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R2R2R: Jacob Lake to South Rim and back Winter R2R2R: Jacob Lake to South Rim and back  by Dmitry Pruss

Having visited the Grand Canyon for the first time the previous summer, I was awestruck by its majesty, and by people's accounts of speedy crossings. I knew that my body won't appreciate doing it in the warmer months, and so I was quite elated to discover a trip report by two Phoenix guys outlining how it can be done on skis (the trick is that the winter closure of the North Rim adds over 40 miles one way to the trip!). Another source of inspiration have been the old TRs of the founding fathers of Utah ultrarunning who were also experimenting, decades ago, with what they called "fastpacking" in my favorite Uinta Mountains. Adding two and two together, I got all fired up about a possibility of skiing + fastpacking across the Grand Canyon.

With the potential partners all peeling off, I figured that the weather and the Moon would be my most reliable friends for a solo recon trip. I wasn't quite sure what I will find out about the terrain and about myself, but I had 10 days to spare & ended up doing a full R2R2R in 5 days, for a grand total of approximately 150 miles. 100 miles of skiing and 50 on foot give or take.

Provo Peak
via Rock Canyon - The Third Time's the Charm Provo Peak via Rock Canyon - The Third Time's the Charm  by Moogie737

November 25, 2008. Asserting just a hint of my yen to be a maverick, I wished my usual hiking group well and drove to Provo, the idea being to top out on yet one more Wasatch 11,000er. I would drive to the Rock Canyon CG and hike up to the summit. Only 3,700' of elevation gain; about 6 miles r/t, 3.5 miles on graded road. Piece of cake.

As soon as I saw the sign I was glad I was in my little Toyota for the 9.5 miles of serpentining asphalt and gravel. But the Forest Service had Enlarge Nothing on the sign to indicate that the road was closed for the winter months! already made other plans for me. One half mile up the road I came to the closed steel gate which barred me from further passage. What the hey! You mean to say I had driven 35 miles for nothing? Let's see, if I cruise back to where my usual group was going I would be way too late to overhaul them. What to do...

Losing a
New Friend on Aconcagua’s Polish Direct Losing a New Friend on Aconcagua’s Polish Direct  by Brad Marshall

“Stefan, Stefan” I cried out as I approached his body, my mind trying to comprehend what had occurred. In the snow below lay my partner who had fallen during his descent of the Polish Direct route. This shouldn’t have happened. Death in the mountains was something we read about in books and magazines not something we expect to experience. In the days preceding the accident circumstances had conspired to place us in a position where we could climb the route together but never did such an outcome ever occur to me. As I continued my descent I again called out to him but no reply ever came. When I finally reached my new friend he was gone. There was nothing I could do but sit beside him and mourn his loss.

An Escapade of a Father and
His Sons An Escapade of a Father and His Sons  by tioga

It all started in April, when my brother and I were visiting what would be one of the least recognized mountains within the Appalachians, if it were not a state highpoint; Cheaha Mountain. In April I completed 7 southern state highpoints, while on a business trip to Memphis and my brother had joined me on a couple of these mountains. While climbing that highest peak in Alabama we chatted about other trips we would like to do in the future. Many crossed our minds, but one mountain seemed to steal attention from all others, due to its proximity in the east and its fame as one of the roughest, most isolated peaks in the eastern United States. We wanted to climb the Beast of the East, the mile-high mountain, the northern terminus of the Appalachian Trail, the Knife Edge; we were desiring to climb Mt Katahdin. This mountain had always been a possibility for us, but it just seemed too far away and with other mountains (Adirondacks, White Mountains, Green Mountains, etc.) much closer, we never gave it much thought. As I usually do, I joked about taking a trip to central Maine to climb Katahdin, but my brother responded in a serious tone. He had apparently given it some thought and was willing to make the sacrifice to get to Maine. It took me very little time to start thinking of it as a real possibility. Many obstacles stood in our way and much planning had to be done, but we wanted to see this mass of rock and climb its ancient slopes too much to let anything stand in our way. It became not only a possibility, but a date set on our calendars.

Traverse of
the Fünffingerspitze Traverse of the Fünffingerspitze  by mvs

It was their first climb in the Dolomites, first climb in the Alps. It had to be a great one, right? These were my best buds...Theron, veteran of so many climbs with me. Carlos, in some ways an alpine "newbie," but damn tough and strong under his saintly demeanor.

Despite 3 years apart, coming together was just like the last time we saw each other. Is it climbing that does that, or the internet, or is that just friendship? You pick up where you left off, happy to slide into your old role, like a well-known stick shift.

T-Bolt to Sill Traverse T-Bolt to Sill Traverse  by m_dquist

After getting snowed out on Memorial Day Weekend on our attempt on the U-Notch, we decided to head back up to the Palisades for a shot at the traverse. Once again we brought our favorite mascot along, my Dad. He's been getting a kick out of coming along on our trips to hang out at camp and take photos of the surrounding mountains on his own day hikes while we climb. Unable to get a Wilderness Permit for Thursday or Friday entry on Labor Day weekend, we were forced to get one for Wednesday. Since we all had to work Wednesday AND Thursday, we drove up after work Thursday from San Francisco and arrived in Bishop late that evening. After shopping at Vons and packing at Paul's house, Brett and I polished off a 12-pack of Tecate to make the hike in more interesting, much to my dad's chagrin. He wasn't too impressed with the walk in in the dark, and even less so by our shenanigans. Maybe he should have had some beer with us, he probably would have enjoyed the hike in at 2 AM as much as we did.

Nemesis: our Christmas Day
tradition Nemesis: our Christmas Day tradition  by pvalchev

Me and Jason are making a tradition of getting out on Christmas Day for some ice action - last year, we climbed The Sorcerer in the Ghost. This year, there were several posts online from people climbing Nemesis in November, so we decided to get amongst. :) Unfortunately, the end of December brought frigid -30 C temperatures so there didn't seem to be much climbing going on - who wants to climb when it's that cold?!

Große Reibn - A
Berchtesgaden Ski Adventure Große Reibn - A Berchtesgaden Ski Adventure  by selinunte01

For years I have waited to do the Big Berchtesgaden Ski Hiking Loop, as you might translate the term "Große Reibn". It is a wellknown ski traverse to many alpine mountaineers, especially in Bavaria, Salzburg and Tirol. Nevertheless it has been grown out of practice a little bit and (thank Good !!) you see fewer people "en route", so I thought my time has come. Now or never.

101 Ways to
Pass Time at Camp (On the Ruth Glacier) 101 Ways to Pass Time at Camp (On the Ruth Glacier)  by PellucidWombat

Michael Heathfield, our trip organizer, and Michael Buchanan, another eager first-timer to Alaska, met me in Anchorage in May of 2006 to climb a new route on the Northwest face of Peak 11,300 (1),(2),(3), which is on the Southeast Spur of Denali.

While the existing lines went directly up couloirs on the edge of the face, meeting the West Ridge, or approaching the summit from the side, our intended line would ascend a large ramp that cut across the face, before cutting directly up the center of the face to the summit, following a couloir, with a sizeable section of rock in the middle. From there we would climb a snow ridge and ice dome to the summit. After months of planning, and months of diligent physical training, I was ready to embark on my first big Alaska adventure.

Ice climbing in La Grave and
Arolla Ice climbing in La Grave and Arolla  by mvs

Dan P. and I scheduled to climb in Cogne, Italy for a week, but a sudden vicious snowfall put things out of condition, even making it impossible to drive to our hotel. So we stayed in La Grave where the snowfall was less severe. I don't have all the pictures yet, they are in Dan's camera. And at other times, my own camera basically froze up and I couldn't get any pictures. So some icefalls have none as of yet!

We had a great time, and improved our abilities in safe conditions. Every day was blue sky, but not too warm.

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