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Five Finger
Fun – Less is Sometimes Good Enough Five Finger Fun – Less is Sometimes Good Enough  by SoCalHiker

have not been out there lately bagging peaks as I had done in the past. There are many reasons for that, but let’s just say that more important things came up last year. Anyhow, I of course kept myself busy and in decent shape with running and bouldering mostly in the local Santa Monica Mountains. But I knew it’s just a matter of time until the urge to climb a mountain became too strong to ignore. Over the last few months I also re-awoke my kids’ interest in the outdoors and mountains again after some years of voluntary hibernation. After some planning and thinking, I decided to drive to the Five Fingers in the Southern Sierra Nevada and explore that area. I have seen these rocky outcroppings east of Owens Peak in the Indian Wells Canyon many times on my way up and down highway 14/395. And my interest to climb them grew stronger each time. Since my kids are very enthusiastic about the prospect of climbing some rocks and given that the approach to the Five Fingers is short, I considered it a good plan. I was certainly aware of the difficulty of climbing these rocks, with the easiest routes ranking in the class 3 category. Failure to reach the summit was something I knew could happen easily but I did not let that thought spoil my interest to go there. So, the original plan was trying to climb the highpoint of the Five Fingers via the class 3 chute on the north side. It sounded pretty reasonable to me. The kids were excited about it too. At the minimum I wanted to get a first-hand view of Morris Peak, Mount Jenkins, Owens Peak, Russell Peak, and Backus Peak around the Indian Wells Canyon. Also, I was hoping for a good wildflower sighting as well.

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TEMPLE CRAG, Moon Goddess
Arete, In Winter TEMPLE CRAG, Moon Goddess Arete, In Winter  by asmrz

Some 25 years ago, Miguel Carmona and I (Alois Smrz) attempted the Swiss Arete on Mt. Sill in winter. While skiing by Temple Crag, I had the foolish notion of mentioning the Moon Goddess Arete as yet another possibility for a winter climb. We dismissed the idea right there and it remained just another crazy thought which would never see the time of day. But about three years ago, Miguel brought up the climb again. The approach was reasonable, we knew the route from climbing it in the summer and if the conditions were absolutely perfect, we could attempt it. So for the last three years in the winter months, we have been eyeing the weather, packing and unpacking gear and failing to anticipate the perfect weather window. Every year this mad idea seemed further from coming to fruition. It was with some desperation, that we finally decided to just go for it last week.

Penelope May kindly helped us with our heavy carry to the Third Lake and from there Miguel and I started at 4 AM on March 19, 2010. We had two thin ropes, rock gear, helmets, winter boots and rock shoes, spare heavy gloves each, one pack, slings, harnesses, down jackets, Gore-Tex tops and bottoms, short ice tool and crampons each. Miguel secured some 20 Power Bar Gels for energy and we had one quart of water between us.

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A
non-winter ascent of Mount Yale A non-winter ascent of Mount Yale  by metal4lyf

In my (basically unjustifiable) drive to make as many calendar winter ascents as possible, I planned earlier in the week to reach the summit of Mount Yale by 11:32 am on Saturday--that inexorable moment signaling the end of Winter. Little fluffy clouds would delicately grace the blue sky, snow would retreat with haste from the hills and peaks like so many lemmings over a cliff, lush grass and flowers would sprout up everywhere uncontrollably. Oh dear!

It's a well-known fact that climbing mountains after the sun, geocentrically speaking, crosses above the equatorial plane is not nearly as hard as before. The gravitation is different, you know. And so I watched the weather forecasts with growing despair. By Thursday the outlook had deteriorated hopelessly; Friday and Saturday, high winds and heavy snowfall in the vicinity of Mount Yale. Then my partner cancelled. After considering the fundamental silliness of my motivation and the optimistic forecast for Sunday, I decided to go on Sunday instead. In time I will come to grips with my meager accomplishments this Winter.

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Bandelier
National NM, Guadalupe NP and Carlsbad NP Photo Trip Report Bandelier National NM, Guadalupe NP and Carlsbad NP Photo Trip Report  by Scott

Today Shaylee, Kessler, Kimberly and I stopped at Bandelier National Monument on our way to Carlsbad Caverns. First we hiked the loop to the Ceremonial Cave/Alcove House in Frijoles Canyon. The cliffs of Frijoles Canyon are pock marked with many caves that were used by the ancestral pueblo Indians hundreds (to thousands) of years ago. The kids liked climbing into the caves, but their favorite part was climbing up the long wooden ladders to reach the caves.

In the afternoon we still had time, so we hiked to the waterfalls in lower Frijoles Canyon. It was a great hike and necessary since we had a long car drive ahead of us.

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Autumn Unfolds On Never
Laughs Mountain Autumn Unfolds On Never Laughs Mountain  by FlatheadNative

It is the time of year when the eternal battle wages between the pregnant expectations of winter’s solstice of quiet clothed in fresh snow and life’s urges to hang on and scream for that last breath of summer’s solitude.

Geese are flying south in their familiar v-shaped flight patterns to warmer weather and grizzly bears are gorging on high protein snacks in an attempt to put on those necessary pounds for a long winter’s hibernation.

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5 guys
named bierstadt 5 guys named bierstadt  by grabbs146

So, Coming from Chicago to Colorado to climb Mount Bierstadt and Quandary Peak in one weekend with out time the acclimate to the altitude was a tall order. The odds were against us. I flew in ahead of everyone(George,Andy,Jim,and Jason) because I like to fly in the morning. Everyone else flew in later that afternoon/night and because I was the early one I had to pick up the rental car. These people that work there are worse than used car salesmen! This guy tried his hardest to get me to upgrade and get this and that for more money. I get out of the rental lot without spending extra and pickup some group gear like water and white gas because it was easier to buy it there, than to fly in with it. Next I pickup the rest of the group at the airport and we're off!

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Happy Birthday to Me (and a
Fool in the Mud) Happy Birthday to Me (and a Fool in the Mud)  by Bob Sihler

My birthday falls on or very close to Columbus Day Weekend, and as a little treat to myself, I like to go away for a night, or two, or three. Most of the time I go alone; I like to be alone and need to be alone, especially in the mountains, and my wife puts up with this better than most other spouses seem to, for which I'm thankful. Although she always knew what she was getting into, I have heard too many stories of spouses losing or outright dropping that acceptance. Life without going to the wilderness by myself to refresh and inspire my spirit would be a cage for me, and I'm grateful that I have found someone who realizes it even if she doesn't totally understand it. Only others who are this way can really understand it, after all.

Usually, my birthday escape is just a jaunt out to Shenandoah National Park, only a 90-minute drive from me, or down the Blue Ridge Parkway, easily covered over a long weekend, but it occasionally is a bigger affair, such as when I took a Friday flight to Portland, ME, to spend a couple nights in Baxter State Park in order to climb Katahdin.

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Eiger – A
trip on the knife edge - TR & Movie Eiger – A trip on the knife edge - TR & Movie  by hansw

I stopped at a gas station and bought batteries for my headlamp. It was a beautiful morning this last day of July in 1996 as I drove eastward along the Rhone valley. The wife and the two teenage daughters were swimming in the thermal baths up in the spa village Leukerbad where the family was on holiday. The extent of my two days expedition was by no means clear to the ladies. I was on my way to climb the Eiger.

The higher I drove the darker the sky became. When I passed the Grimsel Pass at 2165 meters large raindrops hit the windshield. My goal was the little mountain village Grindelwald, located in the Swiss canton Bernese Oberland. The plan was on and I had passed the point of no return.

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An 18 Hour Day On Eldorado
Peak An 18 Hour Day On Eldorado Peak  by gimpilator

Inspired by Steph Abegg's recent trip report, EastKing and I started discussing the possibility of heading up to Eldorado ourselves to give the mountain our best shot. Eldorado has been on my to do list for a few years now but I've felt a little trepidation about that famous knife edge finish to the summit. Seeing Steph's photograph of the unusually wide east ridge settled things in my mind. I wanted to climb this peak while the upper reaches were covered in fresh snow. We decided If we got another break in the weather. Eldorado would be our goal. We hoped to do this trip the last weekend in February but with increasing avalanche danger we went to North Chiwaukum and Middle Chiwaukum instead. Fortunately, the following weekend provided the weather we had hoped for and also very low avalanche danger. Leaving my house at 1130pm Friday night, we drove to the trailhead. I knew that most people did Eldorado as a two day climb to break up the 6700+ feet of vertical gain. But I felt confident that with an early enough start, we could do it in a day. There would be six of us making two rope teams of 3 for crossing the Eldorado Glacier and the Inspiration Glacier.

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If at First You Don't
Succeed . . . If at First You Don't Succeed . . .  by PellucidWombat

The route seemed simple enough. As Tom Bennett and I were both plenty fit and broken in for the season, chomping at the bit as we were, we decided to have a quick little jaunt up Sargents Ridge on Mount Shasta to ring in the New Year. The plan was to drive up Friday, climb the ridge and make camp on a narrow section of the ridge at 10,000 ft (for the practice and fun of camping on steeper terrain) and then summit and descend on Saturday for a short weekend climb.

I had summitted Shasta for my second time the previous year via Casaval Ridge, and apart from the Catwalk being fairly airy I found the route finding straightforward and the climbing not too hard. Scenic, yes, but it was mostly a lot of traversing and slogging on 40 degree slopes with a few 50 degree cruxes. Most route references I saw rated Sargents/Green Butte Ridge easier or no harder than Casaval Ridge, so we expected the route to be a straightforward 1.5 day climb for us, even in the middle of winter.

We were in for a surprise.

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