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San Bernardino Mountains 9
Peak Loop San Bernardino Mountains 9 Peak Loop  by Travis_

On a clear, cool Sunday morning Tom, Paul and myself met at my house in LA at 4:00 am to carpool to San Gorgonio for a modified version of the San Gorgonio “grand Tour” 9 peaks loop. Our plans were to drop Mount San Gorgonio (been there, done that) and add Dobbs Peak, then take the more direct route down via Dobbs West (southwest) ridge.

We left my house only slightly behind schedule, made a pit stop on the way, and were at the Moymer Trailhead in Forest Falls at 5:45 am. The trailhead is easy enough to find if you have done your homework. It is a large dirt parking lot with signage just before the fire station. Some maps show the “old” trailhead further west, but this trailhead is no longer used. We donned our warm clothes and headlamps and started off across the creek. Once you cross the creek the trail is well maintained and easy to follow. It starts off gradual as it contours over to meet up with the ridge, then it starts to get steep. Our goal was to maintain an overall speed of 2 mph, which we were able to maintain throughout the day.

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Eagle Slide on Giant
Mountain Eagle Slide on Giant Mountain  by MudRat

Every hike has a unique feel, meaning and/or set of circumstances. This day was no different. I began at the Roaring Brook trailhead and immediately dedicated this hike to my wife and stepson, Deb and Graham. The bushwhack began with a portion that we did as a family several months ago: climbing up the embankment to the north of the falls. I can’t say that it saved time, but it was reminiscent and a fun way to start. I was also hired by St. Lawrence University to photograph Peak Weekend on its 25th Anniversary. I spoke with a student the night prior and his group anticipated touching the summit at around noon. I gave myself four hours time, hopefully enough to beat them. The final unique meaning to the day was internal. I usually hike slides with WWBF for safety and companionship and Eagle Slide was supposed to be one of the more exposed and difficult slides in comparison to others that I’ve hiked. This was a solo attempt…no one around to give me a hand or foot in the right location to save a slip. I was both excited and slightly apprehensive at the same time at what the eagle might look like from the base. Many slides look nearly vertical from below or from a head on view, but the perspective changes once upon it. I hoped this would feel similar because I was determined to turn back.

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Alta Via Resiana / Visoka
Rosojanska Pot Alta Via Resiana / Visoka Rosojanska Pot  by morceaux

It was back in 1999 when I first encountered high mountains. I was sitting in a car with 4 of my caver friends, and we were heading towards Predel / Predil pass from Italy. After we passed the border, I first spotted the giants of the Western Julian Alps like Mangart and Jalovec. I was enchanted. First I couldn't take even a breath! How beautiful these peaks are! And I am going to descend deep under them... What a pity. I began to click my cheap pocket camera through the car window like an insane. Didn't care about traffic signs and trees and poles would be on the pictures, just wanted to take home all the scenery. We arrived at the last minute before the start of the last cable car in Sella Nevea. Hauled the huge sacks from the car to the station, and began the ascent. An immense panorama to the north, to Vis and Montaz group opened before my eyes through the scratched window of the cabin. I could not close my mouth... Then we occupied the attic of Rifugio Gilberti, and I went outside and looked around. All the eastern part of the Kanin / Canin ridge was above me, from Prestreljenik / Monte Forato to Srednji Vrsic, and Bila Pec. It was February, the cold was harsh and the snow was screaming under my boots. The second day we went through Sella Bila Pec in deep snow with heavy rucksacks, and we were hauling extra bags. It took several hours to get to Davanzo-Vianello-Piccola bivouac on Col delle Erbe. At this time the old bivouac was still open, and the new one was under construction. From this point I beheld the huge north face of Monte Canin / Visoki Kanin, and I knew my fate... I must come back and go to the top someday... And then we descended deep below the surface into Michele Gortani System and spent a week underground, and I have been dreaming about those beautiful mountains.

That is the short story of how my love to mountains had begun.

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Via Cassin,
Piz Badile Via Cassin, Piz Badile  by Koen

Last winter I spent four days skitouring around Bivio, in the Swiss kanton of Graubunden. We did some nice tours around the Julierpass, close to St.-Moritz. One of the tours took us to Piz Turba (3.018m), a rewarding goal for skitourers.

When we got to the summit, one of my more experienced companions pointed out a mountain towards the south. Its name sounded magical to me, almost mythical. You see, my career as a real climber has been much shorter than my reading-it-in-a-book-comfortably-on-the-couch climbing career. The wind howling around us made the myth all the stronger … The myth my friend pointed toward was Piz Badile.

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A Trip
Through the Eons A Trip Through the Eons  by thephotohiker

Carved below the eastern rim of the Paunsaugunt Plateau, Bryce Canyon is a geologic wonderland. Standing as what may be Earth’s most famous example of pinnacled badlands, eons of erosion and weather have carved a natural amphitheater filled with pinnacles, spires, columns, arches, and bridges.

Humans, maybe alone on this planet in having the propensity for being awestruck and inspired by such natural wonders, have applied fanciful names to these features and refer to many formations as temples or castles. In our arrogance we’ve seemingly attempted to take credit, as if it is humanity that is somehow responsible for the existence of this masterpiece of nature.

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Counting Sheep on the Whites
Traverse Counting Sheep on the Whites Traverse  by Greg Enright

I suppose it starts the same for everyone, a look over from a summit in the Sierra to the White Mountains sparks an urge to explore the tall, barren desert range. Then, forays to the Bristlecone Pine groves and White Mountain Peak lead to an intense curiousity about the ridge beyond the peak, the long rolling ridgeline between White and Montgomery, where Desert Bighorn run among the rocks and the wild horses forage in the flats. And so it started with me. Almost thirty years ago, a planned backpack traverse of the Whites fell victim to circumstance and lack of will. Subsequent opportunities would have taken too much time away from family, so all invitations were declined. The idea of the Traverse faded with time, but the ridgeline was never forgotten, you can't help but see the distinctive silhouette of the Whites everyday from Mammoth, thirty miles away.

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Under dying mountains Under dying mountains  by reinhard2

Actually this TR is sort of anti-TR, since neither successes nor spectacular escapes or failures are to be reported. It simply shares the insights of a weekend, which bore out fewer expectancies than it had promised before. Part of that is due to the unexpected experience of mountains visibly falling asunder - dying mountains. What struck me here so unexpectedly is surely no particular property of the particular area of southern Stubai group in the Alps, where this weekend derolled, but can of course also be found elsewhere. Here lies the rationale to share this TR as a general TR, not just as an account in the German corner of SP, where most of the people who know this area belong to. Finally, it also touches the general point that difficulties and wearisome situations are mastered (or not) by the strength of the mind, not primarily by the fitness of the body.

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San Gorgonio 17 Peaks San Gorgonio 17 Peaks  by Rick Kent

Of all the Sierra Club HPS (Hundred Peaks Section) reports I've read there is one that stands out and I've never forgotten about it since the first time I read it. In 1996 Eric Siering did a solo dayhike of the Gorgonio range which included an astounding 17 peaks. This was truly a remarkable accomplishment and from time to time I've pondered whether I might be able to do at least a part of it. The trouble however was the necessary car shuttle. Eric's route (starting at Fish Creek and descending to Angeles Oaks) was the most logical and efficient. Not that there's anything wrong with a car shuttle but I have a history of finding other ways (which typically involves a greater degree of torture):

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Accursed
Mountains 2006, Part 1. <b>Cappo di Thethi.</b> Accursed Mountains 2006, Part 1. Cappo di Thethi.  by kamil

Croatia, the old road Zagreb - Varaždin, parallel to the motorway, somewhere before Novi Marof. Sharp right turn, badly profiled, tightening. Fourth gear, gas blip, third, fuck it, still getting tighter, I didn’t predict that, now I know I’m gonna fly out of my lane. A big lorry slowly crawls up the opposite lane. I lose traction, tyres screeching, I’m going head on into the lorry. A glimpse of a wide, bumpy, gravelled shoulder on the outside. Coincidence, or maybe the road designers predicted it. Alright, let’s get the fuck out of here. Regaining traction, getting the wheels straight, still braking, I cut past the front of the lorry, five, maybe ten metres from it, into the roadside, my mind registering everything in slow motion. Shaking on the bumps, losing speed. Immediately I get back on the road and drive on. Only after a while I realise what happened and my heart jumps into my throat. Gratefulness. Someone’s keeping an eye. Karabaja again? Perhaps a higher instance this time.

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Tranquillity and Solitude Tranquillity and Solitude  by Gangolf Haub

Tomorrow was a Saturday – we started out by car around seven, having stored the guidebooks somewhere in the backpack, crossed the Slovenian – Italian border – not without fumbling one of the passports (our usual feat to entertain the customs officers) – and headed for Tarvisio, Lago di Predil and Sella Nevea. There was more traffic than the time before but at first we didn’t care. We passed the trailhead for the normal route to Jôf Fuart and wondered about the many cars parked there, most of them with Austrian license plates. We were held up by more Austrian cars on the road but I quickly overtook them rushing up to the ski town of Sella Nevea.

It looked tranquil there – nobody was around and we relaxed again. On to the mountain road towards the Case di Pecol, a narrow and winding asphalt road which took us to the parking lot on the Altopiano di Montasio. Still nobody on the road…

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