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Gannett Peak: The Ridiculous
Way Gannett Peak: The Ridiculous Way  by crussellbowden

Last year I climbed my first mountain. The moderate, reliable talus slopes of Mount Woodring in the Tetons terrified this sport climber, used to crimping on nickel-edge rails that don't budge with your weight. Devastated I didn't enjoy mountaineering, but trying to humorously shrug it off, I called Mount Woodring, Mount Wouldn'tring...the next week my buddies wanted to climb the classic east face of Teewinot, and I replied, "More like Teewi-not in your lifetime!" Well, I did it, I hated it, and I started to love it. I loved doing something that I was totally uncomfortable with, and having that in-the-moment realization that I was overcoming personal fears and self-doubt. I was committed to becoming a mountaineer, despite the mental challenges I'd clearly have to wrestle with.

Tower One Way Sunset (to the top) and other routes Devil's Tower One Way Sunset (to the top) and other routes  by StephAbegg

A recent week-long climbing trip to the Cirque of the Towers inspired me to want to climb in the nearby Deep Lake area, an area that is less crowded than the Cirque but apparently has just as good of climbing. So I made a post on mountainproject.com looking for a partner. Eric responded to my post, and we made plans to meet at the trailhead a few days later. But an unforeseen wave of never-ending thundershowers settled in over the Wind River Range and thwarted our plans (the dismal NOAA forecast). So where to go? I tossed out the idea of Devil's Tower, a climbing destination I had always wanted to check out. Devil's Tower was about 7 hours drive further east, and the weather looked great there. A little hot perhaps, but we figured we could chase the shade around the Tower and be fine. So to Devil's Tower we went.

We hung out at Devil's Tower for 4 days, climbing 3 of these days and photographing prairie dogs on the other day. I was impressed with the quality of the climbing on the Tower. The cracks are splitter, the rock is textured, and the pitches are long and steep and the grades are by no means soft. Many of the routes go to the top (or at least close to the top) of the Tower, but the rock quality is best on the lower half of the routes. So after climbing to the top on our first day (via One Way Sunset, a great 5-pitch 5.10c route), we spent the rest of our days cragging on the lower pitches of various classic routes.

Sierra de
Gredos, June 2014 Sierra de Gredos, June 2014  by Gangolf Haub

Years ago, a colleague of Judith, who had studied an married in Madrid, suggested Sierra de Gredos to her. We were (and are) always searching for good places to spend our spring vacation and he had liked the mountains west of Madrid so much that he recommended them to us. However, at the time you could only find few offers for apartments on the internet and all of them were in Spanish, a language we don’t speak. At the time we thought we wouldn’t be able to get along and went to Sicily instead.

When this winter we started to browse for a new location, Judith suggested the Abruzzi. We looked for a guidebook but had to realize that the one we would have chosen would only be released later this year which made us postpone the trip to next year. But while browsing the hiking guide page of Rother Verlag we stumbled across the guidebook about Sierra de Gredos and decided to take a second look. We found half a dozen apartments, wrote to all of the hosts, received three answers and decided on the first one. It would be in El Barco de Avila to the north-west of the range, which appeared to be a good if not really central location.

Middle Teton Three Days in
June 2014 Middle Teton Three Days in June 2014  by jasonhurst21

A bumpy plane ride from Los Angeles landed me in Jackson Hole where my best friend Jeff picked me up from the airport on Saturday, June 14th. We had been planning an eight day climbing trip in Wyoming for months. We were set to go into the Wind River Range but the time commitment for the approach and the weather turned us away. Jeff had never been into the Tetons and he said that they have much shorter approaches. It was raining and the clouds completely covered the mountains. We drove to Lander where it was drier and mostly sunny until the weather started looking up. Wednesday, June 18th we packed our gear and drove three hours to Jackson where we saw plenty of fresh snow on the way at Togwotee Pass 9658 ft. We had a meal at a brewery then camped just outside the national park for free rather than pay $20/night for a campsite.

Jekyll & Hyde - Provo Ridge Jekyll & Hyde - Provo Ridge  by Rocky Alps

Provo Peak was one of those mountains I’d always glanced at in passing, but until recently didn’t have much of a desire to climb. Even when I lived right at the foot of the mountain, it seemed that peaks like Mount Timpanogos, Mount Nebo, Y Mountain, Cascade Mountain, or even Box Elder Peak were the ones in Utah County that interested me more. As an avid scrambler, the gentle western slopes didn’t exactly seem alpine when compared to some of the other nearby Wasatch peaks. However, with my wife wanting to trade in our old 4WD Ford Explorer for a crossover with enough seating for our next child on the way, I figured it made sense to hike Provo Peak while it was still possible for me to drive all the way to the trailhead on the rough Squaw Peak Road.

George Creek Might Make You
Hate Yourself George Creek Might Make You Hate Yourself  by Voxaether

There are certain things you don't do before a big hike like 14,375 foot Mount Williamson: you don't decide to day hike it the night before, and you certainly don't ever start at George Creek. My boyfriend and I managed to do both. That wasn't the original plan – Jason and I wanted to do Shepard's Pass, but permits were sold out which only left George Creek. We also planned to take advantage of the long holiday weekend for July 4th and climb it over two days, but as I read trip reports the night before our hike, I declared I thought we should day hike the roughly 12 miles and 8K of gain. In ten hours we would wake up and toss our sleeping bags and tent out of our packs. At 4:30am we were off!

Mt. Shuksan Sulphide Glacier
Route Mt. Shuksan Sulphide Glacier Route  by keeganray

My landlord and I left Seattle around 11am for the Shannon ridge trail. Not the biggest fan of alpine starts, haha. We reached the trailhead at 2:30pm and headed out at 3pm. The trail starts as a wide forest trail. After an hour we ran a ton of caterpillars dropping down on a strings of silk to catch prey. It was such a nuisance that we were continually waving our trekking poles around to keep all the webbing off our face. An hour later the trail narrowed and became overgrown and covered in downed trees. By then the caterpillars were gone, only to be replaced by horse flies and mosquitoes... We got a little off track a couple times, so I had to pull out my gps. Luckily I had downloaded a gps track from another hiker's trip report. The trail eventually headed up a creek, which led to the ridge.

Six climbs
in the Cirque: Overhanging Tower, Pingora, Mitchell, Shark's Nose, Pingora,
Sundance Pinnacle Six climbs in the Cirque: Overhanging Tower, Pingora, Mitchell, Shark's Nose, Pingora, Sundance Pinnacle  by StephAbegg

Earlier in July while climbing Elephant's Perch, I proposed the idea to my partner Scott. He had never been to the Cirque, and was excited to plan a trip. We hashed out a short list of routes we wanted to do (Wolf's Head Beckey Route, Shark's Nose North Face, Pingora Southwest Face, Mitchell North Face Center, Warrior Northeast Face) and made plans to be in the Cirque for eight days; accounting for the hike in and hike out, this would give us six full days of climbing, weather permitting.

The following page gives a trip report for this eight day adventure to the Cirque. Somehow we managed to not climb a single route on our tick list, yet it still turned out to be a great trip. I climbed six routes in six days—three routes with Scott and three routes with some climbers (Eric, Brian, Bill, and Claire) I met in the Cirque who were part of a large group of friends from Albuquerque.

The Island
of Bliss The Island of Bliss  by RobSC

Not so many years ago National Geographic ran an article on a faraway mysterious land half a world away filled with improbably plants, jagged mountains, and utter obscurity, a land known as Socotra, the "Island of Bliss" as it has frequently been called. Alexander the Great's men had been here and Cleopatra sent an expedition this way. The Greeks talked of elephants, the phoenix is mentioned; truly this is a place of legends. Over a third of the plants there are endemic and they often look more out of the pages of Dr. Seuss than anything earthly. The more I learned of this mysterious place, the more intrigued I became.

Socotra is a part of Yemen, where the Queen of Sheba has once ruled, with some of humankind's oldest cities, a mysterious place in itself that is currently more known for being where Ross fled to avoid Janice in a "Friends" episode, or as a land of terrorism, drones, and kidnappings. I was met largely by confusion and queries as to "Why?" when I mentioned traveling there. It was a selfish thing to do to my wife and family, vanishing to go there and then see the wonders along the Nile. I can't really claim otherwise.

All Things
Holy in Panther Gorge: A New Route on the Haystack Side All Things Holy in Panther Gorge: A New Route on the Haystack Side  by MudRat

When I was last in Panther Gorge with Anthony Seidita in June, we had sights on a cliff on the western aspect below Little Haystack, what I’ve started calling the “V” Wall on account of its shape and position between a gully on the left and basaltic dike on the right. The weather skunked us so we spent a couple days exploring the gorge and targeted a couple technical slides to the south on our last day. I never forgot about the unexplored terrain. Adam emailed recently and we set up plans to head back into the gorge with all guns trained on this area.

The climbing was on excellent rock and easy by technical climbing standards. Putting up the route didn’t require study of the face or cleaning, it was simply a matter of simply following the most interesting features to the top.

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