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Reality Check on Pica Peak Reality Check on Pica Peak  by Moni

A few weeks ago, Fred went up to the Washington Pass area, near the Liberty Bell group, to climb Wallaby Peak and Copper Point, while I was caring for a friend who had had surgery. He spied a nice looking peak that sits between Copper Point and Early Winter Spire. It looked like it might be a good climb with a short approach. According to the Beckey guide, it is Pica Peak (labeled only as 7565 on the USGS quad sheet). Subsequent research also came up with an alternate name of Poster Peak. Its east ridge route is locally known as Blue Buttress and depending on which trip report you read, this is either a fabulous climb or sort of a dog, anywhere from 5.3 to 5.7 and anywhere from 9 to 12 pitches.

Great weather was forecast this past weekend and since we are back teaching college, it’s hard to get away for anything long, so we thought to give this climb a shot.

Huascaran Sur Huascaran Sur  by albanberg

We set out to do the normal Garganta route, which has been back open again. We used a guide service that I found a link to on SummitPost. The guides seemed very good to me, but I’m new. Jackie didn’t mention the guides being any less competent than high-end U.S. guides.

We took a cab from Huaraz to Musho. We left our porter and the arriero (mule driver) to deal with the gear and started our hike in. It was hot and we went very slow, which was fine. We had no gear to carry! It was about four or five hours to base camp. We met a group of Austrians that were going up and we followed them and their guide up to camp.

Quest to 10,000 ft Quest to 10,000 ft  by Smoove910

I had been frequenting Facebook for a few months now and a couple weeks ago I was revisited by an old friend I haven't seen in about 14 years. When seeing the friend request and who it was, my mind was flooded with old memories and good times we used to have back in our 'wild' days'. Cruising the town of Boise, partying, mischievous pranks on each other, etc. was usually the norm for a couple summers of my life before becoming a parent, therefore when seeing Matt's friend request I HAD to accept and catch up on old times. In a message from him, he had stated how he was a huge outdoor fanatic and would absolutely love to go out on a hike with me. 'Oh really ', I thought….

Losing a
New Friend on Aconcagua’s Polish Direct Losing a New Friend on Aconcagua’s Polish Direct  by Brad Marshall

At the time my decision to partner with Stefan didn’t seem unwise though some of you may see it that way. Although we had never climbed together previously, the Polish Direct route is not technically difficult and I was confident in my abilities to control the situation.

South Maroon Peak-back to
the Elk Range South Maroon Peak-back to the Elk Range  by myrone

Countless other peaks as far as one could see and ideal weather with scattered clouds and plenty of sunshine with a slight cooling breeze. We all congratulated each other with hand shakes and photos and enjoyed our high perch for a long rest, some food & drink and more photos as Mike had found a wooden sign jammed in the rocks with “14000” printed on it and we all posed “mug shot” fashion with the “plaque” held in front……….fun.

Ben Nevis deep snow in May Ben Nevis deep snow in May  by edwardmw

This is a trip report in which I took the ridge of Carn Mòr Dearg (CMD) to approach Ben Nevis and came down with the tourist route. I will also mention how to take public transport (train/flight) to Fort William from London so that a weekend/long weekend climb to Ben Nevis is possible. The photos taken in early May with still full of snow are stunning (2009 appeared to have very cold winter), rain, storm, fog, hailstone and sunshine all in one day.

I climbed
the Dragon's Tail, and I got the sunburn to prove it (and REI has gone soft). I climbed the Dragon's Tail, and I got the sunburn to prove it (and REI has gone soft).  by Bob Sihler

Yes, that's right-- On Tuesday, August 11, 2009, I climbed Dragon's Tail with Blake and Walt, and I got the sunburn to prove it!

I don't quite remember how I "met" Blake here. Probably, we noticed from each other's submissions that we shared a passion for Montana's Glacier National Park, which is, and I don't care what anyone else says otherwise, the most beautiful place in this country. Blake is a native Montanan; I am merely a wannabe Montanan.

I "met" Walt a little over two years ago when he called me out on something pretty outrageous I wrote in a Prate and Prattle thread. That began a dialogue that led to a mutual respect (I think), bolstered by the facts that we went to neighboring high schools at the same time and that we have both done a fair deal of soloing at the local crags-- he back in the day and I more recently.

A LONG day out on Italian
Ridge A LONG day out on Italian Ridge  by Nigel Lewis

Steve Kedward and I had booked a 9 days in the Alps and had been steadily acclimatising on the Valais East peaks around The Breithorn area. The weather had been changeable at the start of the week and we had not been able to see The Matterhorn because of cloud on a few days.

Our aim was to climb to The Carel Hut, stay overnight and summit via The Italian Ridge the next day. If the hut was quiet, we might stay a night on descent or just push on down to the valley.

Finally, we got the forecast we wanted and we were off!

An Expedition in the
Bolivian Andes An Expedition in the Bolivian Andes  by BLong

After a lame day-trip consisting of a very short acclimatization hike to the Chacaltaya Mountain (5,400 meters, see topo map) we met our cook and trekking guide and set out for Q'ara Quta Lake. Once we reached the lake, we set up a camp and met our arriero (muleteer). The camp was in a wild, beautiful alpine valley, and even included a fairly well constructed toilet. It is important to bring small bills to pay local co-ops for camping while you will be trekking. The next day we hiked east, following a trail up a ridge, down into another beautiful valley, and up onto a plateau. That night we camped at Laguna Ajwañi. On the third day we hiked to the Condoriri Base Camp. The elevation throughout the three days varied between 3,800 - 5,200 meters. While the Condoriri Base Camp can be reached in a day from La Paz, we wanted to use the additional time for further acclimatization. If you want to do this hike on your own, it is outlined in Yossi Brain's book Trekking in Bolivia: A Traveler's Guide.

Shitty Day on Prodigal Sun Shitty Day on Prodigal Sun  by rpc

Shirley later told me that I yelled “ROCK!” but I do not recall. Whatever the noise was, it instantly directed our gazes skywards. My eyes locked-on to an object clearing the rim 500-600 feet directly above me. HAULBAG! I thought to myself. I would later find out that Shirley was tracking a large rock that sailed left in her direction while not really noticing the larger “object” that had my undivided attention. She was trying to make herself small under the slight overhang/dihedral that marks the start of P4. Did I mention that time flowed like molasses? I felt frozen yet my memories of those seconds are crisp. I was hanging below the ledge with nowhere to go. All I could do was watch and so I did. A tiny fraction of a second later, my brain shifted gears to “BASE JUMPER!” I assume I made out limbs by that point. I followed the person with my gaze hoping I could shift my position at the last moment if needed. With a horrendous sound of rushing air, the person flew behind me and slightly to my right. Close. My eyes followed. I don’t know why. I wish I would have looked away. By the time they passed my position I knew that shit was not right. We were less than 300 feet above the ground. I have no clue about base jumping but it seemed improbable that things would turn out well. And then came the impact on the rock slab marking the top of the rock band at the base of the wall. The body ricocheted into the brush below the rock band. We saw a small object falling by us slowly. A small pack and jacket. We knew then it was not a base jumper. I saw small papers gently floating down as well. Without thinking I grabbed one as it floated past my face. It was a twenty dollar bill. I recall telling Shirley not to look down. But there was nothing to see. The brush below obstructed any evidence of the tragedy. I thought “suicide” – there was no scream, no struggle. Shirley did not see this and was asking whether I was sure it was a person. I was.

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