day.

Winter Mountaineering Around
Boreas Pass Winter Mountaineering Around Boreas Pass  by Scott

We were all tired from the late night before, so we didn’t plan a big day. The blizzard was still continuing on and off throughout the day as well. It was a very warm night though and never dropped below 18F. After a very late start, I did climb Madonna Dome (12,331 feet/3759 meters) to the west of Boreas Pass. Kim and the kids decided not to try the climb in order to save up energy for the next day’s climb. The weather was OK with light snow and cloudy skies. I had to break the trail most of the way up to 12,000 feet, but the ridge was windblown after that. Avalanche danger was high, so I had to make my way by using a winding and non-direct route that avoided any avalanche danger.

2013 - Year
In Review 2013 - Year In Review  by Vitaliy M.

Since I started mountaineering in 2010 I been trying to figure out my identity. What do I like the most out of many sub divisions that make up what we call “climbing?” What am I good at? Should I focus on ice climbing? Crack climbing in Yosemite? Big walls? Long free climbs? Scrambling in the Sierra Nevada? High altitude mountaineering in preparation to tackle conga lines on 8000M peaks? I can’t do it all and continue improving on all the fronts, right? Wrong! I finally figured that true reason I fell in love with climbing is because there is so much complexity to it, however it could be as straight forward as getting a crash pad and walking up to a boulder. My mood changes, so does the type of a climb I seek. In 2013 I had an enormous mix of experiences which did not only lead to appealing photos, but changed the way I view myself and the world.

of a lifetime in Kamchatka, Russia Adventure of a lifetime in Kamchatka, Russia  by Laverna

Our adventure started out with a 'bucket list' that Chris had. This was one adventure that had not been 'checked off' in 20 years. I was quite overwhelmed to realize that this would be our next expedition: mountain biking in the Kamchatka wilderness, and climbing active volcanoes for two months! Kamchatka is a peninsula on the Far East of Russia (nine time zones from Moscow), which has the highest density of active volcanoes in the world.

We did a lot of research and gear organizing, as it would be a self-guided journey. Our friends were surprised that we were planning to go in the next few months, not next year! It was a horrendous task to get our 90-day Russian visas and cost $500 each. It was a stressful, finger-crossing wait, but the visas were in our hands just in time!

On May 23, 2013 our 22-hour flight route was: Edmonton in Alberta, Canada to Calgary to Tokyo to Vladivostok, Russia then finally into the city of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky (population: 200,000).

Santanoni Winter Bushwhack
via Twin Slide Santanoni Winter Bushwhack via Twin Slide  by MudRat

Friend, Alan Wechsler, and I made plans for a winter bushwhack of Santanoni Mt. a couple years ago. He needed the peak for his 46W and was seeking adventure. Thus we set a flexible climbing date of sometime in February; the exact date to be determined last minute based on conditions—a good thing since the avalanche conditions have been prime over the last few weeks (and still are depending on the area).

The drive to the trail head on sections of black ice and realization that I’d forgotten my gaitors (a first) was foretelling of how the day would go. I still hoped for a solid night’s sleep, but my mind worked overtime during the night on how to remedy the gaitor situation. I certainly couldn’t bushwhack without them. Sinus problems and a pounding headache allowed me a mere 2 or 3 hours of sleep, but I chalked the symptoms up to allergies like many times before. I later realized that I’d contracted a of flu-like bug…(my wife was in its grip as well when I returned home after the climb).

Cruces, Tres Cumbres” expedition (January 2013) “Tres Cruces, Tres Cumbres” expedition (January 2013)  by Guillaume.Ceyrac

I am a Puna de Atacama lover since 15 years and I have been thinking of climbing the three summits of the beautiful Tres Cruces massif in one single solo expedition since many years. For a long time I thought that it could be a premiere but during my preparation I realized that it has been done in 2006 by one of the best contributors of this site : Janne Corax.

So the objective is to climb Tres Cruces Central (6629m / 21,749 ft), then Tres Cruces Sur (6749 m / 22,142 ft) and finally Tres Cruces Norte (6030m / 19,783 ft)

The Agony
of Defeat The Agony of Defeat  by PanamaRed

Before the year 2013, I had not truly tasted the agony of defeat in the mountains (with the exception of shattering my heel bone while bouldering, which required half a year of surgery and rehab, and still causes me lots of pain). Sure, there had been a couple of half cocked attempts on peaks that ended in retreat, most notably my failed attempt to solo the Grand Teton in a day(I started hiking at 6pm thinking I would summit overnight and beat the crowds on the descent. I ended up curled up in a ball, freezing my ass of in the Teton Glacier Morain, where I spent the night under a tattered "survival blanket". When the sun came out I staggered down the trail and ended up getting some strange looks from tourists who saw me sleeping in the middle of the trail.

Colonel Foster's
Direttissima Colonel Foster's Direttissima  by hunterslee

With clear skies forecasted for the Pacific North-West, an unusually low snow pack, and cold temps for 5 days straight, the conditions and timing for a Winter attempt on Colonel Foster couldn't have been better. Initially our thoughts were on a new route on the West side of the mountain, or a complete summit traverse. However, upon reaching Landslide and Foster lakes, and seeing the condition of the Colonel's classic east face direct line: Direttissima, our climbing plans were set.

In Darkest
Nooksack: An Ascent of Lincoln Peak In Darkest Nooksack: An Ascent of Lincoln Peak  by tvashtarkatena

Road 38, now anonymous because We The People attack any signage that might compete with their own pronouncements of the Christian God and His Pioneer Spirit, remains as a decaying testament to the valley’s former government of occupation. When it begins switchbacking up it becomes The Worst Road in the World. This gauntlet of slide alder and oil pan punching creek crossings literally punched my car’s lights out. Well, a fog light, anyway.

This road is ceding to the jungle, and with it, easy access to the region’s darkest and most foreboding monument: Lincoln Peak. Perhaps this will spur a gold rush of sorts, and the summit will see more than a party every few years - until a wash out adds 3 miles of hard labor to the ticket price for this terrible prize. Perhaps there’s money to be made in the goals and accomplishments trade.

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