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& Leprechaun Canyons: Intro to Technical Canyoneering Maidenwater & Leprechaun Canyons: Intro to Technical Canyoneering  by shknbke

Sarah put together an "Intro to Technical Canyoneering" trip to some awesome slot canyons in Utah amidst the Navajo sandstone playground that is known as North Wash. The Maidenwater canyon system is closer to Lake Powell. Slot Canyons are not a common geologic feature and the largest concentration of them in the world can be found in Utah due to the arid climate in the desert and the flash floods that occur cutting huge gouges in the earth. I made my "virgin" canyoneering trip here just three weeks prior and was itching to improve my skills in this playground of rock!

Beginner canyoneering is a bit more laid back than mountaineering as you get to enjoy later starts and the cardio fitness needed is not quite as taxing as there is a lot of waiting around going on. You also sometimes get to descend to the start by doing car shuttles to make the hikes shorter. It was nice to be "lazy" after a hard winter of winter 14ers and low peak marathons, although a few of these canyons were very physically demanding due to the exertion needed to squeeze your way through them!

This would be the first technical canyoneering outing for Kirk and Teresa, so Sarah picked some easy canyons to start with. For the first day, we did the two easier left and right branches of Leprechaun along with both branches of Shillelagh. I won't write a report on those, but you can see the pics for those in the slideshow.

13 Year Old climbs 6460 and
other Dilemmas 13 Year Old climbs 6460 and other Dilemmas  by Stu Brandel

It was interesting that as I returned from my recent vacation that I read the many SummitPost forum entries about the ethical and moral dilemmas raised by the ’13 Year-old on Everest’ topic.

For the third year in a row my son Evan (now also13) and I used Spring Break to enjoy hiking and scrambling across Southern Utah. This year we would continually have our plans altered by the record snow pack still lingering in the upper elevations of Zion in late-March 2010. What follows is a series of miscalculations due to my almost continuous underestimation of the effects of the record snowpack on the Zion backcountry. And it is also a look into my own decision making about what was and wasn’t appropriate for my 13 year old son, and myself.

Getting to Know Green
Mountain Getting to Know Green Mountain  by Brian C

I got the idea to start spending afternoons scrambling in the Flatirons several years ago as I transitioned between my summer climbing schedule and school. Not being a high-caliber technical climber, I relished in the Flatiron's moderate slabs where I could practice scrambling and multi-pitch climbing long after the high country was snowed in. I could drive down after school and explore the slabs to my heart's content.

My first Flatiron hike was a stroll up to Royal Arch with my sister. I was overwhelmed at the sheer quantity of slabs that merely bordered the main trail. Royal Arch was dusty, hot, crowded and beautiful. Having a trail system like this so close to a large city is amazing. I was sold and knew I had to get to know the area better.

I still haven't found... I still haven't found...  by SoCalHiker

I love Joshua Trees. I love Joshua Tree National Park. I love desert hiking in general. I can’t really explain why. It may be the openness, the lack of distractions. I feel more immersed in nature here than anywhere else… my mind is completely free. Every living thing here is struggling to survive. But most of them do with very little; with no luxury. Maybe that feeling draws me in, draws me there. The timeless forces of nature are in full display here. Wind and weather are in command. Over time, every remains of human interference with the surroundings will vanish; will become part of the earth again. I like that feeling. We as humans are miniscule, only visitors for a short time here.

Brian² 2009 – The
Wallowas Brian² 2009 – The Wallowas  by Brian Jenkins

This year’s installment of my annual hike with Flanders (real first name unoriginally the same as mine) brought us to the Wallowas in northeast Oregon. Since I first went to the Wallowas in 2003, I knew this was an area he would like to come to but for some reason, we always opted for the North Cascades on the years he came out here. But, it finally worked out and I had planned it for months as to which areas we would hit, studying maps and trip reports on SP. Of course, my plan only lasted for about an hour before it all completely changed but that is the fun of these trips.

Anyway, Brian/Flanders arrived in Portland on a Thursday night at like midnight. Have to love what the airlines have done to normal traveling. Less flights, higher prices, no free food but then again Portland is not exactly an airline hub. Flanders was then unceremoniously deposited in the guest room at Chez Jenkins as soon as possible as I still had a half day of work the next morning.

Exploration-an Excerpt of Climbing, Canyoneering and Arch Hunting Exploration-an Excerpt of Climbing, Canyoneering and Arch Hunting  by Scott

This is a brief synopsis of our April 1-3 trip to SE Utah in order to explore some new routes as well as revisit some other old (for me at least) and challenging routes in an amazing region. The primary motivation behind the trip was to explore to and find a large natural arch that I had seen several years earlier while exploring some remote rock domes I reached from climbing out of Stair Canyon. The routes here are intricate in what seems to be at first glance an extremely inaccessible area tucked in a sea of slickrock, canyons and rock towers. Last January, my brother and I had done the last of the crucial routefinding to get to the route into Marinus Canyon, but what would we find when we got there? Would the route through the canyon require any difficult climbing? Would the big drop I knew that existed in the canyon be too much for us? Or would the route be easy and fast with few technical obstacles? Did the big arch really exist and if not, what exactly was the feature that could be seen from afar? Would the route be worth it or would it be a long hike through an ordinary canyon with just a few technical obstacles?

Dicks Peak
in Spring Dicks Peak in Spring  by pdtompkins

My wife Vandi and I were in love with early spring trips to the Desolation Wilderness area just West of South Lake Tahoe. With the ski season coming to a close, but rock climbing season not yet started, these trips were a way to have some adventure, polish up our mountaineering and winter camping skills, and to see some amazing snow-covered scenery. On March 24, 2007, we set out to do some snow camping near Dicks Peak, then make bag the summit of Dicks Peak the following day, then return home for the work week. We set out from the Bay Area on Friday evening, and made it to Emerald Bay and the trailhead quite late. Temperatures were pretty cold, but not unbearable - perhaps in the low 30s or high 20s F. We quickly set up a tent near our car, and intended to make an early morning start into the backcountry.

Near Fatal
Avalanche on the Grand Mesa Thunderbird Couloir Near Fatal Avalanche on the Grand Mesa Thunderbird Couloir  by seth@LOKI

The author Seth Anderson climbs the Grand Mesa Thunderbird Couloir. He and Ann Driggers made the first known descent on skis March 17, 2010. Unfortunately, most of Anderson's trip down the steep mountain was face first sans skis wrapped in an avalanche.It might be the only chance for decades to ski the Grand Mesa Thunderbird. The legend and existence of the Thunderbird Couloir was my life-long passion which no one else seemed to share.

I've looked up at the natural formation with wonder before I knew its name. I longed to view, hike, and perhaps even ski it up close.

The Grand Mesa is not a mountaineer's typical query, but the North Turret has merit — if not for rugged shape and local proximity, then for the Ute's legend of the terrifying Thunderbird story played out in hieroglyphic form on its steep slopes. The local Utes believed the light-colored shale appeared as a wing-spread Thunderbird grabbing a long skinny serpent-like chute rarely visible from below. When a coming storm's light shows the Thunderbird grab the Serpent, it rains in the valley. I have witnessed this just once in 1992.

Mt. Whitney by MR (Winter
3/13/2010)+Video Mt. Whitney by MR (Winter 3/13/2010)+Video  by Vitaliy M.

Back in December 2009 I found out about SP, and started going out to different mountains to gain experience. That is about when I realized I REALLY want to climb Mt. Whitney ’s “Mountaineer’s Route” at some point in my life, I did not think it was going to happen so soon, and in addition to everything during winter.

I started thinking about different options for a trip to Whitney in January 2010, and after a successful summit of mt. Tallac on our way home I decided to find out if any of my peak-bagging friends (Max and Bryan) would want to try it (even though I had huge doubts we will actually attempt). They were a bit skeptical about it since mt. Whitney (highest peak in lower 48!) by MR is not mt. Tallac, Shasta or any other peak we did before. After couple of days of talking about it we decided to plan it, and even if we fail to summit we were determined to go out there and do our best. In early stages of planning we thought about attempting it in early April, but Bryan had a brilliant idea-- since we are planning to go in winter conditions why not just make our attempt during winter. It only counts as a winter summit if you do it before March 21st, so we planned our trip for March 12-14th since “WINTER ASCENT of Mt. Whitney ” sounds waaaaayyy cooler that “ascent of Mt. Whitney under winter conditions.” There were others who wanted to go with us, making a total of 8 people in our group (about 2-3 weeks before the trip).

- really? The Matterhorn - of course? Mountaineer - really? The Matterhorn - of course?  by hansw

A Thursday morning in a backstreet of Zermatt can be very interesting. Especially if you find a Matterhorn museum. It was an awfully quiet place this day in August 1997. Not a soul could be seen except for the old man selling the tickets. One room was dedicated to the famous first ascent of the Matterhorn. Or rather the famous first descent illustrated by a piece of the rope that broke. Four men lost their lives during the first descent in 1865. But how many people have been killed since then on the Matterhorn? I asked the question to the old man who sold the tickets. From his reaction it was obvious that he did not like my question. I tried to look serious and asked again. Without saying anything he disappeared into another room and returned after a while with a booklet containing a dozen pages. "See for yourself" he said and handed me the papers.

I sat down close to the rope that broke in 1865 and started to read. On page after page the names of the victims were neatly lined up, together with the dates and the cause of their deaths if known. The long list ended with the year 1991 and I added the number of names on each page and found the total number to be 315 persons. There were people from many countries; Germans, Americans, Japanese, etc. and I even discovered a Swede. Furthermore, there was a note saying that 24 persons never have been found despite comprehensive search operations. Reading this was not fun, but still exciting somehow.

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