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Not the Wright Mountain: An
Avalanche Tale Not the Wright Mountain: An Avalanche Tale  by EastKing

Rarely do I ever write about trips where there wasn't a succesful summit involved. However this trip up Wright Mountain was an eye opener and well worth writing about. Thought the trip lasted maybe six hours, there was quiet a strong potential for this trip ending much more differently than it did. We all learned plenty of lessons on this trip and the trip made all of us stronger. The the largest lesson from this trip report is to always be aware of everything around you and don't always trust the avalanche forecast.

Winter always has its surprises and today was a classic example of an avalanche surprise. Avalanche conditions were supposed to be low today but that didn’t quite turn out to be the case with the mountain that we picked. Wright Mountain was not the right mountain and luckily we found that out before something serious happened. I think all us of feel very glad that the outcome was so positive.

Gimpilator, Josh, Gabe, FZTE, and I decided to take a shot at Wright Mountain, which in summer is a fairly easy 12 mile 3000 foot elevation gain mountain right from the Alpental Ski Area. In summer this mountain can be done in four to five hours. There is a great boot path that goes right around Snow Lake and head right up to Gem Lake. From there it is just a minor scramble to the summit of Wright Mountain. As you will see here Wright Mountain takes on a different character in winter.

Stone Mountain Preschool Stone Mountain Preschool  by rpc

So there we were with some left over vacation days that needed a burning. We both felt as though we’ve had our fill of lonely Christmases somewhere in the deserts of the southwest sitting around some random Chinese buffet on Christmas Eve…and most especially those lonely Christmas trips where shitty weather had prohibited much (sometimes all) actual climbing. We checked the guidebooks and the forecasts, packed the presents, grabbed a rack and headed for my parents’ place in western New Jersey . A great family fun-filled Christmas followed with its usual heavy doses of overeating and oversleeping interrupted by much sofa surfing. Shirley kept herself in shape with the usual running regimen while I worked my liver extra hard. Though we all managed to get in a nice family hike a short distance up the Appalachian Trail , that apparently was not enough to keep me from growing an extra ass. The post Christmas week forecast to the north was calling for shitty weather while the forecasts to the south looked a little less shitty.

The Frigid
Ice Climbing Experience The Frigid Ice Climbing Experience  by noahs213

With that, me and my partner, Jeff, were excited to go to the Lincoln Icefall. We planned to winter camp so we could get two days of ice climbing in. The plans were set for December 26-27, 2009. I had a plan for which climbs we would do but as you may know, climbing usually never goes according to plan. I was very excited to get on the ice though.

An Adventure in the Desert An Adventure in the Desert  by McCannster

Granite Peak is a prominent mountain in Northwest Nevada that I had had my eye on for a number of years. 9 years to be exact. I first saw the peak when I was 10 years old, when we were driving to Burning Man for my first burn. I'm not sure why, but it was one of those peaks that never left my mind after I saw it; I had to climb it. And finally, during a car camping trip in late Spring of 2009, we did.

It was day two of our trip, and Rad, Al, Ben, and myself had just woken up on the shores of Pyramid Lake, some 50 miles south of the peak. Al and Rad were content on hanging out at the lake while Ben and I went on our hike, so after a quick breakfast, Ben and I set out. Our trip was briefly delayed while we tried to drive the Volvo out of the sandy beach. The car was no match for the thick sand. Luckily, a guy with a huge F-350 was parked a little ways down the beach, and he was able to pull us out of the sand. Within minutes Ben and I were on the road heading south to Nixon, where we would turn north onto Highway 447 towards the Granite Range.

But, but, but … there’s
a parking lot nearby But, but, but … there’s a parking lot nearby  by Gangolf Haub

In the mountains, don’t go near crowded places! - Judith and I usually heed that warning as we enjoy to be on our own to take all the time I need or want. Clueless tourist crowds get on our nerves and serve as a perfect repellent. We don’t really avoid the places they flock to but nothing attracts us there. You won’t find us in Zermatt or Chamonix though undoubtedly there is a host of reasons why we should go there. On the other hand we don’t exactly avoid crowded places and on a regular basis we find ourselves joining the throng. Sometimes we even return for a second time like to the summit of Teide on Tenerife even though the crowds up there are among the worst you can find anywhere on this planet. Flip-floppers on the highest mountain of Spain – you get the idea…

There’s one other place – the plateau of Drei Zinnen / Tre Cime – to which we keep returning. Like the Cañadas del Teide the heart of the Sexten / Sesto Dolomites is incredibly beautiful and impressive – though on a quite different level. Also it draws huge crowds, which - though not quite as ugly as on Teide - are not far behind. This is the story of my last visit to the place but it requires a bit of preparation.

Cochise Redemption Cochise Redemption  by rpc

Having found a good airfare deal from Portland to Phoenix, Shirley & I fly in Friday night after work. A quick two-hour drive puts us in Benson, Arizona & an even quicker night of sleep is followed by an early rise. Morning hike up to the Rockfellows Group and once again we are at the base of the classic Endgame…Shirley with her fond memories of leading the beautiful first pitch and I with my less fond memories of popping a shoulder. It is cold and the sky is cloudy. It’s best not to linger too long in such circumstances or there’s a chance that the desire for a hot breakfast in town might win out. Shirley starts up the familiar first pitch. Crimps to first bolt. Slab moves to third bolt.

My First
Snowdonian Winter My First Snowdonian Winter  by Big Benn

Snowdonia is an area of mountains in North West Wales, UK. A large part of the area, (838 square miles), has been designated as a National Park: no surprise there, it is an area of outstanding natural beauty. In places, by UK standards, quite desolate as well. The mountains in Snowdonia are not high by any standards. The highest, Snowdon, is just 3560 feet.

But the National Park has sea to it’s North, West, and to smaller extent, part of the South. Mainly surrounded by the Irish sea, from which dramatically fast changes in weather can originate. So, whilst Snowdon and many other mountains in the area may be no higher than the foothills of many well known mountains ranges elsewhere in Europe and wider afield, they can be subject to quite severe weather.

Defying My
Illness-A November Wake Up To The Mountains Defying My Illness-A November Wake Up To The Mountains  by BearQueen

What I find especially engaging, charming and inspirational about Poo Poo Point is that if you are a beginning hiker, or you are just interested in getting back in shape again for any reason, or you are overweight and have 100 pounds to lose (like me) ...then Poo Poo Point is great and that is because you can meet the amazing Paragliders who walk to the top, one, two, (and some of them...I know because I asked) ...three times a day just so they can jump off and be like eagles off of the beautiful view and summit. By the way, though most hikers do not seem to flinch at the name (I guess after 200 mountains hiked, the names of mountains do not phase a person), I for one wanted to know the origin of the name of Poo Poo Point. The best I found was from the link at the end of the article that says that hikers thought it sounded like "Poo Poo". However, I must contest this in a friendly way. I mean, wouldn't it sound like "Choo Choo?" Maybe the train was congested? Or perhaps someone's dog was going to the bathroom at that time when the train sound went off? Anyway, it is certainly a topic for continued discussion.

10 Days in Mexico 10 Days in Mexico  by gimpilator

Pico de Orizaba has been weighing on my mind for several years now. Originally, I had planned for a 2008 attempt, but my climbing buddies weren't able to come along so I postponed. In 2009, my friend Robbin, whom I met purely by chance when hiking in the Olympic mountains, told me she and her friend Mike where planning a trip to Mexico. An invitation to join them followed and soon I was committed to an attempt of the Mexican Volcanoes. Our plan was to start with the highest peak (Pico de Orizaba originally named Citlaltepetl which means Star Mountain) and work our way down, tagging as many summits as possible in 10 days. The second objective would be Iztaccihuatl which means "sleeping woman". The profile of that mountain is said to look like a woman laying down. Although our plans were flexible, one thing was certain, no matter how many days it would take us, Mexico's highest was our number one objective.

Kopfkraxen "Via Romantica"  by mvs

As luck would have it, a week of unusually warm and sunny weather held winter at bay for a spell. Uli invited me to climb on Saturday, and we decided to visit the south facing wall of the Kopfkraxen in the Wilder Kaiser. A very popular route called "Via Romantica" (VI+) climbs straight up to the summit in 15 pitches. Uli had seen web cams which promised very little snowcover. So, wearing our regular summertime gear of tennis shoes, double 50 meter ropes, a small rack (the route is mostly bolted), and just clothing and gloves a little warmer than usual, we found ourselves hiking up from the Jagerwirt at 7 am.

Talking about work and other things, we reached a beautiful waterfall at the base of a cliff and reorganized to leave one pack here. Above, we stomped out steps in the snow to reach the base of the route which is quite obvious.

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