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Over the Top Rock Over the Top Rock  by GeoPooch Sobachka

Few visitors venture beyond the super-popular Wave into the wilderness of Coyote Buttes. We planned to scramble up Top Rock and to see its arches, and to check its back side, before taking off to White Pocket.

We started before 8 am on a chilly November morning. The Sun was still low but there were two new lines in the trail register already (one of them from the ranger out to check the $%$#%# permits!). As we hiked into Sand Cove, we couldn't help noticing that the rays of Sun didn't even touch the domes above the Wave, let alone shine into it. So we went looking for the dino tracks on the West side of the Cove, then dropped into the wash some ways upstream of the BLM-recommended crossing, and enjoyed exploring the little slot there.

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Desert
Virgins: a trip to the Fisher Towers and Indian Creek Desert Virgins: a trip to the Fisher Towers and Indian Creek  by Dan Dalton

To me, climbing acts as a way to manipulate time. When I am truly climbing, and am in the moment, time stands still and all of my senses are heightened. I can feel the grains and texture of the stone on my hand, I smell the unique scent of rock just after the morning dew has evaporated from the plants below, and most importantly I can free my mind and think about whatever I want. It is almost as if the actual climbing itself does not matter, my body automatically reacts to the sequence of holds above me and executes the perfect physical motions to ascend that line. It is my mind that wanders. Exploring and probing places that it does not dare venture to in everyday life. I can be on a climb for only a matter of five minutes and after being lowered have the feeling that I was on the rock face for days, (and no, no drugs are involved in this entire process, although I am sure that those who relish Mary Jane and a certain fungus might also experience such feelings!) This is not a common occurrence in my climbing and happens occasionally, but seems to have been more prevalent in my recent trip to Utah.

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The Shit Times The Shit Times  by rpc

It’s Friday night. Travelocity special to Phoenix – a great deal! Barely make the 6:30pm flight out of PDX. 4 bags. 150 lbs of gear. My Saturday outfits; my Sunday outfits; my soap collection and make-up kit for starters. Cheap car rental and a 3 hour drive put us in the East Cochise Stronghold. It’s 1am. Too lazy to pitch the tent. Quick sleep on the front seats of the economy rental. The alarm goes off. Shit – no pen to fill out the fee envelope! Off we go hiking up to the Rockfellows.

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Bombing in the Cirque of the
Unclimbables Bombing in the Cirque of the Unclimbables  by AJones

“You want to do what?” I said to Mirek Hladik, my good friend and climbing partner, while discussing plans for our newest adventure – a trip into the Cirque of the Unclimbables to tackle the world famous “Lotus Flower Tower”.

“Parachute our gear in – it will be great”, replied Mirek with enthusiasm. Having heard about the horror of the hike into the cirque; Mirek, always thinking, had come up with the idea of parachuting a significant portion of our gear into the Cirque, thereby saving us the pain of having to hump it in.

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The Picket
Range Expedition The Picket Range Expedition  by ibndalight

I slowly pulled myself forward though the thick brush with twigs still caught in between my 65-pound pack and my body. I struggled to free myself and press uphill. It was two steps up the hill and one step back because of the muddy ground sliding beneath my feet. Every branch that I fought through was wet and the rain made it that much more miserable. It is one thing to be hit in the face with a branch but it is quite another when its soaking wet. It was as if I was being slapped with a wet sock, over and over again. I was climbing up the approach to the Eliey Wiley ridge on day 2 of my 8-day expedition into the Picket range. It was a rude awakening when I realized what this mountain range actually included. The trip had not been presented to me as a bushwhack through the rainforest while being rained on and then endless climbing on loose boulder fields. I felt like I was trying to climb 50,000 bowling balls stack up on top of each other. But it didnt matter; we were already 17 miles and a boat ride away from civilization. I had no choice but to press on.

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From Dawn
Till Dusk From Dawn Till Dusk  by Gangolf Haub

Špik, my guidebook tells me that the name means spearhead, and this is exactly what the mountain looks like. Regardless from which side you look at it, its summit looks like a perfect pyramid. The most famous view is from the north, from the villages of Gozd Martuljek or Srednji Vrh, where it dominates the vista of the Martuljek Group though it is not the highest mountain - by far. Thanks to its location, slightly to the north of the group, pik can be seen from many of the surrounding summits and consequently is a perfect lookout peak itself.

Can such a mountain be climbed by hikers? The steep pyramid has a week spot high up on its south face a ridge, which starts at neighbouring Lipnica, joins and from that ridge roughly 100m remain to be climbed to reach the summit. There are two routes leading to this ridge, one direct through Kac(ji graben (the snake gully) and one from Krnica Hut in upper Pinica Valley. The former is very steep and topped by a steep scree slope while the other is very long and reserves two moderate climbing sections at its top. Both routes can be combined in a loop but it takes a long day to complete it. This is the report of such a long day, a day which started long before dawn and which ended as the sun was disappearing beneath the western horizon.

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Foxs on the Palisade
Traverse Foxs on the Palisade Traverse  by J Fox

Jon and I were determined to conquer North Pal after our attempt to climb it in November of 2005 got turned back due to some pretty frigid weather. I couldn't seem to tag a trip to the Palisades on the end of any of my trips to San Jose in the years since but fortunately my amazingly understanding wife let me take off 10 days to visit Jon for some mountaineering delights in the Sierras. We had some big plans including a traverse of the Palisades, the east ridges of Whitney and Russell, and Bear Creek Spire. Reality sometimes intrudes on my usually wildly optimistic mountaineering plans and this was to be such a week. But conquer the Palisades we did and it is a trip that both of us will long remember.

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The Rio Grande Pyramid The Rio Grande Pyramid  by Kiefer

I had attempted Rio Grande Pyramid about two weeks ago (Oct. 15th) during an ill-fated, storm washed weekend. Most of that weekend had either draped the mountains in a fresh coating of white or completely erased them with varying levels of gray clouds. It had taken me somewhere in the neighbourhood of six hours to drive to the 30-mile campground which serves as a predominant trailhead/launching point for Rio Grande Pyramid and indeed, the central Weminuche in general. The flurries I was driving through as I crested Slumgullion Pass, south of Lake City had turned into an all out blizzard by the time I reached the turn-off for Forest Service Road #520. I drove the remaining 9 miles (14.5km) to the campground anyway and figured this would be a good time to at least get some MUCH needed sleep. When I woke up five hours later around 1:00am, there was 4-5” of snow on the ground, clear skies and it 19°F outside.

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Accursed
Mountains 2006, Part 2. <b>The meadow that is not there.</b> Accursed Mountains 2006, Part 2. The meadow that is not there.  by kamil

As soon as we woke up, we could see the shepherds were all agitated. One sheep was missing. The explanation was quite obvious – we all heard that howling wolf the previous night.

Besides that, one other sheep grabbed our attention from the very beginning. She always grazed alone close to the settlement and never went up the mountains with the shepherds. We called her luda ovca – the mad sheep.

The decision were to go was practically made the night before, now we only confirmed it. We left Maja Popluks for the following day. Now, after the efforts of climbing the roof of the Accursed Mountains, we deserved a nice and easy walk. Like the one along the meadows on the ridge that leads to Maja Kolacit.

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On The
Warpath On The Warpath  by Gangolf Haub

The border region between Austria, Italy and Slovenia bears witness to a tumultuous history. Three ethnic groups, Slovenians, Italians, Austrians have made the area their home and for most of the time lived in harmony with each other. The sharp ridges of the Julian Alps separated the groups at first but over time people migrated across the passes to set up home “on the other side” so that even today villages, towns and mountains often carry three names. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries however, the concept of nationality, later nationalism put an end to peace and understanding. On May 23rd the Italian ambassador to Vienna handed over the declaration of war to the Austrian foreign minister, with which started the war in the mountains, Gebirgskrieg in German, which raged for four years across the mountain ranges along the Italian-Austrian border. The fiercest fighting occurred along the river Isonzo, Soča in Slovenian, a river which runs from its source in the Julian Alps to the Adriatic sea, less than 100km to the south. In its northern part this front climbed over the ridges of the Krn, Kanin and Vis/Montaz Groups which were fortified with dugouts, trenches and artillery positions.

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