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A few hours in the
Superstitions A few hours in the Superstitions  by RobSC

When I was young I was drawn to the exotic, reading books about faraway places, mysterious structures, and strange beasts of legend. Although I have had the good fortune of experiencing many of these childhood fascinations, one that I haven't is a gold mine of unsurpassed wealth and riches, buried in a web of murder, lies, and deceit: the Lost Dutchman Mine, hidden somewhere in the wilds of the Superstition Mountains of Southern Arizona.

As I say, I've seen many wonderful things. Many of my adventures have revolved around mountaineering, but recently my climbing has become sporadic and far less technical as our children grow towards adulthood. Perhaps danger and death has lingered too close - if that avalanche had struck one day later or the whirling rock had followed a slightly different trajectory… Instead of dreaming of walking the lonely heights of Gasherbrum IV or the Eiger, more of life has involved my children's activities as well as the ever increasing demands of teaching in a public high school. As it stands, the last technical climb that I managed was some two and a half years ago.

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Peakbagging
in the Aigüstortes National Park Peakbagging in the Aigüstortes National Park  by damgaard

After having spent the last couple of summers in the Alps I decided it was finally time to try something else and since I had never gone to the Pyrenees, the choice wasn't that hard. After having surfed a bunch a SP-pages and having mailed with the highly productive SP members Rafa Bartolome and Eric Visentin I came up a with a schedule covering 3 weeks that included both a number of the highest peaks and crossed some of most beautiful areas. The schedule included two days in the Aigüstortes - Sant Maurici National Park, an area that is recommended in all guide books and that Rafa and Visentin mentioned as well. It turned out that their recommendations were well founded, because the area is excellent for both hiking and scrambling to summits. This trip report is about my second day in the park - and trip that would take me to the summit of three major peaks in the eastern part of the national park.

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Culture and Climbing in
Bolivia Culture and Climbing in Bolivia  by Haliku

“Why don’t Americans come to Bolivia?” asked our tour guide.

“I have no idea, I really don’t.” I responded as I thought about the numerous Europeans, and the ubiquitous Australians, I had already met; but very few Americans.

After three weeks in the Bolivia I still don’t have an answer to our guide’s question. From our experiences there is no reason not to visit Bolivia and many reasons you should plan a visit. While we did meet other travelers from the USA during our time in Bolivia we were a minority among our fellow travelers.

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"The Clearest Day I've Ever Seen" in the Lofoten Islands  by foweyman

Exhausted and exhilarated is how I usually reach a pass from an eastern Sierra trailhead, and Piute Pass, although relatively easy, was no exception. At the pass stood an elderly woman surrounded by a group of younger weary people sprawled on the surrounding rocks. Upon hearing me marvel at the scenery, she calmly stated in a thick Germanic accent, "These are the most beautiful mountains in the world." At my prompting the Belgian lady listed an extensive set of alpine treks she'd made throughout the world. Her relaxed presence within her tired group gave her words admirable credibility. She had seen more mountain ranges than the well-traveled Muir, but they reached the same conclusion.

But this isn’t about the Sierra. “What is second on your list?” I asked. “The mountains of Norway” she replied with little hesitation. I’ve only experienced one mountain range outside the US, so I felt especially fortunate to have seen the top two on her list. What these ranges have in common is that they are both located on the western edge of northern hemisphere continents, perfectly situated to receive plentiful snow that formed massive glaciers during the ice ages. Now the glaciers have all but disappeared, revealing the results of the intense glaciation including steep, highly sculpted mountain sides, waterfalls from hanging valleys, and numerous glacially carved lakes and fjords.

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A Double Summit Delight –
Banner Pk & Mt Ritter A Double Summit Delight – Banner Pk & Mt Ritter  by PellucidWombat

Joel Wilson, Mike Shen, and Mateusz Matolek and I celebrated our successful climb of Mt Williamson the day before by stuffing ourselves in a Big Pine restaurant. We had hiked out from Anvil Camp early, and Mike and I needed to meet up with Dan King for our next mountaineering trip, so we called his cell and set up a meeting place where we were eating.

Dan was an SPer from San Diego who wanted to join my trip to climb Banner Peak and Mt Ritter together as a snow climb. Kevin Long, a UC Berkeley student with whom I had climbed Lassen Pk earlier in the year, was also interested in the climb. He was going to meet us up at some hot springs north of Bishop. It was a precarious arrangement since Mike and I didn’t have a ride back to the Bay Area after the trip. The best arrangement we could make was for Dan or Kevin to drop us off in Fresno so that we could take a Greyhound back to Berkeley.

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Scrambling
out to the Ice Caves Scrambling out to the Ice Caves  by hornj

Back in September my brother and I went out for a night on Mt. Hood, going to McNeil Point and the Sandy Glacier Ice Caves. The hike up to McNeil Point was great. Finding the right route was very straightforward, thanks to the information on this website. We left somewhere We saw a handful of hikers going up, but when we got to the top there was no one else up there. We left Top Spur Trailhead about 4, but we reached McNeil Point in plenty of time to see the beautiful sunset. The night was very windy, but we slept better than expected thanks to small rock walls other campers had built.

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Living for the Grave Living for the Grave  by Bob Sihler

About 25 mostly unpaved miles from the closest town, the trailhead is remote to begin with. Then the trail begins with a stream crossing that for much of the summer is not going to please most people. Seven miles up the canyon is a challenging stream crossing if one wants to take a little-used trail up to a high pass (Cougar Pass) and beyond. Past that junction the trail largely goes to hell, though it is tolerable until 9 miles (while also passing a petrified forest on the other side of the stream), and then a pretty miserable 2 miles (ups and downs on game trails at best across numerous avalanche chutes) to an amazing alpine lake basin that due to its beauty and remoteness has got to be one of the best settings in the U.S. Rockies (many of these details are from my experience and not found in the book, by the way).

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TARANAKI
MAJESTIC BEAUTY OF THE NORTH ISLAND TARANAKI MAJESTIC BEAUTY OF THE NORTH ISLAND  by aorakiadventures

Mount Taranaki has been an alluring challenge for us for more than a year. Almost every weekend spent rock climbing prepared us for the second highest volcano in the North Island of New Zealand. Tahurangi, the highest peak of Mount Ruahepu at 2797 m climbed in the middle of the summer this year was a great practice and gave us more confidence for the winter Taranaki. Known as a moderately easy climb given the elevation gained (2518 m), Taranaki is famous for its difficult ascent. A lot of people inadequately equipped try to summit the mountain during winter end up with fatality. Sitting close to the Tasman Sea, unpredictable and rapidly changeable weather makes Taranaki a very dangerous mountain.

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Thin Ice on the North
Couloir Direct Thin Ice on the North Couloir Direct  by thatnissanguy

It's 10:45 PM. I'm slumped in a booth at a restaurant in Buena Vista, opposite my friend Kirill, while a half eaten Supreme pizza occupies the territory in between us. There's absolutely terrible music playing over the restaurant's PA system. It's one of those settings that blurs the line between success and failure. Yeah, we climbed the route, but isn't this a different kind of low? I can't decide. Completely brain dead, for the last 15 minutes we've both been staring straight off into space. With a faint flicker of cognition, I realize I have been examining the intricacies of a Coca-Cola drink cooler. I am interrupted by Kirill ruminating about the consequences of our taking up residence in the restaurant's "party room." This prompts me to launch into a story about sleeping in a Subway one night while hitch hiking through West Texas. We both come to the same conclusion almost simultaneously. We're not going to be able to drive any further, safely. We spend the next 3 hours parked behind the building, crashed out in the front seats of a car that neither of us own. We're sleeping off the days activities, just another "fun" day in the mountains.

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Round
Mountain Bushwhack via Chapel Pond Slab: 2014 May 4 Round Mountain Bushwhack via Chapel Pond Slab: 2014 May 4  by MudRat

Hmmmm…what to do when you don’t have a full day to devote to a big outing and want a moderate challenge at an elevation where winter has lost its grip? How about Round Mountain? Just don’t use the trail and take a rope (or not). This little trip developed some time ago after reading a trip report about the mountain’s summit—open with a great panorama; a visit seemed like it might be a nice diversion with low mileage. Combining it with a climb of Chapel Pond Slab seemed like the perfect fit.

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