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Grey Rock
via New Era: A Garden of the Gods Mega-Classic Grey Rock via New Era: A Garden of the Gods Mega-Classic  by shknbke

Adam was coming down for the annual Y couloir trip on Pikes and asked if I wanted to do something technical in the morning on Friday before trudging up to Barr Camp. I'm always looking for a rope gun, so we decided on a classic line on Grey Rock (aka Kindergarten or Cathedral Rock) in Garden of the Gods. Grey Rock is a prominent formation on the southeast side of the park adjacent to Ridge Road. Many visitors have gazed upon it in awe and I've always wanted to get up it. I'm more inclined to rock climb if there's a summit involved, and this has been high on my list of formations to climb in the park.

The map actually shows the north summit as being higher by one contour, but a Front Range climbing guidebook says that this is the highpoint of the park. The easiest route on the north summit is the north ridge, which goes at 5.4R.

Making Merry on Martha - Mt.
Lady Washington Making Merry on Martha - Mt. Lady Washington  by maverick

I had marked my calendar eager to get out on some Alpine route with Sherpa Joe once before he left on his Denali expedition. Suspecting that he’d rather climb something that kicked his ass (which wouldn’t happen while keeping pace with me) I was set on Dragon Tail with another friend. However, come Friday afternoon at lunch at work, Joe issued a familiar “Mmrrr… uff… harrumph… Martha - Mt. Lady Washington - Longs traverse – ski Longs' North Face mruff?”. This moderately well articulated grunt was influential enough to make me forget Dragon Tail and begin assembling topozone maps of the Longs Peak area. With a gentle reminder that my skiing skills were not up to a North Face descent (and that I might end up hucking the Diamond instead), Joe was willing to just climb Martha and ski the East Face of Mt. Lady Washington… there was that dang party (his own going away party) in Erie at 4PM anyway... a short day might work. I decided to head up to the Longs Peak TH the previous night and sleep in my Jeep (Wall-E) so I was a little better acclimatized than usual. Joe would meet me there at 3AM. Old Man wind began his familiar evil shenanigans at midnight (his gusts were sporadic and lasted all day). I was mildly surprised that Wall-E didn’t blow away that night. Someone needs to let the old grouch in on a little secret. Calendar winter 2010 is over old man... you have no business here for a little while. At 2:55AM Joe’s Corolla pulled into the lot. I ate, we packed and left the TH at around 3:30AM.

Rainy Riglos TR Rainy Riglos TR  by rpc

I think it was an article in Climbing magazine (…or was it Rock and Ice?) about the huge conglomerate towers and faces of Riglos, Spain some years ago that initially put this area on our radar. However, the idea was largely forgotten until I stumbled on a couple of TR’s on the web within the last year or so. Looking at the photos of the 300 meter tall formations with their unique (steep!) rock towering above a charming Aragon village got our climbing juices going.

An overnight flight from Portland to Barcelona (including a layover in Atlanta) was followed by a very drowsy and seemingly never-ending (in reality, only four hours long) drive deep into the Aragon countryside. Thirty minute long bursts of driving were followed by hour-long rest area sleeping sessions. We finally arrived in Riglos on Saturday afternoon with just enough daylight to hike around and check out the starts of a couple of routes on our list. Incredible – the rock consists of “pebbles” of various sizes (ranging from thumb- to car-sized) embedded in a sandstone “concrete.” Something reminiscent of Meteora in Greece. From afar, the rock looks like chossy crap (a bit like Fisher Towers) but up close the holds seem well set in place and the established routes seem clean! With the fire stoked we went to sleep in a motel in Murillo (a nearby village) very excited at the prospect of climbing there over the coming five days.

A boxful of cats A boxful of cats  by kamil

Every trip has to start some time. This one was supposed to begin last night, or maybe in the wee hours of this morning after a few hours of sleep. The outcome is somewhere in the middle, i.e. this morning with no sleep at all. Just a few things popped out and didn’t let me grab a kip...

Only after midnight can I start packing my gear. While checking the car documents I notice that my MOT is valid only till the 14th. I subconsciously remembered I’ve got it till the end of July, like in previous years, forgetting that last summer I went to ?ód? to have the car checked some two weeks earlier than before. I quickly calculate that I’ll be back after that date, and not immediately in Poland but in Holland first. If I enter Schengen before the 14th, I have a good chance that no one’s gonna check me. I can do sod all about it now so there’s no point getting worried anyway. I leave Utrecht at 3 am, soon crossing the border. The slowly brightening north-easterly sky serves me its colours for an early breakfast. Only somewhere in the middle of Germany I pull in at a petrol station to catch my forty winks.

A Week at the Gorge A Week at the Gorge  by AJones

“Watch me”, I said, as I felt the strength fading in my arms; perhaps the result of six straight days of climbing; perhaps because I’m old and weak.

Five or six seconds later……


Thunk! The sound of my body slamming into the rock.

Stuart Glacier Couloir +
cozy cave bivy Stuart Glacier Couloir + cozy cave bivy  by StephAbegg

8:04 am: Approaching Mt. Stuart. That's the classic north ridge in the photo, which we climbed around on the right (via the Stuart Glacier) to get to the Stuart Glacier Couloir. We left the Stuart Lake TH at 4:30am, so it took us 3.5 hrs to get to here.

10:27 am: Looking up the Stuart Glacier Couloir. Not the greatest weather, but it was forecasted to improve by midday (which it never did)

Eagle Lake
Ice – Wild Basin (RMNP) – 4/17/2010 Eagle Lake Ice – Wild Basin (RMNP) – 4/17/2010  by maverick

Joe wanted to head up for a weekend to get some sled dragging practice in for Denali and I jumped on the bandwagon although I know ridiculously little about ice climbing and even less about handling the cold. Playing side kick to Joe is great despite all the bitching on my part. There’s always plenty to learn and plenty of perspective to be had… (Regular life doesn’t seem so hard after this shit!).

National Park Caparaó National Park  by PAROFES

To come back home after so many new summits on the Andes it's not easy. Brazilian mountains are not so big and there's never ice or snow, they're gorgeous too but in a different way. To do so i had to visit a completly new place for me, even at brazilian soil (i said to many friends overseas that we have tons of mountains here at my country and they didn't believe me he he he). So i chose the Caparaó National Park, a place i never went before.

It is a gorgeous brazilian park and third oldest, created in 1961. The distance is huge: 830 kms (around 515 miles) from São Paulo, and that means 12 hours on a bus to get there. Too far away...

& 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.

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