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Via Cassin, Piz Badile Via Cassin, Piz Badile  by Koen

Last winter I spent four days skitouring around Bivio, in the Swiss kanton of Graubunden. We did some nice tours around the Julierpass, close to St.-Moritz. One of the tours took us to Piz Turba (3.018m), a rewarding goal for skitourers.

When we got to the summit, one of my more experienced companions pointed out a mountain towards the south. Its name sounded magical to me, almost mythical. You see, my career as a real climber has been much shorter than my reading-it-in-a-book-comfortably-on-the-couch climbing career. The wind howling around us made the myth all the stronger … The myth my friend pointed toward was Piz Badile.

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A Trip
Through the Eons A Trip Through the Eons  by thephotohiker

Carved below the eastern rim of the Paunsaugunt Plateau, Bryce Canyon is a geologic wonderland. Standing as what may be Earth’s most famous example of pinnacled badlands, eons of erosion and weather have carved a natural amphitheater filled with pinnacles, spires, columns, arches, and bridges.

Humans, maybe alone on this planet in having the propensity for being awestruck and inspired by such natural wonders, have applied fanciful names to these features and refer to many formations as temples or castles. In our arrogance we’ve seemingly attempted to take credit, as if it is humanity that is somehow responsible for the existence of this masterpiece of nature.

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Counting Sheep on the Whites
Traverse Counting Sheep on the Whites Traverse  by Greg Enright

I suppose it starts the same for everyone, a look over from a summit in the Sierra to the White Mountains sparks an urge to explore the tall, barren desert range. Then, forays to the Bristlecone Pine groves and White Mountain Peak lead to an intense curiousity about the ridge beyond the peak, the long rolling ridgeline between White and Montgomery, where Desert Bighorn run among the rocks and the wild horses forage in the flats. And so it started with me. Almost thirty years ago, a planned backpack traverse of the Whites fell victim to circumstance and lack of will. Subsequent opportunities would have taken too much time away from family, so all invitations were declined. The idea of the Traverse faded with time, but the ridgeline was never forgotten, you can't help but see the distinctive silhouette of the Whites everyday from Mammoth, thirty miles away.

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Under dying mountains Under dying mountains  by reinhard2

Actually this TR is sort of anti-TR, since neither successes nor spectacular escapes or failures are to be reported. It simply shares the insights of a weekend, which bore out fewer expectancies than it had promised before. Part of that is due to the unexpected experience of mountains visibly falling asunder - dying mountains. What struck me here so unexpectedly is surely no particular property of the particular area of southern Stubai group in the Alps, where this weekend derolled, but can of course also be found elsewhere. Here lies the rationale to share this TR as a general TR, not just as an account in the German corner of SP, where most of the people who know this area belong to. Finally, it also touches the general point that difficulties and wearisome situations are mastered (or not) by the strength of the mind, not primarily by the fitness of the body.

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San Gorgonio 17 Peaks San Gorgonio 17 Peaks  by Rick Kent

Of all the Sierra Club HPS (Hundred Peaks Section) reports I've read there is one that stands out and I've never forgotten about it since the first time I read it. In 1996 Eric Siering did a solo dayhike of the Gorgonio range which included an astounding 17 peaks. This was truly a remarkable accomplishment and from time to time I've pondered whether I might be able to do at least a part of it. The trouble however was the necessary car shuttle. Eric's route (starting at Fish Creek and descending to Angeles Oaks) was the most logical and efficient. Not that there's anything wrong with a car shuttle but I have a history of finding other ways (which typically involves a greater degree of torture):

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Accursed
Mountains 2006, Part 1. <b>Cappo di Thethi.</b> Accursed Mountains 2006, Part 1. Cappo di Thethi.  by kamil

Croatia, the old road Zagreb - Varaždin, parallel to the motorway, somewhere before Novi Marof. Sharp right turn, badly profiled, tightening. Fourth gear, gas blip, third, fuck it, still getting tighter, I didn’t predict that, now I know I’m gonna fly out of my lane. A big lorry slowly crawls up the opposite lane. I lose traction, tyres screeching, I’m going head on into the lorry. A glimpse of a wide, bumpy, gravelled shoulder on the outside. Coincidence, or maybe the road designers predicted it. Alright, let’s get the fuck out of here. Regaining traction, getting the wheels straight, still braking, I cut past the front of the lorry, five, maybe ten metres from it, into the roadside, my mind registering everything in slow motion. Shaking on the bumps, losing speed. Immediately I get back on the road and drive on. Only after a while I realise what happened and my heart jumps into my throat. Gratefulness. Someone’s keeping an eye. Karabaja again? Perhaps a higher instance this time.

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Tranquillity and Solitude Tranquillity and Solitude  by Gangolf Haub

Tomorrow was a Saturday – we started out by car around seven, having stored the guidebooks somewhere in the backpack, crossed the Slovenian – Italian border – not without fumbling one of the passports (our usual feat to entertain the customs officers) – and headed for Tarvisio, Lago di Predil and Sella Nevea. There was more traffic than the time before but at first we didn’t care. We passed the trailhead for the normal route to Jôf Fuart and wondered about the many cars parked there, most of them with Austrian license plates. We were held up by more Austrian cars on the road but I quickly overtook them rushing up to the ski town of Sella Nevea.

It looked tranquil there – nobody was around and we relaxed again. On to the mountain road towards the Case di Pecol, a narrow and winding asphalt road which took us to the parking lot on the Altopiano di Montasio. Still nobody on the road…

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Three weeks in Caucasus.
Part 1 - Bezengi Three weeks in Caucasus. Part 1 - Bezengi  by arturf

This expedition was the first experience of climbing at altitude for me, as all my previous trips were in Tatra Mountains with summits below 2500m. I tried to describe extencively my feeling and thoughts in this article rather then technical details, as it is aimed to reflect an authentic impressions of a person, who is trekking and climbing at the altitude for the first time.

While thinking about going to higher mountains I found two main alternatives: Caucasus and Alps, so after studying pros and cons of both regions I decided to go to exotic Caucasus this time rather then to civilized Alps. This decision doesn't mean that I wouldn't like to go to Alps in future, I just found possibility to experience completely different Caucasus culture more tempting this time, then going to familiar Europe again.

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Success,
Failure, and the Staggering Magnificence of Mount Cleveland Success, Failure, and the Staggering Magnificence of Mount Cleveland  by Saintgrizzly

Although there are other routes, the goat-trail traverse across the Stoney Indian Peaks is the most scenic, shortest, and easiest way to do it. After crossing from the U.S. into Canada, taking the launch from the WatertonTownsite, then re-entering the U.S. at Goat Haunt, it is the most fun for your time. Besides, on the way across the eight miles of Upper Waterton Lake, among other nice things you get your first view of the famous and infamous Mount Cleveland North Face. So if you weren't psyched before, things are definitely improving, because you are now. Looking 6,000-and-some feet up to a summit not really all that far away, of which about 4,500 feet are precipitous and vertical, will do a number on you; trumpets blow in your mind, you want to scream at everyone else on the boat to "Look, look at that! For crying out loud, will you just LOOK!" But whatever else is going on in your head, no matter how the band plays, there is just this huge, gigantic monster-of-a-mountain sliding quietly through the view before the boat. Sitting there, silently doing its thing, while you go berserk at the unreasonable, incongruous size of it all.

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Solimana, Second Summit
Attempt Solimana, Second Summit Attempt  by Vic Hanson

Saturday morning we met Hugo at the terminal, had breakfast and then headed for Nevado Solimana. It was a beautiful clear spring day in Arequipa, but by the time we neared the high plain above Chuquibamba we couldn't see the mountains because of the clouds. We never did see Ampato but got some stormy glimpses of Coropuna as we drove around it. As the sun was setting behind Solimana, there were some dramatic views caused by the dark clouds, giving us cause for concern and a prayer for clearer weather for the next couple of days. We drove to where the road to Huachuy crosses the Soro River, and set up camp there. I had said in my previous report from last year that I thought it was at about 14,000 feet, but it actually is about 15,000 feet. We arrived after dark and had to search a bit, but were able to find a couple of suitable campsites. It was snowing lightly, but thankfully it didn't amount to much and soon stopped.

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