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July Stands for Idaho I: Sun
Valley & South July Stands for Idaho I: Sun Valley & South  by Castlereagh

This most recent 4th of July in 2015 I debated going home or venturing north for some peaks in the Adirondacks. My heard said home, and home won. As I sat contently drinking and BBQ’ing in Mass for the long weekend I reflected that I had made the right choice. Despite passing up three days of rare perfect weather in upstate New York and further delaying getting in shape for my upcoming August trip west, I realized that it was precisely these moments, holiday weekends, time spent relaxing and doing not much else with friends, that I had missed so much back west.

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Middle Palisade 2015 Middle Palisade 2015  by Diesel

Indeed a hike to remember. I had my eyes on the class 3 Middle Palisade for 2 years, I just thought I wasn't ready for it. But the time comes when things have to get accomplished, so Middle Palisade made it to the list of peaks to hit in 2015. This was my 4th hike in 4 days, after Boundary & Montgomery, Split and Agassiz.

At 5:00 AM I was at the end of Glacier Lodge Rd. From the reviews I read I was under the impression that there were two different trailheads at Glacier Lodge: South Fork and North Fork. In the reviews I read about hiking to Middle Palisade, everyone was talking about getting on the South Fork, arriving at the creek that can only be crossed after removing shoes and socks. (The ice cold water, about 50 feet wide and at least a foot deep, brought shivers to my body, including a brain freeze.) It is not true the fact that this is the way to go on the South Fork trail, but that's exactly what I did.

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Snow Creek Peak 10459 (NV) Snow Creek Peak 10459 (NV)  by Dean

The day before, Dennis and I had climbed seldom visited Shingle Peak to the south of Ely. We needed to do this one because all Dennis had left in the state of Nevada to do was Toiyabe Dome Peak (read trip report here), which we would do so he could finish up the state. This peak is an interesting one because it sits on the "edge" of being fully recognized as a peak with 2000 feet of prominence. Peakbagger.com has it at 1994 feet of "clean"prominence which makes it an "error" range peak (meaning it has the potential of being re-classified at a higher prominence) and Lists of John has it at 2011' of prominence HERE. It might sound confusing but we feel in order to claim all of the Nevada P2K list, "error" range peaks should also be done and there are 9 of them in Nevada which makes the total needed 167 plus 9 for 176. Also note that the peak is referred to as Cherry Creek Peak on peakbagger but we'll use the name given to it by others as "Snow Creek Peak". OK, moving on.....

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Shuffles
with Storms Shuffles with Storms  by Noondueler

When I hiked the Sierra Buttes in April I was more out of shaped than ever for the high country. Only a hike or two a month and lousy diet. I struggled so hard up the moderate trail I almost gave up several times. Too much dairy, dead food and not enough greens. I was clogged up. Then one day in May I got 24 hour stomach flu. You basically writhe around in agony for about 12 hours until the damn thing runs it's course. Couldn't eat or drink only water and heaves. The revelation next morning I felt cleared out in the lungs and went on a big change cutting the microwaved burritos, much less dairy and green smoothies every day. They're kind of like medicine. Bristling with so much vitality my body might reject them! ;) Getting out more, breathing better and even doing reps up the steep driveway where I live sees a more prepared hiker take to the slopes.

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Ptarmigan Traverse, June
2015 Ptarmigan Traverse, June 2015  by NatDeroxL7

Did this trip as a fairly large group, started with 10 people. We had largely been a group of rock climbers, this was our first try at alpine mountaineering. We significantly overloaded ourselves with rock pro and ice/snow pro, thinking we were going to be spending lots of time approaching the route as we usually approached trad routes on rock. We also brought along the usual cold weather gear that one would bring, even though the weather report was hot and dry all the way through the trip. We started out with packs from 75-88 lbs depending on how much the individual had invested in lightweight clothing/sleeping gear. We had planned for 6 days of walking and 2 extra days for weather or rest days. Ended up using both extra days as rest days due to some incidents, and used all the other 8 days. Due to the weights of our gear and a lack of confidence working on steep snow, we used up 9-12 hours a day just getting from one bivouac site to the next, so we never even got to use all the rock gear we brought to climb anything while we were our there. However, the clear weather gave us some amazing views and it was a great trip overall. Lots of hard work, but the best mountain scenery I've encountered so far.

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Getting Low
in Colorado Getting Low in Colorado  by Castlereagh

Greg had been hankering for a Colorado trip for a few months now, wanting to knock Zirkel and a couple Elkhead peaks off the list. He had two days, I took two additional off from work, and an early start from Salt Lake Friday night put him in position to snag Black Mountain outside Craig Saturday morning the same time I drove past it into Steamboat. My plan was to get Craig on the way back Tuesday, which meant slogging through the heavy town traffic traffic towards the forest roads leading to East Meaden Peak, also known as McFaddin Benchmark, also known as Sand Mountain North, and regardless of nomenclature the highest peak of the Elkhead Mountains, a prominent range featured here on SP thanks to the efforts of Scott P.

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Breaking
the Bulger Drought Breaking the Bulger Drought  by EastKing

It seems in the past 5 years I always have grand plans to make it through on my great list of climbs and somehow that great list always seems to be in shambles by July due to a wide variety of repeating variables that seem to be out of my control. Though have done some cool trips these past years I never have been able to find any rhythm with the trips and often year after year I seem to be very disappointed by the time December rolls around.

I decided that in 2015 to set my sights low this year and just take what I can get. I just can't stand be disappointed anymore. During this past winter, I have been struggling through yet another group of setbacks and it has led me to be severely out of my normal hiking condition. My weight is dramatically higher than it was when I summited Mount Rainier. How much higher? I am embarrassed to say, but I will say I look very different from the near perfect tone I was back in 2009 and 2010. But that was then and this is now. And despite the disappointments I still have successfully summited at least one Bulger in the past 3 years so I wanted to continue that streak with the easiest of all the Bulgers. I know it is a wimpy peak comparatively. but I just want to get some sort of peak to find my rhythm.

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Black Mountain Hike (San
Jacinto Mountains) Black Mountain Hike (San Jacinto Mountains)  by StartingOver

On June 27, 2015 I hiked to the top of Black Mountain in the San Jacinto Mountains, at 7,772 feet one of the lower summits in the range. The hike is about 3.5-4 miles long, and gains about 2,700 feet in elevation. There is a road that leads close to the summit, but what is the fun in that?

The hike was quite steep almost throughout, with just occasional level stretches to catch one's breath. Plus, the first mile to a mile-and-a-half or so was not that exciting, with vistas obstructed by chinquapin, small oak trees, and short Jeffrey Pines. While the hike does not sport views of Black Mountain itself, about halfway in views began to open up to the east, to the Santa Ana Mountains, and north to the San Bernardino Mountains. By the time I reached the fire lookout on the top of the summit, the views were truly outstanding, with fantastic vistas of San Jacinto itself and Fuller Ridge, the San Bernardino Mountains, San Gabriel Mountains, Santa Ana Mountains, areas of the San Jacinto Mountains south of the trail, and even the Palomar Mountains and Santa Rosa Mountains. The payoff made the somewhat tedious slog up the trail worth it.

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Prusik
Peak: Solid Gold, Burgner-Stanley, Boving-Christensen, & a potential FA on the
west face Prusik Peak: Solid Gold, Burgner-Stanley, Boving-Christensen, & a potential FA on the west face  by StephAbegg

My mind races, a cascade of memories as I tick my way through a list of Cascade summits. But as soon as I think of one possible candidate for favorite climb, another candidate climb comes to mind, equally favored but perhaps for different reasons. Favorite climb can depend on so many variables - weather, conditions, parter, fitness level, distractions (or lack thereof) from my daily life, the views from the climb, the difficulty of the approach, the beauty of a possible high camp, and so on. So in the end, I always end up giving a non-committal response with about half a dozen candidate favorite climbs.

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In the Land of Bison and
Elk In the Land of Bison and Elk  by Mark Doiron

It was school fall break in Oklahoma, and the boys of Boy Scout Troop 275, Choctaw, Oklahoma, had decided to take an extended camping trip to the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge. Their excitement about the refuge was a direct result of activities of my son, Curtis (Cdoiron on SP), and myself. We’d visited there several times in the last couple years, and had brought back some pictures of the rocks, mountains and wildlife that were abundant to this area of a state that is otherwise dominated by plains. That had resulted in the troop's first trip there in November 2007. They were eager to return, so I was tasked to obtain permits to camp at Fawn Creek Youth Campground and the Charon’s Garden Wilderness – no small feat during one of the busiest weekends of the year for the refuge! The boys also decided that this would be a hiking and backpacking weekend: We would emphasize a backpacking menu and skills, and Leave No Trace ethic, regardless of whether we were in the backcountry or the front country. In that spirit, the boys prepared their own backpacking meals, to include making GORP and cooking crepes the Monday before the campout.

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