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Kungsleden and Kebnekaise Kungsleden and Kebnekaise  by DiscoStu

I’ve been climbing, hiking and skydiving for a few years now, but despite the risks, I have never been around to see someone badly hurt or killed in an accident. The closest I’ve come was passing a hiker in Sweden a few hours before he fell off a cliff and died on the same route I had just taken.

In June 2010 I had made the long journey to the north of Sweden to do a section of the Kungsleden (‘King’s Trail’). It is Sweden’s great hiking track, running from up in the Arctic circle down south for over 400km. I had nine days and was going to get as far as I could before I had to find my way out a side trail to get to a road and public transport.

It remains to this day one of the greatest hikes I have ever done. I started at the northern end, getting off a train at Abisko station in the absolute middle of nowhere where the trail began. The route is well manned during the winter and summer season, but has a dead spell in Spring during the change of seasons. While I was there the huts were empty, and the trail still snow covered and completely free of other walkers. The sun dropped below the hills during the night, but it was still light as day and hard to sleep until exhaustion caught me around midnight each evening.

Panther Gorge-3 New Routes
on Haystack Side Panther Gorge-3 New Routes on Haystack Side  by MudRat

Anticipation reached a crux inside; the snow was gone and the rock was exposed. It was time to venture into Panther Gorge once again. Adam Crofoot (MaxSuffering) and Allison Rooney were my willing partners, both expert climbers and eager explore after a winter of backcountry skiing. The only participant that wasn’t totally agreeable was the weather. We’d but a small weather window to work within on Saturday, May 30th.

Adam and Allison walked in to Slant Rock Lean-to during the afternoon of Friday, May 29. I walked in later, leaving the Garden trailhead around dark which placed me at the lean-to about 11:00 pm. It was full, but I had a bivouac sack and found a comfortable place in the woods to watch the moonlit clouds blow by.

Organ Peak, almost Organ Peak, almost  by nader

Organ Mountains create a small range that rise to the east of the city of Las Cruces in southern New Mexico. The range runs north-south and is less than 15 miles long. When viewed from Las Cruces, the peaks of Organ Mountains appear as needles similar to the pipes of a giant organ rising 4 to 5000 feet above the desert floor.

At 8872 ft, Organ Peak is the third highest peak in the range (after Organ Needle 9012 ft and Little Squaretop 8919 ft) but is the highest summit that can be reached without technical difficulties.

The Kings
of Logan Pass, and the Upshot of Morning Thunder The Kings of Logan Pass, and the Upshot of Morning Thunder  by Bob Sihler

What compels those who are allergic to crowds to climb mountains in highly popular areas? Convenient access certainly plays a role. The fact that such mountains (think of the Maroon Bells, Mount Sneffels, and Mount Whitney, for example) stand as symbols of their areas and therefore exert strong emotional pull is surely another. But it's also because, for me at least, climbing those mountains makes me feel that I have earned some secret, some intimacy with them that most of the people congesting the trails in their vicinities never do. So it is for the signature peaks at Logan Pass in Montana's Glacier National Park.

Although the views from Logan Pass are spectacular in every direction, two peaks, Clements and Reynolds, seem to have more cameras and eyes aimed at them than the other mountains visible there do. Both of them, though Clements especially, tower over the pass and make magnificent subjects for photographs, sketches, and paintings. Clements is so close that photographing without turning the camera vertically can be difficult to do without the help of a wide-angle lens.

Yale Gulley Yale Gulley  by Brad Marshall

This winter Sue and I joined up with two friends, Randall and Allan, to climb in Huntington Ravine on Mount Washington. We drove down from Canada and stayed at the fabulous School House Motel. The following morning we drove out to the AMC Visitor's Center at Pinkham Notch and followed the trail in to the Harvard Cabin hauling our packs and a small sled each for the ride out. The day was unseasonably hot given the mild winter all over Canada and the US and after two hours we were at the cabin. After claiming our sleeping spots and cutting wood for the evening (you can have a fire between 4-9 PM) we started gearing-up for the next day. Huntington Ravine

Ascent of Lassen Peak via Northwest Ridge Winter Ascent of Lassen Peak via Northwest Ridge  by CallMeBrown

My partner Brian and I parked at the ranger station at Manzanita Lake. We were planning on climbing the Northwest Ridge of Lassen Peak with our friends Floyd and Roy who were coming in from another location. Those guys ended up having car trouble and made a separate summit bid. We left the trailhead at noon, snowshoeing up the closed road, past the gate. We snowshoed about 30 minutes up the road before cutting off towards Chaos Crags, more or less drawing a direct line towards the bowl mentioned in the route description. We reached the bowl in another 30 minutes.

Thing - Mount Trudee Snowshoer Thing - Mount Trudee  by Stu Brandel

I have been enjoying snowshoeing for a couple of years now, enjoying how it extends the climbing and hiking year. I have especially been enjoying snowshoeing in the Northwoods of the upper Midwest (Wisconsin, Michigan, and Minnesota). In January this year I was able to head up to Minnesota's North Shore of Lake Superior. I had picked a couple of objectives I thought would be good for my best friend Big Al, who was just starting out on showshoes and looking for an intro into the sport. Unfortunately, his car was ambushed by an ice storm in Cleveland and he could not join me. Fortunately, he thus could not join me and be ambushed by his friend's questionable summit-influenced judgement of what would be a good trail for a beginner. In some respects, it felt like my first real snowshoe trip in terms of mileage, elevation, snow depth, and weather conditions. And while the snow muted the scenery, it was unquestionably wild and beautiful fun. But it's no sure thing snowshoer thing.

Crippled Peakbagging IV:
Sturm und drang Crippled Peakbagging IV: Sturm und drang  by Castlereagh

With daylight hours dwindling by mid-September Greg convinced me to borrow a headlamp from him just in case, though I hoped that I would not need it. The weather forecast was optimistic with just 20% chance of tstorms after noon before serious weather moved in the rest of the week, and I figured that I could sneak in the peak before the storms, if any, and this day trip before a planned Glacier outing and yet another Vegas bachelor party the last weekend of September.

Old Dreams
Die Hard: An Attempt to Climb the Highest Volcano on Earth Old Dreams Die Hard: An Attempt to Climb the Highest Volcano on Earth  by Scott

Ojos del Salado is a peak that I have wanted to climb for a long time. In fact, it became one of my top three "dream climbs" back in 1984, at age 10, which is when I first read about the mountain. The other two dream climbs at the time were Muztag Ata and Aconcagua. Unlike Aconcagua however, Ojos del Salado seemed so mysterious and unknown. Dreams however, change over time and over the years I focused on other mountains in the world and never got close to Ojos del Salado.

Old dreams are eventually either fulfilled, never die, or die hard, so Ojos del Salado was always in the back of my mind somewhere and for a later date. That later date finally came in January 2016. Because of work, I can only get time off in the Northern Hemisphere winter. My thirteen year old son and I wanted to attempt something higher than we ever have before. Aconcagua came to mind, but that mountain has gotten more expensive and crowded over the years. There was also a rule in place that you had to be 14 years of age to climb it and my son was not 14 yet. Ojos del Salado seemed like the logical choice for our climb in the winter of 2015-2016.

Gorge-New Ice Route-By Tooth and Claw Panther Gorge-New Ice Route-By Tooth and Claw  by MudRat

I needed my Panther Gorge fix—the last visit was in November. Warm temperatures in the valley prompted me to consider how much ice might be in the gorge. The low snowpack made it even more tempting given the 8.5 mile-long approach. Panther Gorge veteran Bill Schneider and Devin Farkas, assistant director of the Outdoor Program at St. Lawrence University, jumped on board. As usual we met at the Rooster Comb parking lot at 5:00 am to sort gear and drive a single car to the Garden. Temperatures hovered at 15F though they were forecast to rise to the mid-thirties in the valley.

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