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Emmons-Winthrop - July 2009 Emmons-Winthrop - July 2009  by mbgriffi

One of the first things you notice when visiting Seattle is "The Mountain"; at first you feel funny calling Mt. Rainier "The Mountain", but then you notice that no matter where you travel in the greater Seattle area when The Mountain is out (free from cloud cover) its visible from everywhere. Rainier Avenue in Seattle is aptly named as it appears as if your going to drive straight down the road and onto The Mountain. From downtown, from Lake Washington, from Lake Sammamish, from every mountain trail you ever hike, Rainier looms above them all. Almost as soon as I began traipsing around the hills I looked longingly at the white slopes of Rainier and thought of climbing it. As you get a bit more experience with the area and learn a bit more about Rainier there are two slightly contradictory discussions that emerge. First there are a lot of people in the greater Seattle area that have either attempted or climbed Rainier, its powerful presence works its magic on many people. Within this group you get a lot of stories about how easy climbing Rainier is, "Yeah my brother and his friends climbed it last year and they said it was just like a really long hike". I suspect many of these are doing the standard route from the Muir side with guides. The second side of the discussion is that Rainier is big, long, hard and dangerous, not to be tackled by the naive or unprepared, guide or not. I think much of the recounting depends on weather, and that regardless I favor the harder rather than the easier categorization.

Forbidden Peak East Ridge
Direct Forbidden Peak East Ridge Direct  by Tsuyoshi

I had Wednesday off work so I asked Chico if he wanted to go climb something. He quickly agreed and the plan to climb the east ridge of Forbidden Peak was born. The plan was simple, I'd get off work at 6:00 pm on Tuesday and head strait home to pack up my gear. Chico would meet me at my apartment in Ballard around 8:00 pm and we'd leave as soon as possible after that.

All was going very well until we started loading gear into Chico's car. I had everything loaded and remembered that I needed to get my crampons! "They're just in my car, let me go in the garage and get them out," I told chico as he started his car. But upon looking in my car, they were no where to be found. Then it hit me, I have been house sitting for my parents while they are in Australia and the last time I climbed something I slept there the night after, leaving some of my gear. I could picture them sitting just under the fireplace... :( So I had a decision to make, either take boots and heavy crampons (didn't sound fun), or running shoes and no crampons (didn't sound as safe). I chose the running shoe option rationalizing that I'd just chop steps!

Cycling and
Scrambling from Calgary to Vancouver Cycling and Scrambling from Calgary to Vancouver  by PellucidWombat

This trip report is very long, partly because it was a very long trip (23 days), partly because I covered a lot of ground (cycled 770 miles and climbed over 10 peaks), and also because I’ve decided not to just write the standard “went there, did that” format. The trip was as much an inward journey for me as an outward one, so I feel that ignoring details relevant to my motivations and self-reflection would miss out on a lot of the adventure.

In a nutshell, from July 29th to August 17th I cycled solo across Western Canada, from Calgary, Alberta, to Vancouver, British Columbia via Banff, Kamloops, and Whistler. Along the way I hiked and climbed throughout the Canadian Rockies and a small amount in the Coastal Range, summitting about 10 peaks. I cycled fully self-supported (apart from supply refills along the way) with camping gear and basic scrambling equipment, and this was to be my first ever multi-day cycling tour and first time ever combining cycling with scrambling on an approach. Although it was a very ambitious trip, in the end it was a wild success, and I had many interesting experiences along the way. For those that like stats, here they are:

Borah and a Salmon River
Trio (Part I) Borah and a Salmon River Trio (Part I)  by mtybumpo

Sometimes things don’t pan out the way you’d expect. On July 1st-4th my family and I had a big get together planned. We were going to meet in Copper Basin in Idaho’s Pioneer Mountains and camp for four days. While there, there would be endless opportunities for climbing, fishing, and almost anything else you could imagine. But it was not to be so. A week before the planned date I found out that is wasn’t going to happen. Work schedules weren’t working out and there were other unexpected difficulties that needed attention that weekend. For me as well as the rest of my family this was a big disappointment. It was decided that the trip would be postponed a month but since I already had work off, I had an open weekend with nothing to do. My wife was busy studying to take here licensing exam to become an LPN and didn’t want to go anywhere but she was fine with the idea of having an empty and quiet house to study in. So I thought I’d take advantage of the situation and knock a few peaks off my list.

Say Costantini Ghedina three
times fast! Say Costantini Ghedina three times fast!  by mvs

Dan is so lucky. Having an extremely flexible schedule at this point, he could stay in the Dolomiti all week while I had to scurry back to work in Munich. I was afraid he would climb the Costantini-Ghedina without me! Though he made reassuring noises, I was afraid my lyrical description of what I expected to find on the route would prove too tempting to ignore, even for a few days. Like a husband jealous of his wife the Tofana, I decided to surprise her. I took Friday off so I could keep an eye on her...AND my friend. Did I tell her I was coming early? No, I did not. Were I to find her in flagrente delicto with another climber I would be glad for the secrecy. However, would my lack of trust provoke her anger? We shall see...

Basin 13er Ridge Run: You Win Some and You Lose Some American Basin 13er Ridge Run: You Win Some and You Lose Some  by shknbke

My wife and I were in the San Juans to attend Dominic and Sarah's wedding at one of my favorite places in Colorado, spectacular Yankee Boy Basin. No need for a church when you're right in the middle of God's cathedral on earth!

I treated my wife to an authentic 4WD outing up Engineer Pass, with the west side being much rougher and dramatic. She was just a wee bit nervous! We waited at the pass to see if some dark clouds would blow over for a chance at easy 13er Engineer Pk, but it was not to be. We checked in late at the Matterhorn Hotel in Lake City and I caught a few z's before heading out at the ungodly hour of 3AM for a multi peak fest in American Basin.

Things were looking dreary as it had just stopped raining and the skies were looking uncertain. I bashed my way up to American Basin and the road was not quite as rough as I had remembered it the first time. It was spooky driving this shelf road in the dark but I thought it was less intimidating as you couldn't see the huge drops! :eek:

Gannett Peak: There and Back
Again Gannett Peak: There and Back Again  by Redwic

Although I have summited many peaks during the past few years, I had not considered myself a mountaineer. However, my love of mountains has been firm. Several months ago, I was researching various peaks to possibly climb in the United States. While doing so, I met a man named Jack online who had an interest in climbing one particular peak that I was also interested in climbing. It was not Gannett Peak. However, after we started exchanging notes, we discovered we were both State Highpointers and and both still had Gannett Peak on our respective “to do” lists. Gannett Peak is not a mountain to take lightly. Widely considered the second-most difficult State Highpoint to summit, the peak requires a combination of courage, skill, endurance, and determination for a successful climb. As Jack and I began discussing the possibility of climbing Gannett Peak, we started to believe that we each had attributes to form a formidable climbing duo. A plan was soon set into motion. Gannett Peak became our new target.

Lurking Fear TR Lurking Fear TR  by rpc

With an extended 4th of July weekend and a pair of Alaska Air tickets to Sacramento, we spent a better part of the preceding Sunday trying to squeeze our grade VI loads into the allotted luggage quota. Following a late night flight from Portland, Wednesday morning saw us waking up late and having breakfast in Oakdale (day 1 plans being short and all). By 11 am, we were hiking along the base of El Cap headed for the start of Lurking Fear (free topo). Our lunch time running regimen from the last 2 months seemed to be paying off as we huffed and cursed a bit less than usual while weighted down by a pig and gear. As expected, the sight of El Cap towering above shook my determination. Nevertheless, after humping the loads up the 4th class step (it was warm) we started up pitch 1. The “direct” bolted variation went as untarnished aid with the help of top-stepping and a couple trivial hook moves. Pitch 2 offered more of the same including the “C1 hooking” while the 3rd was a nice C1 crack to a penji. Though we brought a portaledge, our plan was to bivy in spots that offered at least a hint of an edge for the feet to assist in setting up camp. With that in mind, we called it a day on the nice ledge atop pitch 3 and dug into our supply of bagels and canned dolmas. Rest of the evening was spent watching forest fires somewhere above the Rostrum and sucking down smoke - a trend that would continue for the rest of the climb. I had a restless night due to the fact that I’m too long for the portaledge and Shirley had a restless night due to my restless night. Oh well – day 2 was going to be a pretty short one too.

A Fistful of Dolomite A Fistful of Dolomite  by mvs

Finally a chance came up to climb with my good friend Danno. It would be his first weekend climbing trip, and I knew it would be fun to introduce him to the camaraderie around the pizza, beer and bivy sacks after a good climbing day, and looking forward to one more. There was also a guest visiting from the U.S., fellow Summitposter Garon Coriz. In the car down to the Dolomiti Friday night, we discovered that Garon and Danno had gone to the same high school in Albuquerque...15 years apart! Even had some of the same teachers. Amazing...

We found a good place to sleep around 1 am, then woke up at 6 to begin our first day: It would be the Vinatzer Route on the Third Sella Tower. I had two different topos of the route; Kohler and Memmel advertised the crux pitch as V+ and Mauro Bernardi's newer guide to the Groeden valley as VI-. Also, the first and final pitches appeared to be completely different. I went with the Bernardi topo, because it looked like better climbing on the pitches that differed.

climbing rescue on Mt. Terror (plus Inspiration S Face, Degenhardt, Pyramid,
West McMilllan) 5-day climbing rescue on Mt. Terror (plus Inspiration S Face, Degenhardt, Pyramid, West McMilllan)  by StephAbegg

The Picket Range is one of the most rugged areas of the North Cascades. Although the difficulty of the climbing is often moderate, the routes are committing and remote, and any mishap can turn deadly. This fact became all too real when on July 5, a climbing accident occurred on the Stoddard buttress of Mt. Terror. A stretch of bad weather worsened the situation, leading to a 5-day rescue operation, which ultimately ended in success due to a series of well-thought decisions and the dedication of the rescue team.

There were four of us in the climbing party: Donn Venema, Jason Schilling, Steve Trent, and me (Steph Abegg). All of us are experienced climbers, and have made several previous excursions into the rugged Picket Range. The first three days of our 6-day trip had been wildly successful, during which we had climbed the South Face of Inspiration, West McMillan Spire, Degenhardt, and The Pyramid. On Day 4 we started off on our last major climb of our trip: the Stoddard Buttress on the north side of Mt. Terror. This is when the accident occured.

The following trip report gives photos and details of our successful climbs and then the 5-day climbing rescue operation that followed. The full story of the climbing rescue is provided after the photos at the end of the trip report.

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