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A Matter of 49 vs 51 A Matter of 49 vs 51  by Gangolf Haub

„Warmth is overrated. A photographer doesn't need to be warm. It's the light that counts.“

I keep mumbling discontentedly as we are hiking through the village of Ardez in Graubünden's Unterengadin region in eastern Switzerland. We just parked our car at the local train station and are heading out for a long hike through the southern reaches of the Silvretta Group. We have just surfaced from a very rainy weekend, after which snow covered the mountains down to 2500m. Two days ago we made a first attempt on Plaschweller (2534m), one of the northernmost mountains of the Ortler Group. Yesterday – after being blown back out of the Schlinig Valley by ice cold and fierce winds – we hiked up to St. Martin im Kofel, a village “high” (1750m) up on Vinschgau's Sonnenberg, the sunny side of the valley. Today we intend to cross the Furcletta Saddle at 2800m. Just now we have been arguing about the direction and Judith has decided that we hike counter-clockwise. She figures that we'll have the morning sun warm us during our hike in Val Tasna in the east of the loop while the afternoon sun will do the same while we'll return through Val Tuoi on the western leg. I fear that I'll have to point my camera into the light, thus obtaining imperfect shots.

But who am I to complain? After all Judith holds 51% of the shares of our relationship...

Reynolds Mountain, Glacier
National Park Reynolds Mountain, Glacier National Park  by Brad Snider

It was brisk and sunny morning at Logan Pass, which I agree with Bob Sihler is easily the most fantastic setting of any trailhead I have visited. Two days earlier I had been introduced to the grandeur of Glacier National Park. Along the lower ramparts of Going-to-the-Sun Road, the aspens were at their peak of color. At the trailhead the tundra was a colorful autumn mix of reds, greens and yellows. And above it all rose the hulks and horns of some impressive mountain peaks. From Logan Pass, it was evident that the snow from a week earlier was intent on sticking to the north-facing slopes of the surrounding mountains. I had originally intended to climb the highly-exposed north face of Reynolds Mountain, but the approach from Logan Pass was the same no matter which route I chose, so I decided to get a better look at the face as I approached. Along the easy approach I had great views of Oberlin Peak, Clements Mountain and Bearhat Mountain.

Vevnica/Veunza and Via della Vita Mangart, Vevnica/Veunza and Via della Vita  by saman

As we continued our way, the rain began to fall. I asked the others' opinion about changing the plan and going to bivacco Nogara instead of risking the hart ferrata of Via della Vita, but they weren't so worried about the weather and finally we proceeded on the original route. The rain also stopped later, so it proved to be the right choice.

The ascent to the start of the ferrata however, wasn't as quick as the first walk in the forests of Fusine. It was four o'clock wher we reached it. We had another pause, take our harnesses and VF equipment, and some chocolate and raisins also:)

Probably the hardest point was the first few meters of cable in a chimney, with a steepness of more than 90 degrees. We had quite heavy rucksacks and they appeared to pull us back to the groung. Finally we managed to pass this point.

Devil's Head - West Ridge
5.4TR Devil's Head - West Ridge 5.4TR  by Bill Kerr

Devil’s Head did not go easily for us as we made several scouting trips and two serious attempts before we finally succeeded on our third try. We had decided to do the complete West ridge route versus the South gullies because we had heard the ridge was more interesting climbing and that the south gullies were apparently complicated, steep and very loose. At this time(1998) there were no decent pictures or route descriptions. The Rocky Mountains of Canada – South (aka little green bible) had a very cursory description of the original 1925 ascent. Basically ascend the West ridge and that the going was thin in places and the rock was very coarse. We decided to go in by Malamute Valley which is on the West side of Devil’s Head because of cliffs on the East and South side of the lower mountain and that was original approach route. Note there now is a trail that goes up a break in the cliffs on the SE side of the mountain by the Valley of the Birds. Malamute Valley is named for Al Dunham’s Malamute dog and all of the first ascent ice climbs that were done by Al and friends in the valley have names that are references to dogs.

Back to the Bitterroots Back to the Bitterroots  by Bob Sihler

In the year 2000 and again in 2002, my wife and I spent some time hiking and backpacking in Montana's Bitterroot Mountains, and I recounted some of those experiences in a 2006 trip report called "Appreciating the Bitterroots". That trip report got me into a little trouble with some of SP's Bitterroot fans and natives, who politely but firmly objected to my remarks about the dammed backcountry lakes, the poor trail conditions, and what to me was not a suitably alpine nature to the range itself (in short, too many trees even at the higher reaches of the peaks). But sometimes a little controversy can actually bring people together, and we all seemed to recognize in each other a love of mountains both rugged and remote. Invitations to show me the "real" Bitterroots ensued, friendships began, and, in July 2008, I finally made it out there, where I had the good fortune to spend a week with thephotohiker (Mike), with whom I'd done some hiking and climbing in Wyoming's Absaroka Range the year before.

The North Face of Glyder
Fach The North Face of Glyder Fach  by igneouscarl

Getting climbers to the same place and at the same time is harder than herding cats. When those climbers are either students or recent graduates dispersed across the country the difficulties are further compounded. So it was with a genuine sense of excitement and mild disbelief when the faces of the university mountaineering club pocked into my tent late on Friday night.

I had craftily negotiated a lift from Anna who was driving up from the south coast, and having driven up earlier in the day had managed to arrive first. On the journey up I had phoned my mum to get the latest forecast for Snowdonia. ‘A little cloudy’, was her answer, ‘with no adverse weather conditions such as rain or excessively high winds’. Armed with this forecast we were both confident of a long mountain day for Saturday, and I began to run through my mental list of earmarked routes.

Scrambling with an 11 Year
Old 2 - The Sequel Scrambling with an 11 Year Old 2 - The Sequel  by Stu Brandel

Earlier this year my 11 year old son Evan and I had discovered that scrambling gave us the best chance of mutual enjoyment of the outdoors and each other. Avoiding the long hikes I liked and spending more time rock clambering held Evan’s interest. Our first scrambling vacation in Zion had been mostly a success though it had its moments of trial and terror (see Scrambling with an 11 year old for how we fared). Now I would attempt to build on that experience in the High Sierra. But the never-ending struggle of Dad vs. Self would rear its head, and my desire for summit acquisitions would nearly derail my hopes.

Climbing into History: Crown
Mountain Climbing into History: Crown Mountain  by vancouver islander

For any student of the history of climbing on Vancouver Island, a trip to Crown Mountain is pretty well obligatory at some point in his or her alpine career. The Ellison Expedition of 1910 chose Crown as their principle objective and it was from the summit of this lovely peak that the glory of the high peaks of Strathcona Park to the south became apparent to all and sundry for the first time. The fact that Price Ellison, the expedition’s leader, was also Minister for Lands in the provincial government of the day meant that official incorporation of the Park followed not long after the group’s return to civilization. The first ascent of Crown, therefore, was pivotal in the creation of an incomparable resource that generations of visitors continue to enjoy almost a century later.

Alta Via Resiana, 23-26 Oct
2008 Alta Via Resiana, 23-26 Oct 2008  by saman

During the past few(?) years I'd made several trips to the Julian Alps, but somehow I've always felt that I must return later. I've seen the Canin massif from the Montasio, later from the Mangart. This autumn finally I managed to organize a trip to this mountain itself. I was accompanied by four of my friends: Anikó, Peti, Félix and Mop

Euro Sampler Euro Sampler  by rpc

So there we were – sitting around the kitchen table shaking our heads in a merry disbelief. Ahead of us lay a stretch of free time we’ve never faced before: 8 weeks! It was finally here. We had spent the last few months prior trying to decide how exactly to burn it – use it for going back to some familiar places around the western United States and trying to dispatch some of our bigger goals or try something different? Though initially leaning toward the former, in the end (and with the suggestion of our friends) we went for the latter. Yes Sir! A two-month circuit of stamp-collecting conventions it was going to be!!

Our climbing trip started with a whole shitload of driving (two shitloads in fact!) and little climbing. Drove down to California only to fail. Drove back up to Portland. Picked up our dog Blondie and spent the next three days driving the 3000 miles to the east coast where Blondie would spend the summer with my parents. A week into our trip and the only thing we really succeeded on was climbing my parents’ roof (to fix a leaky tile) – a project that I initially felt would go at 5.7 R (slab) but the roof material proved too slippery and the challenge was eventually solved A0-style ala FA of Lost Arrow Spire. With this boost in our climbing confidence (not to mention a sealed leak) we set off for Europe via Newark, Amsterdam, and eventually Venice where we spent 3 days sightseeing while being squeezed to death by the crowds. Finally we picked up our tiny rental car and my brief Euro-driving career began and ended in the rental parking lot where I stole on take off and endured much verbal and sign language abuse from an irate Italian driver. From here on, Shirley did all the driving in Europe with her superior manual transmission skills. Later that day we were in Castelrotto planning our first day of Dolomite climbing.

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