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Scrambling with an 11 Year
Old Scrambling with an 11 Year Old  by Stu Brandel

I have learned with my 3rd child that it is scrambling, not hiking, that makes an outdoor adventure. While I have long enjoyed long hikes that cover lots of terrain, I have found that this does not always transfer well to children. My twins endured some long hikes and are comfortable but remain somewhat indifferent to the outdoors. I resolved to try harder with my remaining 11 year old son. A chance discovery last summer in Yellowstone gave me, finally, the key.

Wanting to drive north into some new territory, I found a hike called Bearclaw Falls in a guidebook. Roping Evan into the car, we arrived at the hike 90 minutes later. It proved to be very short but very long on bouldery scrambling up and down to the falls, with a lot of upstream and downstream possibilities. Evan loved it. Really loved it. My engineer's mind calculated: Enthusiasm decreases with distance, but seems to increase with the square of vertical distance - but only if scrambling is involved. Evan would tolerate may hikes that vacation, including a 14+ mile affair to the summit of Static Peak, but only one was brought up as the comparison to any future hike: Is it like Bearclaw Falls?

It is not hard to understand why. Scrambling is mentally and physically fun and challendging, not the endless trudge (to a kid) the best of hikes can turn out to be. Problem solving, physical exertion and challenge occur in buches. Instant gratification repeated.

Perseverance - Little Bear
Peak Perseverance - Little Bear Peak  by HokieJim

Where is Little Bear Peak? At the crossroads of Hwy 160 and my comfort zone. I remember reading through Gerry Roach's guidebook to the Colorado 14ers my first summer out here, back when I had no intention of trying to summit them all. It was an easy decision then to leave Little Bear off the to-do list. Karen was the same way, "it's class 4, so I'm not going to do it." But time, experience, and the desire to finish off the list have a way overturning decisions like that.

We had been to the Blanca massif two years ago on separate trips and experienced the dangers of rockfall in those mountains on successful summit attempts of Blanca and Ellingwood Pt. We had heard rocks tumbling down the mountains at night from our tent and read accounts of accidents in Little Bear's Hourglass couloir that occured because of that rotten rock. How can we avoid that? Well, there are no rocks to fall on you when they are buried under snow. Okay, so it's really a risk trade-off: rockfall vs avalanche. But at least we can mitigate the avalanche threat with some training and good decision making.

WE on ZE WE on ZE  by rpc

We’ve been wanting to climb Zenyatta Entrada (IV 5.4 C3) for a few years but nerves, weather, opportunity never came together at the right instant of time and space until last weekend. Taking advantage of Southwest’s airfare slashes (a poor aircraft inspection record becoming public might have induced this – I dunno?), we flew down to Salt Lake last Friday night. Due to late arrival in town and our laziness, we got to the base of the line after 10am following the arduous 90 second approach. The weather was sunny but there were strong gusts of wind. At this point we were pretty sure we’d be fixing the first couple pitches and returning for more on Sunday.

The first two pitches offer lower angle climbing and positive nutting and so they went relatively quickly (mostly C1 I’d guess). Third pitch is where things got steeper, thinner and less positive (small nuts, largish RP’s mostly). The going was fairly secure until I came to within 10 feet of the intermediate belay anchor. Well in sight of the bolts and chains, I would spend the next hour trying to put together a house of cards to get my fat ass up this final short stretch. With a long string of questionable gear below me, I did a fare share of praying as my attempts at hooking the section resulted in small flakes blowing off. Similar results were obtained when trying to nut a sandy looking groove which would be nearly out of reach had I not been able to string three nuts together to extend my range. All for nothing. A half engaged #2 Camalot in a blown out pin nest combined with some well-timed updraft (you know, levitation…) and I finally clipped the anchor. Thoughts of finishing up to top of P3 proper were nixed and so we fixed the ropes and came down trying to secure the lines from abrasion the best we could. Did I mention the windy conditions?

Prayer at
sunrise: Maja Jezerce in winter Prayer at sunrise: Maja Jezerce in winter  by kamil

My mobile’s ringing, distracting me from choosing an ice axe in the mountain shop. Just a while ago I became a proud owner of a pair of crampons. Bad news from the garage, my car’s unfit for a long drive, at least it’s not gonna be ready for tomorrow.

I heard about this trip some time ago from my Belgrade friend Vlado (vvujisic) but only a few days ago I knew I could make it. I was closely following the news about the unrest in Kosovo and Belgrade. To add to the already interesting picture, a week ago there were some brief reports about a mysterious accident of an unidentified helicopter that crashed in the fog on the slopes of Maja Jezerce. The SOS signal was received in Italy and Albania shortly before the object disappeared from radars, and the local villagers heard the explosion. Neither KFOR in Kosovo nor the Albanian army reported any missing machines. It was weird that nobody knew anything when it was on the radars. The area was searched on the ground and from the air, although the search was severely hampered by bad weather. The action was called off after 2 days. The reports in international media were scarce and the information about the end of the rescue action was difficult to find outside the Albanian web portals. Since then the media kept stumm. Something smelt fishy here.

Two days before the planned departure from Utrecht I got an email from Dragan, the guide from the mountaineering club in Belgrade who organised the trip. The planned ascent was brought one day forward due to the weather forecast. So I would have just one day in Łódź to rest and sort things out, straight after an overnight drive from Holland. I already knew that neither Vlado nor any of my Polish friends would not go.

Coffin Peak Utah, April Ski
Tour Coffin Peak Utah, April Ski Tour  by ZeeJay

Shortly after the marathon one day 30 mile round trip ski to Kings Peak 13528, Utah's high point, discussion turned to our next adventure. Various ideas were kicked around but no one seemed psyched to do anything major the immediate weekend after. A week went by and we finalized plans for another trip starting from the Henrys Fork winter parking area. We weren't sure exactly where we'd go, we just knew it would be some place high. To get to a peak over 12000', there wasn't much choice as to where to start since other approaches were still snowed in.

Three peaks from the
Bielerhöhe Three peaks from the Bielerhöhe  by mvs

Christian and I left Munich at 6:30 am, then got stuck in a terrible traffic jam by the Austrian border at Bregenz. No fun at all! Finally at 11:30 am we were ready to ski at the Biehlerhöhe, after a gondola and bus ride along the closed high alpine tollway of the Montafon region.

We skied across the big Silvrettasee, foolishly wearing skins on the skis. We didn't realize how long the lake was. It took a full 30 minutes to get across. Finally though, we were skiing uphill at noon and our day could begin.

Spring Climbing to Dawson
Peak, Chalupastan Spring Climbing to Dawson Peak, Chalupastan  by Schuetzenweber

Starting in the dry-riverbed of the eastern debris field, our route took us up the major Couloir immediately north of Dawson's Eastern Ridgeline. There are several other beautiful snowy chutes branching off a main trunk that leads up to the right, but they require a bit more mixed climbing over an increasing series of runoff waterfalls with some bushwacking necessary higher up. That main trunk leading up to Dawson/Pine Saddle is how we descended.

WRIAD - White Rim Rd in a
Day WRIAD - White Rim Rd in a Day  by thebeave7

The White Rim Rd is a 70mile+ jeep road the circumnavigates the "Island in the Sky" region of Canyonlands NP in Eastern Utah. Quite a few people mountain bike the route in a single day each year, but only a select few even attempt to run the entire road and 26miles of road that links the two end points. Talk began on the special idiots list about making a group run at the road, but as the month of March neared talk never amounted to much and plans were never made. By coincidence Charles Corfield was planning on making an attempt at bettering his previous time on the White Rim Rd the last weekend in March and invited me along to be a pacer/crew member. This situation worked out perfectly for me, I'd get some nice long miles in, but didn't have to commit to running the entire road. So plans were set in motion for the run to take place on Saturday March 30th, 2008.

Notch Peak and exploring the west desert of Utah Climbing Notch Peak and exploring the west desert of Utah  by Scott Wesemann

Notch Peak is one of the hidden gems in the western United States. With a vertical cliff face of over 4,500 feet, if this peak were in Yosemite it would be mentioned in the same breath as Half Dome and El Cap, but since it is hidden away in the western desert of Utah, nobody seems to notice. I have had my eye on this peak for a while now and after talking about it with Matthew Vanhorn, we both agreed that an early spring attempt would be prime, so we decided to skip work and head for the desert.

We wanted to add in some extra flavor to the trip, so we zeroed in on a few other desert peaks and planned on climbing at the Ibex crags as well. Matt met me at my place at 7:15 am and we quickly loaded up all of our gear, practically filling my Honda with all of the necessary supplies that we would need. We were off on I-15 south in no time and just the thought of heading into the wild, while the vast majority of the other folks in traffic were heading to work put a smile on my face.

of a College Bum - The ongoing saga of Granite Peak, MT Obsession of a College Bum - The ongoing saga of Granite Peak, MT  by iceworm

5:00am brought the absolutely horrible sound of my cell phone alarm, cutting through the calm, comfort, and relaxation my much needed sleep. "Are you leaving?", she asked as my movements cause her to awake. "Yes" I replied pausing to consider if the tone in which she asked carried a hint of resentment. Undoubtedly, the answer was yes, regardless of a yes or no it wasn't going to change the fact I was leaving. With a quick kiss and a few last words of assurance I left. The morning was calm, devoid of wind, clouds, or any sign anything but beautiful weather was firmly gripped on the greater Southwest Montana region. My partners were already awake and ready to go by the time I returned to my apartment from my second home. We were all groggy and confused as to why our passion wasn't for Cancun, Arizona, or anywhere but the frigid cold of the mountains. Unlike the majority of our peers who saught an alcohol driven illiad of sex, sun, and seduction, our spring break was driven by a far different motivation which landed us with the same set of consequences.

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