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Corn Gods and the Palisade
Glacier Corn Gods and the Palisade Glacier  by Sierra Ledge Rat

In the beginning there were snowshoes.

Then one day in the Palisades the sky opened up and the mountain gods called down to me a deep, booming voice, “You... must... ski... corn...”

I dropped to one knee and cried out, “I believe! I believe!”

From that day onward, my spiritual life revolved around dropping to one knee during an annual ski pilgrimage to the Palisade Glacier.

No doubt many others share my higher calling. We have all spent many glorious days paying homage to the Corn Gods by ripping turns on the Palisade Glacier.

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Epic on
Devils Tower Epic on Devils Tower  by McCannster

Easter weekend 2009. My friend Colin and I had been planning a trip to the Needles climbing area in the Black Hills of South Dakota. Originally this was going to be a trip with quite a few people, but it turned out to be just us two. The climbing on Saturday was fun, yet sufficient snow coverage hindered us from climbing too many routes in the Needles. We climbed a bit throughout the day on Saturday and topped it off with a hike up Harney Peak in the late afternoon. We knew some weather was about to pass over the area, and we were debating what we wanted to do on Easter Sunday. Still wanting some adventure, we decided we would pay Devils Tower a visit, only about an hour and a half out of our way from where we were staying at a friend's house in Rapid City. Judging from the forecast, we expected not being able to climb the tower; the forecast called for rain pretty much all day. Colin and I decided that we would check the weather in the morning and call it. We slept very well after our day of climbing in the Needles.

Colin was up at 7 to check the weather. I followed him to the computer and saw that there was a lot of rain on the radar in the area. We decided to sleep another hour and check back. We slept until 10. I got up and went to the computer to check the weather, and to my surprise, it seemed that all the rain had passed the Tower and judging from the radar map, no more rain was on its way. I inform Colin, and we try to pick out a route on Mountain Project. Mindful of the seasonal falcon closures, we picked El Matador, a 5.10d that Colin had his eye on for a while. I agreed that we give it a try, and so we packed up and were out of Rapid City by 11.

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Sufferfest
on Colony Baldy: And This is Easter? Sufferfest on Colony Baldy: And This is Easter?  by shknbke

I slept in the 4Runner for the first time and was a bit concerned when the wind stirred up quite a bit during the night. Foreboding of things to come? Nah, the forecast was for 2-4" with moderate winds. We'll be fine! The wind let up during the night and we woke up to fairly mild temps and no wind, temps probably in the low 30's. We set out at 6:05am and headed up the Horn Creek trail a little over half mile to the signed Rainbow Trail. Here we headed south as the trail zigged and zagged, contouring across many drainages. There was enough snow initially to go sans snowshoes, but as we climbed higher, postholing commenced.

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Mojanda Epic Mojanda Epic  by JGHarrison

I needed money.

Ecuador had captured my imagination. A land of volcanoes, cloud forests, and the headwaters of the biggest river in the world, what's not to like. Blame it on some climbing magazine, but I HAD to get south of the Equator and climb these behemoths. I would be able to practice high-altitude suffering, learn about glacier travel, experience a new culture, and do some volunteering.

First, I needed money.

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Not Bad for
a Fat Man Not Bad for a Fat Man  by AJones

Being out of the climbing game for almost a year due to an injury has provided me with some new motivation to climb even harder in 2009 – you might say I’m making up for lost time. I’ve got a trip planned to Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado (cancelled last year) with my climbing partner Greg, with the goal to climb (at least) the South Face of the Petit Grepon (5.8), Syke’s Sickle on Spearhead (5.9), and the Casual Route (5.10) on the Diamond (Longs Peak). Later on in the summer, if we get a 2-3 day window of stable weather, I’ve also made plans to climb “All Along the Watchtower” (5.12), a 32-35 pitch route on the west face of North Howser Tower with Mirek, another long-time climbing partner. All this planning has made me realize I better get my fat ass in shape – and the sooner the better.

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Kings Peak
- On Snowshoes - In One Day Kings Peak - On Snowshoes - In One Day  by Moogie737

In writing this narrative I wish to inform more than entertain. Should I become deficient in either effort the reader may bring his or her perusal to an abrupt and final conclusion without the slightest thought of regret. In that same vein, skipping paragraphs or sections is wholly and utterly endorsed; I would do the same in the construction of this short piece were it within the realm of possibility. For obvious reasons, it is not.

In late March of 2008 I joined the Swanson brothers’ annual Kings Peak ski trip (aka The Uinta Beat-Yourself-to-a-Pulp Slog). I was curious and forgot the time-honored aphorism about how curiosity can be fatal to cats and other living beings. Having practiced on touring skis only once, I managed to boldly stride in, boot it to the Kings Peak summit and stagger out shortly before the hour of midnight. The humiliation of the ski out was so indelibly burned into my aching frame and muddled mind that I vowed then and there to never attempt such foolishness again. (See the excellent trip report titled "Kings Peak - One day to ski, 14 months to agonize over.")

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Determination in the Tetons Determination in the Tetons  by Judd97

This past summer, I received a job as a wildlife biologist for the Jackson office of the U.S. Forest Service serving Bridger-Teton National Forest in Jackson, WY. Being from western Pennsylvania, this was a great gig for me; allowing me to get out into some nice mountains and to see some neat sights. I was excited to have the opportunity to climb a few nice peaks, but being a rookie and easterner, my climbing is usually limited to class 4 or some easy class 5 at most. Wanting to respect this but still get to a nice lofty alpine peak, I started targeting the southwest couloir route to the summit of the Middle Teton. Throughout the summer I climbed a number of incredible peaks, including a few in the Gros Ventres, but the main goal was always the Middle Teton.

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Cho Oyu Summit Day Cho Oyu Summit Day  by snowflake

October 2, 2006: Tibetan Himalaya

I sit up, still wrapped in my down mummy bag, just after midnight. Note that I didn't say "I wake up", for at 24,500 feet in the Himalaya, well below freezing and with an an oxygen density just 40 percent that of sea level, sleep is nearly impossible.

I don my headlamp and finish last-minute details. Most everything I need for today has already been packed in my backpack, and I am already wearing my one-piece down suit, so now I remove my water bottles from my sleeping bag (kept there to prevent their freezing during the night) and put them in the large chest pockets of the down suit. Next I put on my triple insulated mountaineering boots which also had been sharing space in my sleeping bag to keep warm. I work quickly as I am not yet wearing gloves - for reasons of dexterity - and my fingers are starting to go numb.

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Ferdinandea - Climbing
Madness Pure Ferdinandea - Climbing Madness Pure  by Wolfgang Schaub

On that 1st April three years ago I thought about what I would do again next summer. No doubt it would have to do with my passion – climbing the highest points, of each European country, one by one. There was a country, 25 miles off the coast of Sicily, that suddenly emerged from the waters of the Mediterranean Sea in July 1831, spitting, bubbling and spewing out fire up to 63 meters above sea-level, before in the following 6 months it was cleared away again, levelled and finally swallowed by the swell: Ferdinandea.

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The Big
Prize: King's Peak in March The Big Prize: King's Peak in March  by Matthew Van Horn

A few years ago I would have thought skiing in to Henry's Fork basin and summiting King's Peak (13,528 ft.) on the last Saturday of March was something other people did, but not me.

I did do it. Here's the story:

I said goodbye to my wife and my boys Friday morning and went to work. At 3PM I left work and made a stop at REI to rent skis. Then I made one more stop at friend Joe's house to pick up ski climbing skins. I was on the road toward Evanston by 4:15 and I arrived at the trailhead in 2.5 hours. It's not really a trailhead. Henry's Fork campground is 3 miles from the winter car camp but because the road is not plowed, there is an extra 6 miles roundtrip added to the journey.

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