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Finding the Cure for the
Shutdown Blues Finding the Cure for the Shutdown Blues  by Bob Sihler

December 1996: My girlfriend at the time (now my wife) and I were all set to head off on a trip to some national parks. And then the federal government shut down, closing the parks with it. Or rather, some ideologues shut it down, showing a willingness to mess with people's plans and livelihoods in order to score political points. While I merely had to deal with what in the big picture was for me just an inconvenience, other people missed something from their bottom lines as a result of the plans I and surely thousands of others changed or canceled. Way to go, ideologues!

In order to avoid seeing the comments section of this trip report devolve into political shit-slinging, I'll refrain from naming specific people and stating which party I blamed and still blame. But imagine my utter disgust last fall when ideologues orchestrated another shutdown shortly before a trip to Rocky Mountain National Park that my wife and I had planned out several months in advance. Hoping for a restoration of reason, especially since a holiday weekend was coming up (around which I had planned the trip), I waited as long as I could before canceling reservations in Estes Park and making alternate plans for places not affected by the shutdown, but in the end my money went elsewhere instead of to that town already reeling from the September floods that caused so much property damage and lost tourism dollars.

The Shining Mountain The Shining Mountain  by mvs

A day after an attempt on the Peterey Ridge, we tried to figure out what to do. I'd fallen sick on the approach to the Monzino Hut, losing my lunch and all energy in a hanging meadow with a beautiful view. I was going through a kind of crisis, feeling exhausted with the whole running of my life. Trying to have it all, the fun was draining from each individual activity, and at the same time I felt I was failing people close to me. This turmoiled emotional state seemed to lead directly to sickness, and when a worried Georg finally saw me finishing the ladders to the hut, I was weak as a kitten. Georg carried my pack, but I could barely climb the stairs to the hut, and the sympathetic staff gave me soup in bed. I had scraped bottom.

But I sensed possibility for a better future. I was defining myself too much with arbitrary goalposts. The physical and psychological events had "cleared the decks," and I could start over. That was 9 months ago, and I feel sure enough of the meaning of that event to be able to write about it.

Mount Olympus in a Day Mount Olympus in a Day  by joshdreher

I climbed Mount Olympus, round trip in 16 hours 3 minutes completely unsupported. I’ve wanted to climb Mount Olympus since I was a teenager but didn’t want to hike 45 miles over two or three days with a ton of gear. The thought of doing it in a day, running the majority of it, came to mind about a year ago when I started running a lot more and never left the back of my mind. For the last three months I trained specifically for it, running between 40-45 miles a week on mountainous terrain (not all that much but all I had time for) . I also ran with a 5 pound pack to try to get used to it even though my pack ended up weighing more like 8 pounds on the day of the run.

Neahkahnie: Treasure, Toil
and Beauty Neahkahnie: Treasure, Toil and Beauty  by BearQueen

I had remarked to EastKing that I felt Native American and other spirits on this mountain, and I honestly did not know the history of this mountain when I went up it. If I had, I might have been inclined to go treasure hunting myself, but alas, I was not meant to find out about the history of the mountain until after I summited it. And maybe that was better, because the eerie haunting winds might have spooked me. There were several interesting things that happened on this mountain: The sun would get brighter with each switchback and the cloudiness disappeared gradually, little by little, until it had disappeared completely when I made it up. Also, there was a tree that fell on the way down and it sounded like a bomb going off. Those are just two main highlights, not to mention the beauty of the flowers and the meadow and the amazing greenery of this mountain. I am personally fascinated by the legend of this mountain, and am proud of the state of Oregon for not charging to go up it, which they would do on the East Coast. I am also proud that despite a movie being made in 2006 (which I just found out about today) called the “Tillamook Treasure” that there is nothing really uber touristy about this mountain.

Roadie to Appalachia
Highpoints Roadie to Appalachia Highpoints  by Jimmy Rivers

Hello out there, I'm Jimmy Rivers and this is my first state Highpointing trip report! A little background on myself........i decided to entertain the idea of all this high pointing business after talking to an old friend from college. He had visited Mt Washington and Katahdin the summer before and spoke highly of the trips. I love being active and outdoorsy, and realized that i needed to see more of this country than i had already. Soooo, after doing some further research, i found the Highpointers Club (www.highpointers.org) and it motivated me more to start planning for a first trip. The idea of committing a few summers to this mission and trying to get to so many nooks and crannies of our huge country is a bit overwhelming. I figured it would have to start with one trip, and see if there was any life to the mission. After lots of discussing and persuading to my friend Travis in Florida, our first trip was set.

We were going to take a long road trip from home in Florida, no flights involved. We would leave our comfy homes in Jupiter, Florida and road trip north through the state to the panhandle. We'd hit the HP of Florida, and then cross into Alabama, eventually reaching the lower Appalachians. From there, we would drive the spine of the mountain range, hitting every high point until Virginia. After VA's high point, we would turn around and make the long return drive home. 8 state high points in a span of 9 days! Plus, we wanted to catch some extra hiking in Great Smoky Mtn Nat'l Park, and use Asheville, NC as a base of operations. Well, here goes; welcome to our first journey, and one that would propel my wanderlust even further and drag me into the world of hiking/mountaineering for the time to come........

Incredible Routes on the Hulk: Red Dihedral and Positive Vibrations Two Incredible Routes on the Hulk: Red Dihedral and Positive Vibrations  by StephAbegg

In the Summer of 2013 I became somewhat obsessed with a desire to climb the Incredible Hulk. The Incredible Hulk is known for three things: the best rock in the High Sierra, long routes, and incredibly sustained climbing. I just had to climb it. I think part of my obsession resulted from the challenge of just making it happen. In June, I headed to the High Sierra to do some climbing with my Californian friend Mark, where we planned to climb the Hulk after a week in the Palisades. Our week in the Palisades was a grand adventure, but it left too little time and energy to tackle the Hulk afterward. So I flew home, already scheming of how I could squeeze another trip to the High Sierra into my packed summer.

Over the next couple of months, I had several great mountain adventures, but the Incredible Hulk continued to hulk in the back of my mind. In late August I returned to California on a climbing roadtrip with Dan, Chad, and Sarah; the Incredible Hulk was the primary objective. But the Hulk was not going to make it easy on us. First there were thundershowers in the northern Sierra; then the skies were clear but accompanied by 30 mph gusts; then the air was calm but a thick layer of wildfire smoke settled in the valleys east of Yosemite (where the Hulk is). Fortunately there is no shortage of rock to climb in the area, so we still enjoyed a successful week of climbing other Sierra classics. But again I returned home to Washington a tad frustrated that yet again my hands had not touched the steep white granite of the Hulk.

A Tour of Upper Muley Twist
Canyon A Tour of Upper Muley Twist Canyon  by Bob Sihler

If you read any guidebook about hiking in Utah, you are almost bound to come across a description of Upper Muley Twist Canyon, complete with rave reviews calling it one of Utah's finest hikes. A total of about 10 miles (if you have the high clearance necessary to make it to the 4wd trailhead-- if you don't, it's closer to 15 miles), the route goes up the canyon, where dramatically colored walls and several arches are on display, and then climbs to the crest of the Waterpocket Fold before descending back into the canyon and returning to the trailhead.

As I developed into a "summit snob" over the years, I began to have an increasing disdain for hiking on trails simply for hiking's sake. Trails became approaches to off-trail routes, little more. When I found myself hiking on trails with friends and family, I found myself bored and caged. And, truth be told, I am still this way. It is very hard for me to enjoy a trail hike unless I am alone and hiking very early in the morning, virtually ensuring solitude.

Zionism and the Sanctuary of
Exposure Zionism and the Sanctuary of Exposure  by tvashtarkatena

I could just wrap this up right now with that little metaphorical synopsis, but why not embullishit with a bit of imagery and a spine or two of fresh wisdom?

For it takes an increasingly not-so-rare breed of seeker to drive over a thousand miles to a place called Zion – “a word interpreted to mean sanctuary or refuge” – in search of precisely the opposite.

We had enough time to piss all over the concept of ‘sanctuary’ more than once, so we opted to leverage our ignorance by attacking the more delicate of our objectives first. Materiel was carefully sorted and solemn oaths dutifully uttered; we would either return with or on our Desert Shield.

Volcanoes And A Rock Three Volcanoes And A Rock  by gimpilator

Part of the deal I struck with my boss that enabled me to take time off for the Greece and Egypt trip this Spring was to work a promotional gig in Oregon in the middle of July. Bummer! During the height of mountaineering season, on one of the best weekends, I would be stuck working. But then I started thinking about the volcanoes. My counter offer to my boss was to get a company vehicle and a couple of extra days to get back to Washington after the work was done. He accepted.

Fastpacking the JMT in 9
days Fastpacking the JMT in 9 days  by Voxaether

The fall of 2012 I was bored. My boyfriend, Jason, and I had returned from climbing Denali earlier that summer and were in the midst of post-expedition depression. I become impatient when I don't have something big on my calendar, and we brainstormed over what would be our 'next'. I had wanted to hike the John Muir Train since the first time I learned about it, Jason and I knew one day we'd take it on. By the fall of 2012 I was 34 and almost felt ashamed that we had put off such a classic so long, and it only felt natural that the task would become our next adventure.

But we had no intention of hiking it in the standard 20 days with 30 pound packs - we would fastpack it, averaging a marathon and 5,200 feet of elevation gain a day,sporting 15-28 pound packs. Seven days was the original goal. We had read so many amazing trip reports of fastpackers finishing in seven, five,even three days. We divided the mileage and seven seemed doable: 31.7miles a day. I became obsessed with scheduling out the distance between bear bins and campsites, poured over maps and loaded topos. After researching the probability I looked at Jason and excitedly remarked that this might actually be within reason – I think we can do this!

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