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Elbrus Winter Expedition
2015 Elbrus Winter Expedition 2015  by Rusnborg

All are alive and well, no frostbite, though we met wind 70 km/h and frost below 40Cº. Ivan Braun became the first Dane, Nadav Ben Yehuda became the first Israeli to climb the Elbrus in winter (winter ascent considered committed from December 21 to March 21).

But this article is not about mountaineering, although it is present in it.

It follows the adventures in the mountains three guys from different parts of the world, which in the course of the expedition not only met, but were able to find a common language, to make a joint ascent, and to become a good team and good friends. We has not deterred nor political differences between their countries, nor language barriers, nor the difference in mentality.

Loiterings in the Desert Loiterings in the Desert  by Castlereagh

Several years, several hundred peaks, and even more miles after the fact was about when I finally joined the GPS club, having done some online shopping plugging away hungover at a Starbucks in Cheyenne, Wyoming on Black Friday enroute driving to Boston. Having hiked mostly with Greg since coming back to Utah I had bothered with neither activating and learning how to use the device nor downloading all the topo maps I would need in conjunction with it. Having finally procrastinated long enough, I was ready to test out the equipment on a warm spring day on Conger Mountain, a good opportunity to see how it would work on an easy cross country desert peak with pretty basic route finding.

Bells-Snowmass Wilderness - Willow Lake, Lost Remuda Basin, Buckskin Pass Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness - Willow Lake, Lost Remuda Basin, Buckskin Pass  by notracks

I have wanted to visit Lost Remuda Basin in the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness Area for some time now but different circumstances have kept me away from it. Finally, this last Labor Day Weekend, I was able to experience this rarely visited area.

The trip started at Maroon Lake, where I was the millionth person to take a picture of the most photographed mountain in North America. Then, we headed up Minehaha Gulch, which is part of the 4-pass loop. As expected, there was a lot of traffic here. We didn't stay on this trail for long before we branched off towards Willow Pass. The amount of people immediately dropped to close to 0.

Mount Adams
South Spur Mount Adams South Spur  by keeganray

Bruce and I were originally planning to head up to Paradise and climb to Muir for a nice ski/snowboard down. At the last minute I suggested climbing Adams and riding down and we rushed to pack and drive to the trailhead. We left Seattle at 10pm and got to the campgrounds at 4am, getting lost a couple times near the trailhead. The road up had only a little snow at the last couple switchbacks. We finally got to sleep around 5am and took a 4 hour nap, heading out at 10am.

Wine Bottle Slide on Colden Wine Bottle Slide on Colden  by MudRat

With big days on technical ice in Panther Gorge and Gothics as the last couple outings, I wanted something a bit more relaxing. After eyeing the Wine Bottle Slide for several years, I decided to give it a try. The slide lies 800 feet southwest of the Trap Dike and overlooks both Avalanche Lake and Lake Colden. As the name implies, its shape resembles a bottle of wine. With a technical footwall and mid slide cliff band, it was sure to be challenging and beautiful at the same time. The wildcard lied in the conditions. Would it be icy or loaded with snow? Only one way to find out...

Dan Plumley of Adirondack Wild accompanied me on the trip; we had hopes of topping out on Colden’s summit, though exploring the details of the slide was the primary focus. We began the approach from the Adirondack Loj at 8:00 a.m. Nearly six miles and three hours later, we reached the south end of Avalanche Lake at the base of Mt. Colden. Light winds from the south blew the snow up the great pass, a sign of things to come. We knew the forecast called for increasing winds and snow; we were prepared for the worst.

Toubkal for
the weekend: Climbing Northern Africa's highest mountain Toubkal for the weekend: Climbing Northern Africa's highest mountain  by Lodewijk

Let’s go to Morocco for the weekend and climb Toubkal’’….I was with two friends in Amsterdam having beers, while discussing our future plans. ‘’That’s crazy’’, I said; we are living below sea level here in the Netherlands, how the hell can we climb a mountain 4167 meters high and on another continent in just a weekend’s time. ‘’There’s no way we can acclimatize that fast… Let’s think of something else’’ I said, while ordering some more beers.

But we didn’t think of something else, on the contrary: 6 or 7 beers later climbing Toubkal for the weekend sounded like the best idea I ever heard! The idea didn’t leave us ever since, so we put up a plan and several months later we were on a Plane from Amsterdam to Marrakech to climb a 4000+ meter peak; Toubkal for the weekend!

Red Rocks:
Climbing with Uriostes, Yellow Rose of Texas, Dream of Wild Turkeys Red Rocks: Climbing with Uriostes, Yellow Rose of Texas, Dream of Wild Turkeys  by StephAbegg

I squeezed in an unexpected three-day climbing trip to Red Rocks with Dow and the Uriostes (Jorge too this time!). The primary goal of the trip was to lug my SLR up a climb and photograph Jorge and Joanne — now ages 63 and 78 but as passionate about climbing, aesthetic lines, and each other as they ever have been — climbing on their new route in Black Velvet Canyon. We successfully executed this photoshoot on the first day. All four of us had a blast. The next two days, Dow and I stayed with the Uriostes and day-tripped into Red Rocks, climbing two 700 ft routes in Black Velvet Canyon: The Yellow Rose of Texas and Dream of Wild Turkeys.

Chronicles Volume 1 - Nahuel Huapi National Park Argentine Chronicles Volume 1 - Nahuel Huapi National Park  by Matt Lemke

To start off, this trip was not supposed to happen...yet again I ran down to South America at the last minute. Since I was gearing up for a potential hiatus from work due to the very low gas prices that started plummeting at the end of 2014, I threw around the idea of heading back to Patagonia. The idea seemed much more appealing this time since it would be the middle of February when I left rather than late March, when I went to Chile last year. As it turns out, the day after the dreadful Superbowl 49 (which will haunt my dreams forever :P) I was done with work and I returned to Bozeman for a couple weeks before my planned departure date of February 15th. A lot happened in that two weeks that is better saved for a different story, but I managed to go ice climbing at Hyalite a few times and made some new friends.

Of Crowds and Cairns Bull's-eye: Of Crowds and Cairns  by MarkDidier

It seemed like a half hour had passed! Rob and I stood looking at Hourglass Ridge debating with each other, as well as with our fears, refusing to take those first steps. For a couple of noobs the ridge was intimidating, as the exposure on both sides of the little narrow path was extreme! Then there was the climb to the summit! If I survived the walk across the ridge I still would have to face the harrowing scramble to the summit. I couldn’t stop thinking that if I started sliding, the end result wouldn’t be pretty as the southeast shear face of Alice ensured a long fall. We wandered around the Alice/Chiefs Head saddle for quite a while trying to find an alternate route. We were intimidated to say the least, but finally we realized that the ridge was the route, and we rather easily agreed that it was time to turn around. It was the last day of August, 2007, and at that time we apparently lacked the skills to tackle Hourglass Ridge. To date, it would have been the most difficult route we had attempted. Or was it?

Havasu Falls Havasu Falls  by tarol

My sister Kristine and I backpacked to Havasu Falls near the village of Supai in the Grand Canyon last week. This has been a trip on my bucket list for quite some time. I had a horse-packer friend who did the trip to chronicle the delivery of mail - this is the last place in the US where mail is delivered by horseback. His photos and stories were amazing and I've always wanted to hike it myself.

This trip requires advanced planning. It's not a day-hike - you must stay down in the canyon either at the lodge or the campground. We opted for the lodge, since it was only 8 miles to and from it, and I knew the last day hiking out of the canyon would be a doozy. Plus, my sister isn't much for sleeping in tents. But we still carried all our food and means to cook it, our clothing, and our personal items. I carried a tarp and 2 person space blanket just in case. The weight difference between this and other trips I've done wasn't much. This is a remote and unforgiving area so best to be prepared.

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