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Le Tour des
Lacs Le Tour des Lacs  by Gangolf Haub

Corsica! They call it L'Ile de la Beauté - the island of eauty. They call it La Montagne dans la Mèr - the mounntain in the sea. The names are fully deserved: there are some 50 2000ers on the island and if you happen to visit the island in late spring or early summer you'llbe impressed by the natural scenery. Most of the island is made up from granite - either the solid grey one you also get elsewhere, or the red tafoni granite, which forms grotesque sculptures with holes, windows, caves and overhangs. Sometimes you'll find both forms very close to each other but usually you'ge to Porto on the west coast or Bavella in the south to admire Tafonis. And go to the high mountains of Haute Corse for the rock solid grey granite.

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Mentok
Kangri 2 Mentok Kangri 2  by opensea64

My pursuit of 6000m plus peaks has been an exciting one, since my first foray into climbs over 20,000 feet in Nepal in2010. Island Peak (6189m) in Nepal was such a game changer that I knew I had crossed the line between my love of climbing pretty much anything that looked like a mountain, to the high peaks of the world.

After summiting Island Peak, I knew I wanted to climb a higher peak, over 7000m. In 2015 the attempt on Kun(7077m) came fairly close, to a height of 6600m, thwarted by issues of weatherand other factors affecting our team. Weturned around 477m short instead of trying for the summit. Of course then I was plagued with second thoughts , the “what if” … Most people seem to think the decision to abandon the summit on that occasion was wise, and unwise decisions on high mountains don’t always have happy endings. So Iguess I will just have to live with that. As Brigitte Muir-Koch (the Everestclimber who led my Island Peak trip) said to me afterwards, “Better to come back alive, after all, you can always return, the mountains will always be there. “

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Stuck on
Gerlach Stuck on Gerlach  by rgg

Looking down, I'm guessing that it can't be more than thirty meters to the bottom of the steep couloir I'm descending. If only I could get there, I would be off the mountain and in hiking territory all the way back to civilization. But how? That's a whole different ball game. Sure, my route description offers two possibilities, but after considering both of them, I don't feel comfortable to commit to either one. I have to face it, I'm stuck. How do I get off this mountain?

I first got to this point an hour earlier. Up until then my descent had been swift and easy. Sure, a few times the route was less than obvious, but whenever I didn't see traces where others had gone before, I just scrambled down wherever it looked feasible, and it never took long before I picked up the route again. And the place where I was right now matched the route description - so why wasn't there a relative easy way down anymore? Was it there, but did I not see it? Or had something changed since the route description was written?

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July 2016 climb of
Thunderbird July 2016 climb of Thunderbird  by gregevans

We have been hiking and climbing in Glacier National Park on an annual basis for over 20 years. Most of that time has been spent on the eastern side of the park, in the Two Medicine, Logan Pass and Many Glacier areas. But having explored those areas pretty thoroughly now, we changed things up this year by going to the northwest part of the park, a remote region accessible with a car only by dirt roads, 40 miles from Columbia Falls. The region is just as spectacular as the east side of the park, but tends to have fewer people, and longer approaches to the mountain climbs. So, in late July of 2016 we set off on a four day/three night backpack trip to climb Thunderbird Mountain. The route includes trail and off-trail hiking, bush whacking, a stunning base camp perched on top of a ridge, a steep snow crossing, and class 3 climbing. Much of the off trail portion can be seen in Figure 1. The route is described in a popular guide book by Edwards (A Climbers Guide to Glacier National Park, J Gordon Edwards, Mountain Press Publishing Co., Missoula, MT, 1984), and we recommend consulting that, but there are a few places in that description where some clarifications are helpful, which are described below.

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Dakota Delights Dakota Delights  by Jow

Now that I have a toddler these highpoint trips need to be fast and furious and pack as much adventure in minimal amount of time as possible so as to continue to be granted permission to go on them. I've been excited about this particular trip for awhile since it's an area of country I've never been to.

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Fear and Loathing Back West:
Rage & Spite Fear and Loathing Back West: Rage & Spite  by Castlereagh

Very few things in my life have haunted me like Mt. McGuire, and it wasn’t just McGuire, but McGuire as the microcosm of a week of frustrations through some of the worst haze the west had ever experienced during the latter part of August 2015. I had a wide range of factors I could blame for the end result, from getting hit by a car in 2014 and as a result McGuire falling out of the timetable, to me getting complacent after a relatively haze free year in ’14 not realizing that it was due to an above average snowpack winter season, to failing to monitor drought conditions during the abnormally dry winter of 14/15 out west, to pushing my trip back by a week to attend a friend’s birthday BBQ, to opting to go for Snowshoe and Holland during the early part of my trip rather than swinging through towards McGuire, the peak I had thought about more than any other through my first year living back east, to the difficult but ultimately fatal decision not to punt McGuire forward another year after arriving in Salmon through ever increasing haze.

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Manaslu
circuit 2016 Manaslu circuit 2016  by yxygan

The Himalaya's beside a toothpaste made from some scented herbs meant for me a country existing just is the fairy tales, lost in the haze of the immense distance and I thought it would remain that maybe forever…Recently this mythical province turned into a tangible reality with all of its miracles and wonders. Clicking with fervour our cameras we tried to record as much as possible of these miracles, of course unsuccessful. But never mind! We still can remember the innumerable waterfalls, the endless humming of the river attending us, the booming of the wind at a middle of a suspension bridge, the billions of stars above us, the chilly breath of the mornings or the whistling of the mule drovers.

It was tough, but it was worth to do it, surely every of us got shorter with thousands of calories, but we returned home with hundreds of experiences we had not lived before.

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Birch
Mountain - Ridiculous training that probably saved my life Birch Mountain - Ridiculous training that probably saved my life  by Diesel

The difficulty of any hike is a subjective point of view. The very first time I heard of Birch Mt - 13,609 ft / 4,148 m elevation) from some hikers descending Split Mt. in 2013, then researching the hike in 2016, I got the feeling that this mountain is difficult and best to be left alone. The only nonbiased matter of fact trip report that I found belongs to Bob Burd. That put me at ease that Birch Mt. can be easily day-hiked. Therefore I decided to follow his route. I found that to be the truth. Birch Mt is a class 2 hike where strength is more needed than skill.

Not only did I want to day-hike Birch, but I had to be at the Inyo Ranger Station in Lone Pine before 4:30 PM to get my blessed Whitney Zone permit for the following day. In that case I had to be back at the car by 3:30PM, at the latest, to I have time to drive to Lone Pine in time to find the ranger station open.

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Battling
the elements on Vertainspitze & Hoher Angelus Battling the elements on Vertainspitze & Hoher Angelus  by Lodewijk

After a day of hiking around the Stelvio Pass with climbs of both Monte Scorluzzo and Roetlspitz we were ready for the next step in our climbing week: The traverse of Hoher Angelus and Vertainspitze. Maarten and me were really looking forward to this route, with a special thanks to sp-members rgg and alpinbeta, who both noticed me about this route. We wanted to do the climb in two days: The first day we would ascent to the Dusseldorfer Hut from Sulden and on the second day we would make the traverse and return to Sulden. The first day would be easy, since we only had to hike up from Sulden to the Hut, which takes about 2,5 hours. Unfortunately, the weather changed and it was pouring down all day. We drove to Sulden and decided to wait for the weather to clear, well.. at least wait for the thunder to stop, but it didn’t.. so we sat down in a small cafe in the center of Sulden and drank I think at least 5 cups of coffee.

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Dombaj-Ul'gen: The jewel of the Western Caucasus Dombaj-Ul'gen: The jewel of the Western Caucasus  by andre hangaard

”-Dombaj-what?” I said to my Swiss friend Andi over the phone when he gave me a call one afternoon in November more than a year ago. I’d never heard about a mountain called Dombaj-Ul’gen. Nor was I rather impressed by its elevation of 4.046 meters.

Skhara, the wild looking twin peaks of Ushba and the beautiful Kazbek were the mountains in the Caucasus familiar to me. And of course Elbrus, which I climbed by myself 8 years ago. Dombaj-Ul’gen remained unknown to me. However, after Andi enthusiastically told me about its wild and rugged ridges and its very demanding UIAA grading being D-, I understood this summit must be a rather special one. In addition to this, this mountain also turned out to be a country high point, as it is the highest summit of the Republic of Abkhazia, a country which I also wasn’t very familiar with.

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