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Time’s the Charm: Persistence Pays Off on Thunderbolt Peak 6th Time’s the Charm: Persistence Pays Off on Thunderbolt Peak  by PellucidWombat

I stemmed hard against the chimney to take the weight off my hands. Trying my hardest to fight the pain, I shoved my hands into the warmth of my jacket as another wave of spindrift blew up the Palisade Glacier and into my face. Soon the snow crystals passed and the pain in my hands had subsided enough for me to continue working at setting and clipping into my latest piece of pro. This was my first pitch of technical climbing in snowy conditions and it was more than I had bargained for. The awkwardness of boots and a pack weren’t so bad, but I was beginning to discover how poorly suited my hands are to climbing in the cold, even with gloves on.

Ultimately our group persevered that day, but unfortunately for me, we did not summit Thunderbolt Peak, my main objective for the weekend. I had come to the Palisades with Joel Wilson and some other friends, and we had managed to make the approach to Thunderbolt Pass and set up our camp early enough that we decided to go for a summit that day. I was tempted to do Thunderbolt then, but as the others were more interested in North Palisade, I had relented and we pressed on to do that peak first. Thunderbolt would wait until tomorrow, and with the short approach, we even entertained the idea of linking it with Starlight and then descending back to the valley.

Russian Impressions -
Elbrus Russian Impressions - Elbrus  by Liba Kopeckova

Russia is and always was an amazing country - sad and rich, unfair and strong, so different from the rest of the Europe. I had some mixed feelings about this trip, first I was in the process of changing jobs, moving to a different state in USA, selling a house etc. I kept changing my plans, and at the end I made no real plans, I just went...

I was surprised how much hassle it was to obtain the visa. I did contact Pilgrim Tours for some basic information, and visa invitation (you cannot request visa unless you have the invitation, and it could not be done by an individual, but a registered organization). I was contemplating between the light package, which Pilgrim tours offers, or taking the whole tour with them, or hiring a russian guide. Then due to my above mentioned circumstances, I was not thinking about this trip at all... I moved my 3 bedroom house into a storage unit in Colorado, filled hundreds of pages of paperwork necessary for me to practice medicine in Colorado, and flew to the Czech Republic to declimatize in the altitude of 150 meters. I did not even purchase the airline tickets to Moscow, and from Moscow to Mineralne Vody until 2 weeks prior this adventure. I have to thank my brother Pavel, who took care of this, as well as for the accommodation in Moscow.

Almost Ultimate Utah Ridge
Run Almost Ultimate Utah Ridge Run  by ZeeJay

It was on my mind for over two years. Start at Henrys Fork Trailhead on the north slope of the Uinta Mountains, hike to Kings Peak, Utah's high point, hike the whole ridge from Kings to Emmons, hit South Emmons and then Owl, and exit some place on the south slope of the Uintas. The hike would be in the 30 mile range with over 8000' of elevation gain, 5000' of which would be above 12500'. I would climb eight 13000 footers and one 12000 footer. I was planning to do it in a day.

I for sure had my doubts. In the climbers log for the Kings-Emmons Ridge, there were 4 entries, only one of which reported successfully climbing all the peaks in the ridge (although it is not clear if S Emmons was included). Grizz and Fred had spent 19 epic hours climbing the ridge in a loop trip from a base camp in Painters Basin. I was hoping for 20 hours car to car. I figured 6 hours to get to the top of Kings, 7 to get to Emmons, and then another 7 to get out. I wouldn't have the overhead a base camp would entail. Also, they did it on snowshoes and encountered "horrible collapsing snow". I am well acquainted with the horrible collapsing snow conditions of spring time in the Uintas where you posthole to your knees while wearing snowshoes and was content to wait for the snow to be gone, hopefully by mid July when there would still be a fair amount of daylight. Still, the 19 hours these men took to go what I mapped out to be less than 15 miles certainly gave me pause. I had hiked with both of them and both were extremely fit.

I thought of the hike as having three distinct sections, Henrys Fork TH to Kings, Kings to Emmons, and Emmons out. The first section is very easy (relatively speaking of course) and I was quite familiar with it, having climbed Kings 8 times previously. The middle section was an unknown, and the last section was a big problem.

The Rwenzori Mountains The Rwenzori Mountains  by donidave

You can be forgiven for not having heard of this mountain range because it seems few people have. But I don't know why not. It is the highest mountain range in Africa, containing Africa's third highest peak, and has the biggest ice caps left on the continent.

If the name "Rwenzori" is unfamiliar, perhaps you have heard of the Mountains of the Moon? The Mountains of the Moon, so named by Ptolemy and described as the source of the Nile, are believed to be the Rwenzoris.

Since the mountain range straddles the equator they get a lot of sun, and being downwind of the Congo basin, also a lot of rain. Consequently the vegetation is really bizarre. There are are forests of heather six metres high, giant lobelia, huge bamboo and lots of other plants that look familiar but are enormous. So bugs and animals that usually eat them are scaled up as well. Overall you get the feeling that you are trekking somewhere like Middle Earth. There are jungle elephants here too, but we only saw the dung. Leopards, chimps, gorilla, (didn't see any of those) and loads of endemic birds and butterflies too fast to photograph..

West Wall Warmup West Wall Warmup  by mvs

I'd been looking forward to climbing with Jesse for months, and I knew we'd immediately hit it off. His previous aggressive trips to the Dolomites had succeeded in bagging all kinds of routes I wanted to do, and the attitude he projects in photos and writings was the absolute best kind. Basically always happy and ready for more climbing. So I picked him up at Hauptbahnhof, and after a nice farewell dinner at my home, we loaded the car and headed south. It was great for Kris and the boys to get to meet Jesse, I could tell Kris liked him because he made her laugh.

Supposedly the Dolomites were stormy over the weekend, so I suggested we start with the Wilder Kaiser. It would give him a chance to see another climbing area, and give me a chance to knock off a climb I'd been dreaming about for years. Of course (ahem) it's not exactly an easy climb. Frankly, it shouldn't even be on the menu for a "warm up" or "introduction" climb for anybody. I was kind of aware of that, but still, in execution the length and demanding nature of the climb still surprised me!

Some Afternoon Delight in Yosemite (Photo Trip Report) Grabbin' Some Afternoon Delight in Yosemite (Photo Trip Report)  by marauders

It's 6:00 a.m. and I've been driving for seven and a half hours. Surprisingly, I've felt alert the entire time, allowing my buddies to sleep the night away. Driving west from Benton, California, dawn arrives and I finally begin to feel the first wave of exhaustion. I fiddle with the iPod, trying to find some music to give me a spark. But to no avail; all my music blends together in monotones. I then plug in my buddy's iPod and a musical delight teases my ears. Not just any musical delight mind you, this is "Afternoon Delight". I've never heard this song before and my first thought is "What the devil is this crap?" But after a few minutes, the songs wins me over and a smile spreads over my face:

"Gonna find my baby, gonna hold her tight, ?Gonna grab some afternoon delight. ?My motto's always been, when it's right it's right, Why wait until the middle of a cold dark night??? When everything's a little clearer in the light of day?. Then we know the night is always gonna be here anyway??. Thinking of you's working up an appetite, ?Looking forward to a little afternoon delight."

Time To Buck Up For Buckner
Mountain Time To Buck Up For Buckner Mountain  by Redwic

In my ongoing quest to summit county highpoints and peaks with a lot of prominence, Buckner Mountain has been high on my "to do" list. With some mountaineering friends knowing this, I was recently invited to join several other fellow peakbaggers for a summit attempt of Buckner Mountain, which at over 9112' is the highest point of Skagit County and one of the highest points in Washington.

The plan seemed simple enough. Ascend Buckner Mountain via its southwest slope, considered by many to be the least technical route. As such, this route potentially had the best chance for success if conditions allowed. With an expected trek of nearly 20 miles roundtrip in two days over a wide variety of terrain, we knew it might not be an easy trip. However, with a good team and positive attitudes, we were motivated to succeed.

Mt Pugh Summit 7/10/2010 Mt Pugh Summit 7/10/2010  by beaudaddy85

So where do you hike when you have to be at your Brother In-Law's wedding by 3pm that day at the Tulalip Amphitheatre? Maybe try a quick visit to Mt Pugh’s summit?

After talking with my good bud Cham (SouthernYokel) we decided to leave my place at 2:30AM. The day was expected to be hot and we wanted to travel the snow in the shade. We didn't really know the conditions beyond Stujack, other than one TR a couple weeks ago that showed a picture of someone foot next to the benchmark in the fog.

Tabeguache casts its own
shadow Tabeguache casts its own shadow  by metal4lyf

Back in mid-April I climbed Mount Shavano with Dan and John. The route we chose was exhausting, and by the time we reached the summit we did not have the energy to continue over to Tabeguache. In retrospect I'm glad for this because, had we crossed the uninspiring saddle connecting Tabeguache with its higher neighbor to the east, we'd have robbed ourselves of an experience on this formidable mountain.

For two weeks following our success on Shavano I focused on other climbs, but Tabeguache was always there--truth be told I was apprehensive about returning and not particularly interested in any of the remaining standard routes over Mount Shavano. I'd seen others express the sentiment that Tabeguache Peak is little more than an afterthought when climbed via Mount Shavano, which is currently the only recommended route to its summit. I wanted to meet Tabeguache on its own terms.

Tirol 2, Bavaria 1 Tirol 2, Bavaria 1  by mvs

My wife was getting right tired of me moping around the house complaining about the weather. Family camping trips and he-man adventure climbing trips had been canceled left and right for more than 2 months. The weather was truly worse than Seattle (I looked!). Normally I count on trips in May and June to work off the disposition to soft living that I accumulate every winter like a fresh coat of down.

Finally the summer came, and some friends and I embarked on a crash course to use some good weather well. By the end, I felt avenged. All was right with the world again...no more moping!

For all you guys and gals out there just tryin' to "get 'er done" with limited time and weather. Hell yes!

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