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Meandering through the
Mosquito range... Meandering through the Mosquito range...  by maverick

NOAA conjured up a fantastic weekend forecast for the high country in general and the stage seemed well set for a 14er. After some incessant haggling I managed to convince Joe to give up delectable alpine ice routes to climb a mind-numbing heap of rubble instead. The plan included lugging skis to the top and finding something worthwhile to ski down. Neither of us had been up in the high country in over a month thanks to extended vacations at or below sea level. We were both interested in a warm-up and were both interested in a preliminary snowpack assessment. I was also excited to test my newly acquired overkill mitts (OR Alti mitts) on a winter 14er for the first time. We also carried standard avalanche gear – Beacon, probe, shovel plus first aid kits, sam splint, spare parts, stove and emergency bivy gear.

We got to the winter trailhead at 8:15AM after driving around for a little while and getting stared down fiercely by an honest gas station owner whose bathroom I shamelessly used without purchasing any of his fine goods. Trailhead directions from 14ers.com mention taking Monroe Street to Toledo St. at the South end of downtown Leadville. It’s probably worth noting that Monroe Street is now unmarked where it meets US 24. If you see a turnoff for CR-6 on your left while following 14ers.com directions, you’ve gone too far.

21 mile day - Mt. Elliot
(UT) 21 mile day - Mt. Elliot (UT)  by Dean

After finishing off the Knob (San Rafael Knob), Andy and I drove back to Green River (I-70) and grabbed some dinner (Subway) and gas for our last mountain which we were to do the next day. We met Kadee at the pre-determined location where we all camped for the evening. Kadee had some knowledge of what we were going to be dealing with the next day and she shared that with us so we were aware of what we were looking forward too. She also amazed me with her Verizon phone's ability to get a signal at where we camped, that was impressive in and of itself.

Early the next morning, we all piled into my truck and drove the last mile or so from the spot where we camped to where the road was blocked. We left the truck and walked around the obstruction and headed for our first objective, the Price river. Initially the first mile or two was pretty much a downhill trek that eventually took us to the river and we made the crossing, with the Price river running cold and higher than I thought it'd be. Fortunately I'd brought some river sandals to aid in the crossing and that helped a lot on the rocky bottom. All of us made it across with no problems but we also realized that the river would be running a bit higher when we hit it again later in the day.

Harvard &
Columbia in Winter: Jekyll & Hyde Harvard & Columbia in Winter: Jekyll & Hyde  by shknbke

Harvard in winter is a daunting proposition made difficult by a long approach. The most reasonable way is via the standard route with variations to avoid avy concerns, but you add a little over 6 miles round trip to the summer stats since the N. Cottonwood Creek road is not plowed beyond 9080'. With a long New Year's weekend, we decided to give it a shot.

Ken was nice enough to invite us to stay at his place n.w. of Buena Vista just minutes from our winter trailhead. We had a nice spaghetti feast and discussed the 3 route options in winter for Harvard. We decided on the Horn Fork Basin approach hoping that we would find a track for at least part of the way. Ken Nolan was nice enough to show Dwight where we could park, and Dwight did a few donuts on the road for good measure. Luckily it wasn't as slick the next morning! Ken and Jean decided to check off another grid point for La Plata and headed out New Year's morning an hour or so before us.

Not the
Wright Mountain: An Avalanche Tale Not the Wright Mountain: An Avalanche Tale  by EastKing

Rarely do I ever write about trips where there wasn't a succesful summit involved. However this trip up Wright Mountain was an eye opener and well worth writing about. Thought the trip lasted maybe six hours, there was quiet a strong potential for this trip ending much more differently than it did. We all learned plenty of lessons on this trip and the trip made all of us stronger. The the largest lesson from this trip report is to always be aware of everything around you and don't always trust the avalanche forecast.

Winter always has its surprises and today was a classic example of an avalanche surprise. Avalanche conditions were supposed to be low today but that didn’t quite turn out to be the case with the mountain that we picked. Wright Mountain was not the right mountain and luckily we found that out before something serious happened. I think all us of feel very glad that the outcome was so positive.

Gimpilator, Josh, Gabe, FZTE, and I decided to take a shot at Wright Mountain, which in summer is a fairly easy 12 mile 3000 foot elevation gain mountain right from the Alpental Ski Area. In summer this mountain can be done in four to five hours. There is a great boot path that goes right around Snow Lake and head right up to Gem Lake. From there it is just a minor scramble to the summit of Wright Mountain. As you will see here Wright Mountain takes on a different character in winter.

Stone Mountain Preschool Stone Mountain Preschool  by rpc

So there we were with some left over vacation days that needed a burning. We both felt as though we’ve had our fill of lonely Christmases somewhere in the deserts of the southwest sitting around some random Chinese buffet on Christmas Eve…and most especially those lonely Christmas trips where shitty weather had prohibited much (sometimes all) actual climbing. We checked the guidebooks and the forecasts, packed the presents, grabbed a rack and headed for my parents’ place in western New Jersey . A great family fun-filled Christmas followed with its usual heavy doses of overeating and oversleeping interrupted by much sofa surfing. Shirley kept herself in shape with the usual running regimen while I worked my liver extra hard. Though we all managed to get in a nice family hike a short distance up the Appalachian Trail , that apparently was not enough to keep me from growing an extra ass. The post Christmas week forecast to the north was calling for shitty weather while the forecasts to the south looked a little less shitty.

The Frigid
Ice Climbing Experience The Frigid Ice Climbing Experience  by noahs213

With that, me and my partner, Jeff, were excited to go to the Lincoln Icefall. We planned to winter camp so we could get two days of ice climbing in. The plans were set for December 26-27, 2009. I had a plan for which climbs we would do but as you may know, climbing usually never goes according to plan. I was very excited to get on the ice though.

An Adventure in the Desert An Adventure in the Desert  by McCannster

Granite Peak is a prominent mountain in Northwest Nevada that I had had my eye on for a number of years. 9 years to be exact. I first saw the peak when I was 10 years old, when we were driving to Burning Man for my first burn. I'm not sure why, but it was one of those peaks that never left my mind after I saw it; I had to climb it. And finally, during a car camping trip in late Spring of 2009, we did.

It was day two of our trip, and Rad, Al, Ben, and myself had just woken up on the shores of Pyramid Lake, some 50 miles south of the peak. Al and Rad were content on hanging out at the lake while Ben and I went on our hike, so after a quick breakfast, Ben and I set out. Our trip was briefly delayed while we tried to drive the Volvo out of the sandy beach. The car was no match for the thick sand. Luckily, a guy with a huge F-350 was parked a little ways down the beach, and he was able to pull us out of the sand. Within minutes Ben and I were on the road heading south to Nixon, where we would turn north onto Highway 447 towards the Granite Range.

But, but, but … there’s
a parking lot nearby But, but, but … there’s a parking lot nearby  by Gangolf Haub

In the mountains, don’t go near crowded places! - Judith and I usually heed that warning as we enjoy to be on our own to take all the time I need or want. Clueless tourist crowds get on our nerves and serve as a perfect repellent. We don’t really avoid the places they flock to but nothing attracts us there. You won’t find us in Zermatt or Chamonix though undoubtedly there is a host of reasons why we should go there. On the other hand we don’t exactly avoid crowded places and on a regular basis we find ourselves joining the throng. Sometimes we even return for a second time like to the summit of Teide on Tenerife even though the crowds up there are among the worst you can find anywhere on this planet. Flip-floppers on the highest mountain of Spain – you get the idea…

There’s one other place – the plateau of Drei Zinnen / Tre Cime – to which we keep returning. Like the Cañadas del Teide the heart of the Sexten / Sesto Dolomites is incredibly beautiful and impressive – though on a quite different level. Also it draws huge crowds, which - though not quite as ugly as on Teide - are not far behind. This is the story of my last visit to the place but it requires a bit of preparation.

Cochise Redemption Cochise Redemption  by rpc

Having found a good airfare deal from Portland to Phoenix, Shirley & I fly in Friday night after work. A quick two-hour drive puts us in Benson, Arizona & an even quicker night of sleep is followed by an early rise. Morning hike up to the Rockfellows Group and once again we are at the base of the classic Endgame…Shirley with her fond memories of leading the beautiful first pitch and I with my less fond memories of popping a shoulder. It is cold and the sky is cloudy. It’s best not to linger too long in such circumstances or there’s a chance that the desire for a hot breakfast in town might win out. Shirley starts up the familiar first pitch. Crimps to first bolt. Slab moves to third bolt.

My First
Snowdonian Winter My First Snowdonian Winter  by Big Benn

Snowdonia is an area of mountains in North West Wales, UK. A large part of the area, (838 square miles), has been designated as a National Park: no surprise there, it is an area of outstanding natural beauty. In places, by UK standards, quite desolate as well. The mountains in Snowdonia are not high by any standards. The highest, Snowdon, is just 3560 feet.

But the National Park has sea to it’s North, West, and to smaller extent, part of the South. Mainly surrounded by the Irish sea, from which dramatically fast changes in weather can originate. So, whilst Snowdon and many other mountains in the area may be no higher than the foothills of many well known mountains ranges elsewhere in Europe and wider afield, they can be subject to quite severe weather.

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