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Looking For
The Head Of The Dragon And Slaying The Bear Looking For The Head Of The Dragon And Slaying The Bear  by FlatheadNative

2010 has been an unusual weather year in Montana.

With unusually heavy and late spring/early summer snowfall in the high country and unseasonably cool temperatures in June, July and August climbing in Glacier National Park has been interesting to say the least. Thunderstorms and low clouds have left us unable to climb for many days. There are occassional "nice' days scattered here and there but far to few to accurately predict that the next day to climb will be without threatening thunderstorm and low clouds.

On an August day four of us set of to climb Dragon’s Tail. It was a unanimous choice for all. All but one of us had climbed it before but two of the three climbers were unable to see the summit views due to low clouds and wind. With undaunted courage we set off for the day.

Today would be unlike any other so far this year … the climb and the weather.

Alps 2009:
Sunny Saas summits and single return to Mont Blanc Alps 2009: Sunny Saas summits and single return to Mont Blanc  by markhallam

Not having climbed at very high altitude since the 1980’s I recognised that I needed to put in a bit more training than just nipping down the gym a few times. So this was my excuse to take off to the Alps for 2 weeks on my own last September. This would be my last opportunity to check myself out with altitude, albeit modest alpine altitude. It was also to be a chance to practice a bit of solo climbing and getting into the swing of living in tents again, neither of which I had practiced for a good few years.

This is what I got up to…

I started out by earning myself a telling off from an official who caught me putting away my bivvy gear up by the reservoir in the Saas Fee valley, Switzerland. Fresh out from England I saw an opportunity to start the acclimatisation process off immediately, with a night out at 2200m. So, in the darkness, I had driven my little hire car up there and laid out my new gortex bivvy bag. But it was verboten, I should have been in the camp site 600m below, at Saas Grund – and I was caught at seven in the morning by an exceptionally keen representative of local Swiss officialdom. It made me feel like a young man again. Struggling to produce a contrite expression, I evaded a fine – but inside I was singing - for the weather was perfect!

One Windy
Monday One Windy Monday  by vanman798

I must admit that I knew next to nothing about Oregon’s Mt. Hood. I must have seen it when traveling down I-84 years ago but its image was not in my mind, I did not know anyone who had climbed it, and I’m not even sure I knew that it was the highest point in Oregon! Yet I wanted to climb it, and since we were going to be in the general area I put the idea out there to my friend Josh, and he took the bait.

We would be climbing Mt. Hood as a two man team, and as we learned about the mountain we found out that it is glaciated and the site of related crevasse rescues, accidents, and even deaths. Mountaineering mostly in the Utah Mountains where glaciers do not exist and crevasses are not typically a concern, neither of us had any practical experience with negotiating glaciers and as such we had some learning to do. Our initial training came through a Utah County based climbing club which we are both members of. Through the club we received an introduction to rope travel, tying and using prussic knots, and setting up snow anchors. Understanding that on Mt Hood we would have only our combined knowledge to keep us safe, and to perform rescues should the need arise, we both spent time reading up on glacier travel and rescue techniques. We even got together and set up 3:1 and 6:1 pulley systems in my backyard. We also figured out how to use an ATC as part of a ratchet system to pull a partner out of a crevasse. A couple of weeks prior to our scheduled trip, we set out on a practice run up local Mount Timpanogos where on the snow covered slopes adjacent to Emerald Lake we practiced arresting falls while roped together, setting up anchors, and rescuing each other out of imaginary crevasses. Armed with our newly acquired knowledge and practice we felt we were ready for Oregon’s tallest mountain.

East Ridge (SE Face) - In
the Rain East Ridge (SE Face) - In the Rain  by Klenke

As we walked the old road up Goodell Creek I could not help but wonder how long this road had been around and how long it had been in disuse. It seemed kind of improbable to me that a road would have gone up this valley at all, but it only made it four miles to Terror Creek. The Goodell Creek valley extends northward into some of the meanest Cascades around and for a lot farther than where tributary Terror Creek comes in. I asked John Roper what he remembers about the road from his Newhalem childhood and he said it existed when he was a kid and was probably built in the 1930s. In the winters he used to sled down its initial incline out of town. And he also would fish (generally unsuccessfully) in Goodell Creek up the road a ways at fishing spots they called “Little Hole” and “Big Hole.” In the 1960s you could drive to “Straight Shot Creek” about two miles up the valley. After that the road was overgrown back then (already in the span of 20 years). But today this road facilitates easy access to the footings of the Southern Pickets because, although it starts out brush-encroached, it has a good trail along it. Without the road, it would be a horrid nightmare trying to hike the denseness of it. I suppose a trail might have been built instead. Or a route up and over Mt. Ross and “The Roost” might have been the standardized approach.

At Terror Creek we crossed on a high log a few yards downstream of this one, which is still there but now water runs over the top of it (I think rubble has dammed the under side of it). The log we crossed on was about two feet in diameter and very slightly inclined to the north bank. It was perfectly shimmy-able. But did I mention it was high? Yes, it was a good 12 feet off the deck with the rushing torrent below flowing wildly around big head-splitting boulders. We shimmied, we crossed. End of story. Apparently, this threesome that arrived at Terror Creek at the same time as us chose to do the 10-minute ’shwack upstream to the Pullen-Brisbine log from the weekend before.

"This area makes me nervous"  by Dean

Time is flying my friends, really flying. While looking through my pictures the other night, I came across the album of pics that brought back vivid memories of one of the highlight hikes of 2003. While not much has changed on Mt. Adams, a lot has changed for me. Of course I am now 7 years older (and hopefully wiser) but I have since retired from a dental practice in Kennewick Washington and moved across several states to the state of Utah where I am now involved in the education of dental hygiene students, a wonderful way to share my knowledge and experience with up and coming professionals. I am also living in a state that is loaded with mountains and things to do. As I approach my 70th year, I still feel young and vibrant and much of this I owe to my friends who I have developed over the past 7 years. Lucky is the man who has friends like Bob, Dennis, Rick, Bill, Kadee, Greg, Mike, Eric and the list could go on and on. No need to put last names here, you know who you are. Many many thanks. I dedicate this trip report to the guy who started it all, Bob Bolton. To you Bob, I offer my finest salute and thanks. And of course, a special thanks and salute to my wife, without whose understanding and support of my mountain passion, none of this could have happened.

One more note: This hike was toward the end of my first major season of hiking and climbing and had many many special events and climbs but this one is worth highlighting because the pictures do it so well for me.

Gun Shots
Fired, But Still A Success On Mt Larrabee & Winchester Mountain Gun Shots Fired, But Still A Success On Mt Larrabee & Winchester Mountain  by beaudaddy85

Our plan was to meet Saturday evening at the Yellow Aster Butte Trailhead. This is found just off of the Mt Baker Highway 542. Even though Gimpilator’s Suzuki Bandit has 1,200cc of muscle, it wouldn’t be a good match for the rugged road that climbs up to Twin Lakes at (5,200’). So I planned to taxi him up the last couple miles. We planned to bivy at the lakes for the night and hit the trail early Sunday morning for the southwest gully ascent to Mt Larrabee. A possible Winchester Mountain (6,521’) summit was thrown into the plans for an added bonus.

Rugged, Red Larrabee has been on Gimpilator’s list of summits to climb for some time now. His passion for this summit has been alive far beyond our time knowing each other. I could hear the stoke in his voice just talking about this state border massive.

The Holly
Sawtooth The Holly Sawtooth  by Holk

Papa Smashy (aka my Subaru) has just swerved sideways off the road and into a ditch, taking out a vertical road reflector, but I’m only half startled for a second or two before losing consciousness again. This occurrence took place one year ago, after my friend Isaiah and I climbed Thielsen - I guess pushing the limits on a thirty-six hour day was our way of having a post climb celebration. The plan was to camp at the Thielsen trail and head out early, but to our surprise the full days work and five hour drive south hadn’t hindered our enthusiasm to begin climbing, so without delay off we went into a moonless night where the stars never seemed so bright! Pre dawn light began to emerge behind the Sawtooth range at four o-clock, silhouetting Howlock and Thielsen. Isaiah and I arrived below the summit pinnacle at five forty five, just in time to see the sun rise over the horizon. This trip revealed to me the Sawtooth ridge (Howlock) to the north and Hollys ridge leading off to the east. I knew I’d be back sooner or later to check these areas out, namely Thielsen East Peak.

Time’s the Charm: Persistence Pays Off on Thunderbolt Peak 6th Time’s the Charm: Persistence Pays Off on Thunderbolt Peak  by PellucidWombat

I stemmed hard against the chimney to take the weight off my hands. Trying my hardest to fight the pain, I shoved my hands into the warmth of my jacket as another wave of spindrift blew up the Palisade Glacier and into my face. Soon the snow crystals passed and the pain in my hands had subsided enough for me to continue working at setting and clipping into my latest piece of pro. This was my first pitch of technical climbing in snowy conditions and it was more than I had bargained for. The awkwardness of boots and a pack weren’t so bad, but I was beginning to discover how poorly suited my hands are to climbing in the cold, even with gloves on.

Ultimately our group persevered that day, but unfortunately for me, we did not summit Thunderbolt Peak, my main objective for the weekend. I had come to the Palisades with Joel Wilson and some other friends, and we had managed to make the approach to Thunderbolt Pass and set up our camp early enough that we decided to go for a summit that day. I was tempted to do Thunderbolt then, but as the others were more interested in North Palisade, I had relented and we pressed on to do that peak first. Thunderbolt would wait until tomorrow, and with the short approach, we even entertained the idea of linking it with Starlight and then descending back to the valley.

Russian Impressions -
Elbrus Russian Impressions - Elbrus  by Liba Kopeckova

Russia is and always was an amazing country - sad and rich, unfair and strong, so different from the rest of the Europe. I had some mixed feelings about this trip, first I was in the process of changing jobs, moving to a different state in USA, selling a house etc. I kept changing my plans, and at the end I made no real plans, I just went...

I was surprised how much hassle it was to obtain the visa. I did contact Pilgrim Tours for some basic information, and visa invitation (you cannot request visa unless you have the invitation, and it could not be done by an individual, but a registered organization). I was contemplating between the light package, which Pilgrim tours offers, or taking the whole tour with them, or hiring a russian guide. Then due to my above mentioned circumstances, I was not thinking about this trip at all... I moved my 3 bedroom house into a storage unit in Colorado, filled hundreds of pages of paperwork necessary for me to practice medicine in Colorado, and flew to the Czech Republic to declimatize in the altitude of 150 meters. I did not even purchase the airline tickets to Moscow, and from Moscow to Mineralne Vody until 2 weeks prior this adventure. I have to thank my brother Pavel, who took care of this, as well as for the accommodation in Moscow.

Almost Ultimate Utah Ridge
Run Almost Ultimate Utah Ridge Run  by ZeeJay

It was on my mind for over two years. Start at Henrys Fork Trailhead on the north slope of the Uinta Mountains, hike to Kings Peak, Utah's high point, hike the whole ridge from Kings to Emmons, hit South Emmons and then Owl, and exit some place on the south slope of the Uintas. The hike would be in the 30 mile range with over 8000' of elevation gain, 5000' of which would be above 12500'. I would climb eight 13000 footers and one 12000 footer. I was planning to do it in a day.

I for sure had my doubts. In the climbers log for the Kings-Emmons Ridge, there were 4 entries, only one of which reported successfully climbing all the peaks in the ridge (although it is not clear if S Emmons was included). Grizz and Fred had spent 19 epic hours climbing the ridge in a loop trip from a base camp in Painters Basin. I was hoping for 20 hours car to car. I figured 6 hours to get to the top of Kings, 7 to get to Emmons, and then another 7 to get out. I wouldn't have the overhead a base camp would entail. Also, they did it on snowshoes and encountered "horrible collapsing snow". I am well acquainted with the horrible collapsing snow conditions of spring time in the Uintas where you posthole to your knees while wearing snowshoes and was content to wait for the snow to be gone, hopefully by mid July when there would still be a fair amount of daylight. Still, the 19 hours these men took to go what I mapped out to be less than 15 miles certainly gave me pause. I had hiked with both of them and both were extremely fit.

I thought of the hike as having three distinct sections, Henrys Fork TH to Kings, Kings to Emmons, and Emmons out. The first section is very easy (relatively speaking of course) and I was quite familiar with it, having climbed Kings 8 times previously. The middle section was an unknown, and the last section was a big problem.

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