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A Stellar time in the Court
of Oval A Stellar time in the Court of Oval  by Mike Lewis

The last couple days of September Fletcher asked me to join him on Courtney, Star and Oval Peaks in the Chelan Sawtooths. Given that the Larches were peaking, weather was looking perfect and I missed that show last year, I had to go. Given the long ride out there from Kirkland, we arrived at the TH sometime after 11am on the 29th. Going over Washington Pass we had excellent views of the foliage and knew we were in for a treat. I was excited to be packed very light and testing a new camera on the gorgeous scene. Unfortunately the camera turned out to be a let down, but I'll see about using some of Fletcher's phone pics. The Buttermilk Road was in decent shape except for a large ditch near the last mile where clearance of 9 inches or so might be handy. The trail itself was open and easy dirt/soot. The soot on the trail from older fires came up in plumes, though, and gave both me and Fletcher a hard time when it became suspended. I suspect there may have been some damage to the lungs. Oh well, worth it.

Val Fedaria
Circuit (Livigno, Italy) Val Fedaria Circuit (Livigno, Italy)  by damgaard

My summer vacation for 2015 went to the Alps, again, and part of it was spent in the town of Livigno in northern Italy. In the winter Livigno is a major skiing town that in the summer takes good advantage of the skilifts for hiking and especially mountainbiking (MTB). Many of the hiking trails have thus been optimized for MTB and the trails and surrounding scenery are great.

On one MTB trip I had taken the Carosello 3000 lift up from Livigno to the mountain ridge west of the town. From the ridge you have a great view of the next valley, Val Federia, the valley floor lying some 800 meters lower. When enjoying the view I noticed the row of mountains that surrounded Val Fedaria and wondered, if it was possible to hike/scramble around to all these, and thus more or less possible to walk all the way around Val Fedaria. My map (a somewhat crude hiking/MTB map that they sell in shops in Livigno) showed only trails on a very little part of the route, but from my viewpoint on the ridge it looked doable.

A Long Overdue Trip Out of
Smokemont A Long Overdue Trip Out of Smokemont  by MarkDidier

It’s not that I dislike the mountains of North Carolina. In fact, it’s the exact opposite. When it comes to the southern Appalachians my love affair has always been with western North Carolina. This goes back a long way, back to 82’, on my first trip to the mountains. It was all those glorious views I had while I pedaled the Blue Ridge Parkway. Besides riding my bike through the Smokies, and into North Carolina over Newfound Gap, I was fortunate enough to spend a week pedaling the entire Parkway. For three of those days I was blessed with countless western North Carolina vistas. For a first timer to the mountains, it was love at first site! When I returned home, and reminisced about that trip, western Carolina stood out as my favorite area. And to this day, when it comes to the southern Appalachians, yes, Carolina is the most special to me.

Hiking The
Box, Utah's Pine Creek Canyon Hiking The Box, Utah's Pine Creek Canyon  by nader

Pine Creek originates in southern Utah’s Aquarius Plateau at an elevation of 10100 ft and heads south to reach Escalante River. On its way down the plateau, between the elevations of 7800 to 6400 ft, Pine Creek carves a deep canyon that is referred to as The Box. A trail follows the creek at the bottom of the canyon. Since a road gives access to the upper and lower trailheads, The Box is often hiked as a 9 mile long one-way trip down the canyon.

My lovely wife Mary and I left our vacation rental home in Escalante, UT at 6:40 a.m. and went on Posey Lake Road which turned out to be a well graded dirt road. The sun had not risen yet. The road headed north on a plateau with juniper trees and other pretty desert shrubs. An impressive line of white colored cliffs could be seen to the east. After 7.3 miles, we reached a short spur road that went to the lower trailhead. The road was actually closed to vehicles but parking was available at the beginning of the spur road. The plan was for Mary to drop me off at the upper trailhead and pick me up here at the end of the hike.

Gorge-A New Marcy Route (Cat on a Wet Tin Roof) 2015 June 14 Panther Gorge-A New Marcy Route (Cat on a Wet Tin Roof) 2015 June 14  by MudRat

Panther Gorge, ah, the constant call in the back of my mind drew me again on June 14th. It was only two weeks since my last visit with Adam Crofoot and Allison Rooney, but my body felt up to the challenge. Bill Schneider, a veteran of the area that added new rock climbing routes during 2003 and 2004 joined me--. His goal was the same—to explore the unexplored.

We hadn’t climbed together so we discussed logistics on June 6th and decided to meet at the Rooster Comb Trailhead at 4:45 am the following morning. We’d leave a car below and drive one up to the Garden trailhead in case parking was at a premium.

Making Colorado 14ers More
Interesting Making Colorado 14ers More Interesting  by ajberry

I have mixed feelings about the Colorado 14ers phenomenon. It’s great that the peak-bagging craze has stimulated lots of people to spend time in, and to appreciate, the mountains. But, at the same time, I think it’s a pity to introduce a competitive box-checking mentality into an activity that should, for me at least, be primarily about the aesthetics of what you’re doing — about challenging yourself in a beautiful, wild place and about engaging fully with every aspect of that environment. Because the 14ers are so popular, they tend to be crowded, which, selfishly, I suppose, is not how I like my mountains. One of the reasons I for one go to the mountains, after all, is to escape my fellow human beings. But there’s a silver lining to this: because the 14-ers serve so effectively as hiker magnets, every other peak is wonderfully neglected. One of my favourite of Colorado’s mountains is the Sawatch Grizzly Peak, which, at 13,988’, is Colorado’s highest non-14er; because of those missing 12 feet, you can be pretty sure, even in high season, that you won’t meet a soul all day.

Not getting to Goat
Mountain Not getting to Goat Mountain  by Noondueler

This is the third crisis episode in the Mendocino National Forest for me in just over a years time. Back in September last year I was caught out in the dark on Horse Mountain and had to be rescued in the middle of the night. Then this spring I spun off the road way up by High Glade and was hopelessly stuck. I managed to get out. Having hiked and climbed mountains around the state for many years and had few mishaps but I was a bit on guard this time on a planned trip to Goat Mountain`in the Mendocino N.F..

The Route Less Traveled -
North Timp Loop The Route Less Traveled - North Timp Loop  by Rocky Alps

As far as mountain views along the various scenic roads around the Wasatch go, in my opinion the most impressive peak in the range is North Timpanogos. Driving towards American Fork Canyon you can see how it towers over the surrounding area, and glimpsing it from anywhere along the northern part of the Alpine Loop or from Tibble Fork Reservoir will make you want to climb it. For all of you numbers geeks out there like me, its 11,383-foot sub-summit has a spire measure of over 400, securely placing it near the top of the steepest mountains list for the state of Utah (omnidirectional relief & steepness is one way to quantitatively measure a mountain’s steepness, and thereby infer how rugged and/or impressive it may appear from various angles). To highlight why this is special it is worth noting that for all of the impressive mountains in the neighboring state of Colorado, none of them have a spire measure this high.

Despite how eye-catching this peak is, it is seldom climbed, primarily due to the overwhelming popularity of its more well-known summit to the south (the main summit of Mount Timpanogos). While most people hike up to the saddle below the main summit, make the long ridge traverse to the north to get North Timpanogos, and then go back the way they came, I wanted to somehow hike it as a loop.

Mountain - Reflections Wright Mountain - Reflections  by awilsondc

2015 has been an amazing year in the mountains for me. I’ve been on some memorable trips with spectacular views and each time I think I’ve gone on the “hike of the year”, next week impresses even more! I think part of it has been going early. For the last few years I’ve been a get to the trailhead before sunrise kind of guy. The morning is a magical place in the mountains. I’ve got to witness some spectacular scenery that a few hours later in the day looks… ordinary. This trip is a perfect example.

After a few taxing hikes I wanted to do something easy. I had my eye on Wright Mountain, going up past Snow and Gem lakes in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness for a while and decided to give it a go. Now 11 miles and around 3000 ft elevation gain might not sound easy, in fact my wife still referred to it as a “torture hike”, but it sounded like a perfect relaxing day in the mountains. I got up early and hit the road, reaching the trailhead by sunrise (about 7). The Alpental parking lot was filling up quick. I grabbed my pack and headed to the trailhead. There was a lone female hiker at the permit station waiting for someone. I filled out my permit and hit the trail. The forecast had been a little sketchy.

The Valley
Fire The Valley Fire  by Noondueler

I went up behind the house and saw a huge cloud of black grey smoke billowing several thousand feet above the west side of Boggs Mountain. The front of the blaze a mere 3 miles away on the other side of the mountain raging up out of Cobb Valley. A DC 9 along with the other planes was also circling overhead every few minutes. I got a frantic call from Christopher whose house was up the side of Boggs directly in the path. He wanted me to come help him get his cats out. I headed over immediately but the roads were already blocked. I got hold of him an hour or so later and his house was already gone.By 6 pm the police car with loud speaker came down the road "mandatory evacuation".

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