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Nevado Solimana Summit
Attempt Nevado Solimana Summit Attempt  by Vic Hanson

When we finished climbing Nevado Coropuna about 1 years ago, we drove from our base camp at the foot of Coropuna to Cotahuasi. As we drove away from Coropuna, we couldn't stop looking back at where we had just been, on the top of Coropuna. We kept taking pictures and talking about our climb, until we came into sight of Nevado Solimana in front of us. Now our thoughts and conversation turned to climbing Solimana in the future. Solimana isn't as high as Coropuna, but it is much harder as it is a technical climb, where Coropuna is non-technical and didn't require any special skill. Therefore I was not really sure that I would be able to climb it, as I had never done any technical climbing in snow or ice. I had done quite a bit of rock climbing, but hadn't advanced to a very high level, only 5.10 on a good day, and that was about five years ago.

Great end to a disappointing
start. Great end to a disappointing start.  by Kiefer

Teide is actually a secondary volcanic cone that over the previous few thousand years has sprung up on the northwestern edge of a massive caldera that either quite literally blew itself apart or collapsed in upon itself some 150,000 years ago. The original explosion is thought to have been a 7 on the VEI (Volcanic Explosivity Index). The original caldera measures 48km (~30 miles) in circumference or 15km by 10 km. Teide, though not the primary reason why I ventured to the Canary Islands did retain enough fortitude to keep it within my ponderings. So, after spending a week on the island of Tenerife becoming acquaited and situated with life on the island, I simply couldn’t resist Teide any longer and set out on a cold Wednesday morning to climb this bugger.

Pitches, Eight Hours: Madame G 5.6 Two Pitches, Eight Hours: Madame G 5.6  by nartreb

By coincidence, shortly after I'd listed "learn to lead climb" among my goals for this summer, my old hiking buddy Michal emailed me from New York to ask if I'd like to join him and his wife Justyna for a day of climbing in the Shawangunks. Michal was interested in a couple of 5.6 routes. I jumped at the chance, even though, with the exception of one morning of indoor bouldering, I hadn't done any rock climbing in at least a year. I made sure to warn Michal that while I was "confident I can still do 5.6", I'd need lots of rest breaks and I certainly wouldn't do any leading. Luckily Michal didn't mind hauling my useless butt up a cliff, so we quickly made plans for the weekend.

Down Canyon - High Plains
Loop Down Canyon - High Plains Loop  by Vic Hanson

The beginning of April, I took Jen, a friend that I met while hiking the PCT last year, and her friend, Katie on one of my favorite hikes in the Cotahuasi Canyon area. I picked them up at the airport in Arequipa on Wednesday morning at about 7:00 and we left directly for Cotahuasi. It was a beautiful sunny morning in Arequipa, as usual, so I was hoping we would get a good view of the mountains on our way. The first part of the trip is on the Pan American Highway, which passes through the desert most of the time. After about and hour and 45 minutes, we left the Pan American and headed down into the Majes Valley. Here the road passes through a green valley, along side of the Majes River. The main crop there is rice, but there is also some corn and sugarcane. We had dropped down from about 8,000 feet at Arequipa, to just over 2,000 feet in the valley, so it was also nice and warm. About an hour later, we started the climb up to Chuquibamba, and were again back in desert conditions, except where there was irrigation.

Wildspitze North Wall Wildspitze North Wall  by mvs

After seeing Sebastian's excellent report on a ski and climb of the Hintere Bruchkogel, I was excited by the set of steep alpine ice climbs in the area. And in winter you can get up to this amazing glacier plateau with the help of the ski industry. Daniel Arndt was also excited about an ice climb, so he and I rode the train through the mountain up to the Pitztal ski area, then took a lift above that to get the first glimpse of the Wildspitze. We could see that the north face, our chosen objective, had long streaks of blue ice. "Yes, that is what we came for!" I enthused. We strapped on skis and descended to the Mitteljoch. I'm still a terrible skier, and the descent to the glacier was marked by kick-turns, excessive caution, and wobbly legs, especially with the rope and ice climbing gear strapped to my pack. Daniel found it a bit tough too, so at least I had a sympathetic ear for complaints!

Winter Mountaineering in the
Wallowas Winter Mountaineering in the Wallowas  by Mr. Clam

Technically it was the 4th day of spring when we started our trip, but with the weather and conditions we encountered I think it can be justifiably called winter mountaineering. The Plan was to climb Chief Joseph Mountain by it's Northwest ridge, the same route we had taken the summer of 2005. We would camp at a flat meadow we had spotted on that trip and then continue on to the summit of Chief Joseph, The Hurwal Divide, Sacajawea Peak, and the Matterhorn. Staying on the ridge line that connects the four peaks. We would then simply follow Thorp creek trail to hurricane creek trail to the trailhead where my car would be parked. Simple enough right?

Fool's Gold Fool's Gold  by lizrdboy

Our goal wasnt Gold Hill, it was the Williams Lake basin. Tucked in behind the Taos Ski area, Williams Lake is the base camp for climbing Wheeler Peak, the states highest at 13,161 ft, and numerous other peaks, crags and slopes. We intended to climb and ski the chutes that empty into the basin, but the recent cold snap and snow, after a month of warm weather made the area very unstable. It didnt help that the beacon Dan lent me broke when he attempted to show me how to turn it on. We took that as an omen and initiated plan B. Plan B involved the same parking lot but a different trail. We hit that trail at 10:30 on Friday night in a very wet snow storm. The goal was Bull-of-the-Woods Meadow, but after and hour and a half of slogging in the dark we decided to set up camp in a lower, smaller clearing. The new plan was to climb Gold Hill (12,711 ft) the next day and ski back down the wooded South slope. The snow quality would be iffy, but at least there was no avalanche danger.

A Week of Challenge in
Winter Tatras A Week of Challenge in Winter Tatras  by arturf

Reminding myself all the epic stories of my friends' winter Tatra trips, including also this year, I was psychologicaly preparing myself for the worst conditions. During the last part of the way through the Poland the weather seemed to confirm my expectations – the dark clouds have covered all the sky and there was a constant drizzle, which sometimes turned into a heavy rain. We have arrived to Zakopane on the 10th of March at about 11.00 p.m. and were welcomed by Ieva - the member of our party, who have arrived a bit earlier from Slovakia, where she was skiing. We have quickly caried all our loads into the guesthouse (we were using a privat accomodation – there are lots of possibilities in Zakopane), had some food and went to sleep, hoping for the best, but getting ready for the worst...

Snowboard bums in Dharma
Land Snowboard bums in Dharma Land  by littlefrantz

If I ever got stuck on a desert island, I'd hope to get stuck with Survivorman, Frank Sinatra, and Emeril. Unfortunately these were not the people with whom I set out from Tahoe on the fine, sunny morning of March 19 to scamper up and snowboard down the Matterhorn. The sun and blue sky was a welcome sight after months stuck in college up in Washington... a place where, unlike California, it actually snows. No, the three men in the car were a far different set of characters. I haven't yet had the relief of climbing with fellow women, and I very much look forward to the experience. Meanwhile, I'm happy with the boys. For their privacy and safety, they will be referred to hereafter as Hippy, Manbeast, and Old Man. Hippy has a dog, lives out of his truck, and likes to make random pleasantly phrased comments about the evils of Western medicine. Manbeast is pretty self-explanatory, expressing affection only toward his fat cat, his girl, and his dinner. Old Man is a 20-something work-from-home troll of a man; the highlights of his day are inspecting the mess of his growing beard for tasty bites of last night's dinner and glaring out at the world over his black cup of coffee each morning. I'm Manbeast's girlfriend, who earns her space on the truck by keeping up, always sharing her leftovers and dropping hints whenever the boys start climbing up the wrong peak ("Wow, that peak way over there is awful pretty. Looks kinda like the one we were plannin' on climbing, don't it guys?").

The Best
Weekend I've Had Since Moving to Alabama The Best Weekend I've Had Since Moving to Alabama  by tacoturner

Since being hired on at Alabama Outdoors shortly after I moved to Birmingham in July of 2006, I had been trying to find a common weekend off with Paul Wheeler, a co-worker and fellow climber. Somehow our plans to climb together "this weekend" were always foiled by weather, women, or work (mainly work -- see, it's funny how when you start working at an outdoors store, you don't have the time to do anything outdoors anymore, ...ah, but I digress...) So, when I became the manager (aka schedule-maker) for the Greystone, AL Alabama Outdoors, we put it in stone. No matter what, I was off Friday through Monday, and come hell or high water we were going to camp out for the weekend at Sandrock. In fact, about ten other people were making plans to join in the climbing revelry. Even the weather outlook said it was going to be the nicest weekend of the year. (This is all a preface to explain that going to Sandrock this particular weekend was a pretty big deal.)

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