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Mountain in Winter: One of the Sangres Finest Summit Views Marble Mountain in Winter: One of the Sangres Finest Summit Views  by shknbke

My boss gave me a comp day for working on a Saturday this month, so I decided to use it on a mid-week hike when the forecast was nice. "Nice" is a relative term in the high country though. I enjoyed a nice snowshoe outing in the Sangres with my wife, cousin, and friends over the weekend, so I decided to head back and take advantage of the decent snow conditions. Pete was the only taker for this mid-week hike, and it turned out to be a classic with views I will never forget.

Pete and I left C. Springs and we noticed some spindrift coming off some of the buildings. Not a good sign! We made the familiar drive down to Westcliffe and made our way up our old friend South Colony Rd (CR-120). The road is plowed to CR-121 at 8600'. I put the 4Runner in four low and decided to see if I could get to the pullout just beyond the 2WD trailhead. I followed a snowmobile track for a bit until the wheels started sinking. We called it good at 8900'. It was entertaining going down this as there wasn't enough room to turn around without getting stuck!

Mount Stephen Scramble TR -
Route Discussion Mount Stephen Scramble TR - Route Discussion  by Bill Kerr

My buddy, Gary, had unsuccessfully tried to climb Mount Stephen 2 or 3 times before so he was really keen to finally get this one. On one trip Gary was stopped near the top by snow and ice and on his most recent attempt he had accidentally knocked off a sharp rock which had cut his knee for 20 + stitches. The scramble is rated as a difficult in Kane’s Scrambles in the Canadian Rockies and the elevation gain is about 1950 m which is the most gain of any trip in the book.

The biggest impediment on this scramble is the requirement for a permit to pass by the world famous fossil beds which are a world heritage site. These permits must be obtained in person (with picture ID) the day of the climb after 9:00AM or the day before you climb which means you have to stay overnight and then you have to take what you get for weather. Campgrounds in the area are always full during August and especially if the weather is good. We decided to go out the evening before and just sleep in Gary’s van and go early since it was going to be a hot day.

Knocking on
Heaven’s Door: Accident on Martin's Route Knocking on Heaven’s Door: Accident on Martin's Route  by brade

I surprisingly found myself standing on a small ledge trying to diagnose all of my injuries at once. My right hand was badly bleeding and my trousers were torn below my left knee. I couldn’t find any more visible signs of the fall I’d just taken. My legs and right hand were in great pain but luckily none of them was broken. “Aaaaaaachhhhhhh!” my sore body made an uncontrolled hissing noise. I couldn’t see Jck but I was able to imagine his face at the moment. He stood at the other end of a ten meter long piece of rope, with no belay between us. We were halfway along one of the longest routes in these mountains, had less than half an hour of daylight left to find a proper bivy spot on an airy ridge and I was hurt… we were in trouble.

R2R2R: Jacob Lake to South Rim and back Winter R2R2R: Jacob Lake to South Rim and back  by Dmitry Pruss

Having visited the Grand Canyon for the first time the previous summer, I was awestruck by its majesty, and by people's accounts of speedy crossings. I knew that my body won't appreciate doing it in the warmer months, and so I was quite elated to discover a trip report by two Phoenix guys outlining how it can be done on skis (the trick is that the winter closure of the North Rim adds over 40 miles one way to the trip!). Another source of inspiration have been the old TRs of the founding fathers of Utah ultrarunning who were also experimenting, decades ago, with what they called "fastpacking" in my favorite Uinta Mountains. Adding two and two together, I got all fired up about a possibility of skiing + fastpacking across the Grand Canyon.

With the potential partners all peeling off, I figured that the weather and the Moon would be my most reliable friends for a solo recon trip. I wasn't quite sure what I will find out about the terrain and about myself, but I had 10 days to spare & ended up doing a full R2R2R in 5 days, for a grand total of approximately 150 miles. 100 miles of skiing and 50 on foot give or take.

Provo Peak
via Rock Canyon - The Third Time's the Charm Provo Peak via Rock Canyon - The Third Time's the Charm  by Moogie737

November 25, 2008. Asserting just a hint of my yen to be a maverick, I wished my usual hiking group well and drove to Provo, the idea being to top out on yet one more Wasatch 11,000er. I would drive to the Rock Canyon CG and hike up to the summit. Only 3,700' of elevation gain; about 6 miles r/t, 3.5 miles on graded road. Piece of cake.

As soon as I saw the sign I was glad I was in my little Toyota for the 9.5 miles of serpentining asphalt and gravel. But the Forest Service had Enlarge Nothing on the sign to indicate that the road was closed for the winter months! already made other plans for me. One half mile up the road I came to the closed steel gate which barred me from further passage. What the hey! You mean to say I had driven 35 miles for nothing? Let's see, if I cruise back to where my usual group was going I would be way too late to overhaul them. What to do...

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

“Stefan, Stefan” I cried out as I approached his body, my mind trying to comprehend what had occurred. In the snow below lay my partner who had fallen during his descent of the Polish Direct route. This shouldn’t have happened. Death in the mountains was something we read about in books and magazines not something we expect to experience. In the days preceding the accident circumstances had conspired to place us in a position where we could climb the route together but never did such an outcome ever occur to me. As I continued my descent I again called out to him but no reply ever came. When I finally reached my new friend he was gone. There was nothing I could do but sit beside him and mourn his loss.

An Escapade of a Father and
His Sons An Escapade of a Father and His Sons  by tioga

It all started in April, when my brother and I were visiting what would be one of the least recognized mountains within the Appalachians, if it were not a state highpoint; Cheaha Mountain. In April I completed 7 southern state highpoints, while on a business trip to Memphis and my brother had joined me on a couple of these mountains. While climbing that highest peak in Alabama we chatted about other trips we would like to do in the future. Many crossed our minds, but one mountain seemed to steal attention from all others, due to its proximity in the east and its fame as one of the roughest, most isolated peaks in the eastern United States. We wanted to climb the Beast of the East, the mile-high mountain, the northern terminus of the Appalachian Trail, the Knife Edge; we were desiring to climb Mt Katahdin. This mountain had always been a possibility for us, but it just seemed too far away and with other mountains (Adirondacks, White Mountains, Green Mountains, etc.) much closer, we never gave it much thought. As I usually do, I joked about taking a trip to central Maine to climb Katahdin, but my brother responded in a serious tone. He had apparently given it some thought and was willing to make the sacrifice to get to Maine. It took me very little time to start thinking of it as a real possibility. Many obstacles stood in our way and much planning had to be done, but we wanted to see this mass of rock and climb its ancient slopes too much to let anything stand in our way. It became not only a possibility, but a date set on our calendars.

Traverse of
the Fünffingerspitze Traverse of the Fünffingerspitze  by mvs

It was their first climb in the Dolomites, first climb in the Alps. It had to be a great one, right? These were my best buds...Theron, veteran of so many climbs with me. Carlos, in some ways an alpine "newbie," but damn tough and strong under his saintly demeanor.

Despite 3 years apart, coming together was just like the last time we saw each other. Is it climbing that does that, or the internet, or is that just friendship? You pick up where you left off, happy to slide into your old role, like a well-known stick shift.

T-Bolt to Sill Traverse T-Bolt to Sill Traverse  by m_dquist

After getting snowed out on Memorial Day Weekend on our attempt on the U-Notch, we decided to head back up to the Palisades for a shot at the traverse. Once again we brought our favorite mascot along, my Dad. He's been getting a kick out of coming along on our trips to hang out at camp and take photos of the surrounding mountains on his own day hikes while we climb. Unable to get a Wilderness Permit for Thursday or Friday entry on Labor Day weekend, we were forced to get one for Wednesday. Since we all had to work Wednesday AND Thursday, we drove up after work Thursday from San Francisco and arrived in Bishop late that evening. After shopping at Vons and packing at Paul's house, Brett and I polished off a 12-pack of Tecate to make the hike in more interesting, much to my dad's chagrin. He wasn't too impressed with the walk in in the dark, and even less so by our shenanigans. Maybe he should have had some beer with us, he probably would have enjoyed the hike in at 2 AM as much as we did.

Nemesis: our Christmas Day
tradition Nemesis: our Christmas Day tradition  by pvalchev

Me and Jason are making a tradition of getting out on Christmas Day for some ice action - last year, we climbed The Sorcerer in the Ghost. This year, there were several posts online from people climbing Nemesis in November, so we decided to get amongst. :) Unfortunately, the end of December brought frigid -30 C temperatures so there didn't seem to be much climbing going on - who wants to climb when it's that cold?!

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