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INNOMINATA INNOMINATA  by mvs

Rahel was in the back of my mind through this whole experience. All the foibles and hi-jinks Dan and I got ourselves into crowded her out, but in still moments she would return. What should I learn from her story, from her life?

Just like the day before Dan and I found ourselves in the common room, lingering over a late breakfast. We were in Argentiere, and should have been out climbing for hours already. But sullen clouds and wet streets kept us in the house. We were starting the second day of enforced idleness, and seemed to be losing our will to move. The forecast kept promising high pressure and it kept retreating in front. "So what's the plan?" asked Dan. "Like I know? But how about Mont Blanc since the rock is wet?"

If we did a big climb of Mont Blanc, we could afford bad weather on the first day as we approached a hut. Dan, veteran of many high-altitude ascents wasn't into a big mountain though. "I've done enough slogging for two lifetimes," he said around a mouthful of Muesli.

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Journeys
into the Greater Yellowstone Backcountry (July 4-17, 2009) Journeys into the Greater Yellowstone Backcountry (July 4-17, 2009)  by johnmnichols

For 2 weeks every summer, we leave the heat, humidity, gnats, ticks, and thick vegetation of the Southern Appalachians behind for a refreshing 2 weeks in the Rocky Mountains. While we usually visit Colorado, we were ready for a change and decided to head further north – opting for the northwest corner of Wyoming. We were leery of being near Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks during the peak of summer activity, but figured with careful planning, we could avoid most of the major crowds. That led us to one week in Victor, ID with the intent of exploring the less crowded western slopes of the Teton Range followed by one week in Silver Gate, MT situated between the less frequently used Northeast entrance to Yellowstone and the Absaroka / Beartooth Mountains to the north and east.

For those looking for a trip report loaded with epic technical climbs, you may be disappointed. For one, we’re not technical climbers. And secondly, a bad tear in my wife’s shoulder left her reluctant to hike anything too steep where a simple slip and fall could put her completely out of commission. We contemplated some easier non-technical summits (e.g., Table Mountain), but instead landed on doing a large number of dayhikes without a ton of steep or loose terrain. For some variety, we also threw in some cycling (during week #1 only) – I kept any cycling recaps brief so as not to upset the SP purists.

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My First Expedition: Broad
Peak My First Expedition: Broad Peak  by Isaiah

I have known for years that I want to try and climb an 8000 meter peak. Finally, the summer after I was supposed to graduate approached and I signed on with Field Touring Alpine to climb Gasherbrum 2. Well, there wasn't enough interest for G2 and since they were running a high profile Broad Peak and K2 double header they asked if I wouldn't mind climbing Broad Peak instead. I looked up the stats and saw more people had died on it so I asked the owners of FTA if it was more dangerous but they cited that mountain conditions on G2 have changed in recent years making it more difficult so it was about the same as Broad Peak. So I agreed and gave them a lot of money. I spent the winter doing climbing and hiking and shopping for overboots and -20F sleeping bags and other expedition gear. I went rock climbing in January and February to get used to trying to do technical climbing with frozen fingers on slippery rock. I ran with snowballs clutched in my hands. I soloed the easiest gully on Mount Washington in New Hampshire because much of the route on these mountains was supposed to be that steep. I spent most of the spring running a lot of miles and trying to rock climb as much as I could. I was able to turn in a few decent races and after my competitive season I ran a double marathon in 9:31 in May. I figured if I could run for 9.5 hours then hiking for that long shouldn't be a problem. A few last minute workouts culminating with a swim in Lake Michigan and at a point where I could honestly try to climb 5.12a in the gym had me feeling very prepared for this expedition.

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Bells
Incident Bells Incident  by noahs213

Climbers are sometime’s faced with life-threatening descisions. Many escape death while many others become apart of it. Many think It will never happen to them and that there somehow invincible. Let me tell you, when things go wrong and you really think your going to die, that thought will change. Me and Kevin were faced with the Inevitable on July 31, 2009. This day will be remembered as really a miracle.

The Maroon Bells are nicknamed the “Deadly Bells” on purpose. They kill people. They are notorious for loose rock and steep cliffs. That’s an accurate description. If you fell at any bit of this climb you would end up 1,500 or so ft. on a rock pile. Between the two of us, we have significant experience. I am good with the more difficult class 4 and class 5 terrain(Meaning steep rock climbing). Kevin is very good with route finding and class 1-3 navigation. The Maroon Bells, while considered Colorado’s hardest 14ers, were in our range of experience. Both of us are also fairly good at weather decision making in the high country, though there is no “good” weather predicting at that altitude. A storm is able to form and come in a matter of minutes without notice.

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Don't piss
off the water gods - A wet epic on Jubiläumsgrat Don't piss off the water gods - A wet epic on Jubiläumsgrat  by nattfodd

When I learned that I would attend a conference in the small town of Marktoberdorf, a hundred kilometres to the southwest of Munich, I realized that the German and Austrian Alps would be so close that I would probably be able to fit in some hiking, or even climbing. I quickly settled on the area around Garmisch-Partenkirchen, as it had many advantages: easily accessible from Munich, home to 2962m Zugspitze, the highest point of Germany, and it offered plenty of options, from easy hiking in the valleys up to multi-pitch outings. Unfortunately, I wouldn't have a climbing partner, which forbade any form of belayed climbing, but I was still pretty sure I would find fun things to do in the mountains.

After some more research and with mvs's help, I finally found several options for the three days I would spend in Garmisch. At least to some extent, all were via ferrata.

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Snake Dike
with my 11-year-old son Snake Dike with my 11-year-old son  by bearbnz

This is a trip report primarily about my oldest son Ky and his first multi-pitch climb. I have 3 boys, 9-year-old twins, Riley and Sawyer, and 11-year-old Kyler. All 3 of them love to climb, and have been climbing since they could walk. They have all been up the cables route, and they handled it fine.

Ky and I were out one day and a friend asked about Snake Dike. I have climbed it a few times, so I hyped it up to convince him it was worth the approach. A while later, while hiking back to the car, Ky told me he wanted to climb Snake Dike. My first thought was to dismiss it, I mean is that the kind of climb to take a young kid on? But I questioned him further and he seemed serious about it. But there were complications, Ky is only 90 pounds, not nearly big enough to belay me, so we would need someone else to go with us. So I called another friend that had been wanting to do it, and we set a date for July 22.

I woke Ky up at 1:45 am, and we were on the road at 2:15. We picked up Dave at the Whoa Nellie at 2:45, and headed into the Park. We parked near curry, rode our bikes down to Happy Isles, and hit the trail by 4:30.

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La Grivola north east ridge La Grivola north east ridge  by berdunnor

I remember it very well. It was back in the summer of 2005 that I made first steps in the Val d'Aosta. I was participating in a trek around the Grand Combin and after crossing the Col de Champillon the valley was revealing its majestic grandeur. This region was rather unknown to me, but that day I decided to get back here soon in order to discover every inch of it. Since then I came back there every time I had the opportunity. The diversity, authenticity and purity of the Val d'Aosta is what was appealing me over and over again. During these visits I've got intrigued by the appearance of one particular massive that can't be denied when entering the valley. A solid pyramid dominating its surroundings: La Grivola.

It didn't take much time for me to decide this summit would come on top of my want list. But there was a little problem. I'm an experienced hiker. I've been on top of different easy 4000ers like Gran Paradiso, Punta Gnifetti, Castor and Pollux. But I'm a rather moderate and unexperienced climber. I don't have the skills and knowledge to bring a trip like La Grivola to a good end on my own. I've had read a lot about this mountain. And the more I did so, the more it was in my mind. I had decided I wanted to spend the night on it. Which meant I had to make the ascent via the north east ridge route, which is even more technical than the normal route over the south eastern slope. In other words, I had to find a capable person who was prepared to lead me up there. Via via I was brought into contact with Claudio Rosset. For him, my lack of experience was obviously no obstacle. Needless to say hearing this was a big relief for me.

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Emmons-Winthrop - July 2009 Emmons-Winthrop - July 2009  by mbgriffi

One of the first things you notice when visiting Seattle is "The Mountain"; at first you feel funny calling Mt. Rainier "The Mountain", but then you notice that no matter where you travel in the greater Seattle area when The Mountain is out (free from cloud cover) its visible from everywhere. Rainier Avenue in Seattle is aptly named as it appears as if your going to drive straight down the road and onto The Mountain. From downtown, from Lake Washington, from Lake Sammamish, from every mountain trail you ever hike, Rainier looms above them all. Almost as soon as I began traipsing around the hills I looked longingly at the white slopes of Rainier and thought of climbing it. As you get a bit more experience with the area and learn a bit more about Rainier there are two slightly contradictory discussions that emerge. First there are a lot of people in the greater Seattle area that have either attempted or climbed Rainier, its powerful presence works its magic on many people. Within this group you get a lot of stories about how easy climbing Rainier is, "Yeah my brother and his friends climbed it last year and they said it was just like a really long hike". I suspect many of these are doing the standard route from the Muir side with guides. The second side of the discussion is that Rainier is big, long, hard and dangerous, not to be tackled by the naive or unprepared, guide or not. I think much of the recounting depends on weather, and that regardless I favor the harder rather than the easier categorization.

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Forbidden Peak East Ridge
Direct Forbidden Peak East Ridge Direct  by Tsuyoshi

I had Wednesday off work so I asked Chico if he wanted to go climb something. He quickly agreed and the plan to climb the east ridge of Forbidden Peak was born. The plan was simple, I'd get off work at 6:00 pm on Tuesday and head strait home to pack up my gear. Chico would meet me at my apartment in Ballard around 8:00 pm and we'd leave as soon as possible after that.

All was going very well until we started loading gear into Chico's car. I had everything loaded and remembered that I needed to get my crampons! "They're just in my car, let me go in the garage and get them out," I told chico as he started his car. But upon looking in my car, they were no where to be found. Then it hit me, I have been house sitting for my parents while they are in Australia and the last time I climbed something I slept there the night after, leaving some of my gear. I could picture them sitting just under the fireplace... :( So I had a decision to make, either take boots and heavy crampons (didn't sound fun), or running shoes and no crampons (didn't sound as safe). I chose the running shoe option rationalizing that I'd just chop steps!

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Cycling and
Scrambling from Calgary to Vancouver Cycling and Scrambling from Calgary to Vancouver  by PellucidWombat

This trip report is very long, partly because it was a very long trip (23 days), partly because I covered a lot of ground (cycled 770 miles and climbed over 10 peaks), and also because I’ve decided not to just write the standard “went there, did that” format. The trip was as much an inward journey for me as an outward one, so I feel that ignoring details relevant to my motivations and self-reflection would miss out on a lot of the adventure.

In a nutshell, from July 29th to August 17th I cycled solo across Western Canada, from Calgary, Alberta, to Vancouver, British Columbia via Banff, Kamloops, and Whistler. Along the way I hiked and climbed throughout the Canadian Rockies and a small amount in the Coastal Range, summitting about 10 peaks. I cycled fully self-supported (apart from supply refills along the way) with camping gear and basic scrambling equipment, and this was to be my first ever multi-day cycling tour and first time ever combining cycling with scrambling on an approach. Although it was a very ambitious trip, in the end it was a wild success, and I had many interesting experiences along the way. For those that like stats, here they are:

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