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Old Dreams
Die Hard: An Attempt to Climb the Highest Volcano on Earth Old Dreams Die Hard: An Attempt to Climb the Highest Volcano on Earth  by Scott

Ojos del Salado is a peak that I have wanted to climb for a long time. In fact, it became one of my top three "dream climbs" back in 1984, at age 10, which is when I first read about the mountain. The other two dream climbs at the time were Muztag Ata and Aconcagua. Unlike Aconcagua however, Ojos del Salado seemed so mysterious and unknown. Dreams however, change over time and over the years I focused on other mountains in the world and never got close to Ojos del Salado.

Old dreams are eventually either fulfilled, never die, or die hard, so Ojos del Salado was always in the back of my mind somewhere and for a later date. That later date finally came in January 2016. Because of work, I can only get time off in the Northern Hemisphere winter. My thirteen year old son and I wanted to attempt something higher than we ever have before. Aconcagua came to mind, but that mountain has gotten more expensive and crowded over the years. There was also a rule in place that you had to be 14 years of age to climb it and my son was not 14 yet. Ojos del Salado seemed like the logical choice for our climb in the winter of 2015-2016.

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Panther
Gorge-New Ice Route-By Tooth and Claw Panther Gorge-New Ice Route-By Tooth and Claw  by MudRat

I needed my Panther Gorge fix—the last visit was in November. Warm temperatures in the valley prompted me to consider how much ice might be in the gorge. The low snowpack made it even more tempting given the 8.5 mile-long approach. Panther Gorge veteran Bill Schneider and Devin Farkas, assistant director of the Outdoor Program at St. Lawrence University, jumped on board. As usual we met at the Rooster Comb parking lot at 5:00 am to sort gear and drive a single car to the Garden. Temperatures hovered at 15F though they were forecast to rise to the mid-thirties in the valley.

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Philmont,
Itinerary 24 Philmont, Itinerary 24  by Mark Doiron

A brief explanation of why this trip report is so late: It's been on my "Gotta Do It Someday" list for quite awhile now. However, during our trek I kept a journal each day and, upon return to Oklahoma, I put that journal where it wouldn't get lost. Trouble was, shortly after that I could not remember where that was! I genuinely looked all over the house. And, it wasn't until a couple weeks ago when I was searching through a file cabinet for papers to use at my son's Eagle ceremony that I finally found it. Aha! Thus, I'm now ready to write this trip report.

This is the Philmont adventure of Crew 612J-4 (2005) from the Last Frontier Council of the Boy Scouts of America. We all happen to be in Boy Scout Troop 275 of Choctaw, Oklahoma, but this was a "council contingent", which means that we could have been a mixed unit crew (in fact, we had another six folks attend from Troop 275 and they were place in a mixed unit crew). Because this was a council contingent, the folks in charge assumed that the participants (108 total on 9 crews) didn't have much backpacking experience. That was not the case with our crew (more on that in a moment), but it means that we participated in a variety of preparatory tasks. I'm going to describe that below because I think it might be useful for other folks who are preparing for a similar trip.

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The Most
Beautiful Mother In the World The Most Beautiful Mother In the World  by EastKing

Sometime a good mountain trip is not an intense epic or life altering event. Sometime it is a trip that requires less than average effort that gives enjoyment to a scrambler or climber. In Washington State there are a number of excellent smaller summits that require comparatively little effort but absolutely amazing reward. Mother Mountain in the northwest part of Mount Rainier National Park is a clearly an example of this special type of summit. What the mountain lacks in difficulty, height and elevation gain, it gives back in views, wilderness and overall quality.

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Mount Ida ~ Well, Not Quite Mount Ida ~ Well, Not Quite  by MarkDidier

I hadn’t planned on writing a trip report about this pleasant little hike. Mostly because, well that’s what Mount Ida is…a pleasant little hike. Despite anchoring a series of peaks in a stunning setting along the Continental Divide in RMNP, from a mountaineering standpoint there just isn’t that much to write about. It’s a walk up, with a trail that probably goes all the way to the summit. Not that I would know that! Oh wait! How would I not know that? Well, because we didn’t summit! Mr. Impetuous pulled a bonehead move and we bagged a point instead of a peak. So from a hardcore peakbagger’s perspective I suppose the day was a total failure. Good thing I’m not a hardcore peakbagger!

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Vagabond
Peak and Cloudripper via Green Lake Vagabond Peak and Cloudripper via Green Lake  by Ambret

A minor comedy of errors delayed our departure from the trailhead at South Lake. After fixing and then having to refix a backpack, we did a quick food check – “I thought YOU had packed tomorrow night’s dinner – which necessitated a quick return to Four Jeffrey Campground. Ruvicha, Steve2, Jim* and I departed the South Lake trailhead at about 1:30 pm. The trail heads roughly northeast from the north side of the upper parking lot at South Lake. It’s a good, very visible sand and rock trail but, over the first mile, it has more downs than ups. We met two college students who intended to hike up an old water pipe that goes steadily up and later intersects the trail to Green Lake, saving some distance over following the trail. But they advised that the pipeline might prove a bit sketchy with backpacks. (On the return trip, it appeared that the sketchier parts of the pipe lie beyond where it intersects the Green Lake trail.)

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T2W-Tahoe
to Whitney T2W-Tahoe to Whitney  by Marlin

“The mountains are calling and I must go.” - John Muir

Answering the call of the wild, I boarded Southwest Airlines on July 1 for the Sierra Nevada Mountains in California. 400 miles long and approximately 70 miles wide, the majestic Sierras span 3 national parks, 20 wilderness areas and 2 national monuments. A backpacker’s paradise. Determining where to hike is problematic; beauty abounds everywhere. I’ve always dreamed of hiking the John Muir Trail (JMT), a 211-mile route that follows the rugged backbone of the Sierra Nevada Mountains from the Happy Isles Trailhead in Yosemite Valley to Mount Whitney’s summit, the highest mountain in the contiguous United States. John Amorosano’s and Landmark Adventure’s YouTube videos provide valuable beta for planning a JMT hike. People come from around the world to hike the JMT. The National Park Service (NPS) sets a maximum daily quota ensuring a pristine wilderness experience for the lucky individuals snaring a permit. The NPS begins issuing permits 26 weeks in advance and the permits go like hot cakes! Hikers on the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) are allowed to pass through Yosemite, Kings Canyon, and Sequoia with their PCT permits and aren’t required to purchase JMT permits. Unable to secure a JMT permit, I got a PCT permit instead and began my backpacking trek at Lake Tahoe, 160 miles north of Yosemite. What’s an extra 160 miles?

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Struggling through December
Challenges Struggling through December Challenges  by BearQueen

Hiking is highly emotional for me, as hiking always brings out my emotions and it is highly emotional b/c it brings out a lot of pain for me to hike. It brings out the emotional, spiritual and psychological pain of being fat, of all of my disappointments, of where i want to be but I am not yet, of the physical pain of fibromyalgia. Part of my ongoing frustration of my life is not being able to do what I love. I really hope to be able to make EastKing proud from working out and building up my strength and work out more. That means nutrition and changing my life in every way. This December I decided to fight this fight and head back into the mountains to fight of all of my pain and frustration away. I dedicated myself to making something of the worst month of the year.

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Winter Presidential
Traverse Winter Presidential Traverse  by climber46

I have had a goal for several years now to do a one-day winter Presidential Range traverse. Having hiked all 111 4000-foot peaks by 2009, I had been on all of the peaks before and was familiar with the trails in summer, having previously done two summer Presidential traverses. I had also hiked the Lions Head trail to the Mt. Washington summit in February 2009 for my first winter peak of the Presidential Range. That day had done smoothly but I also knew I did not want to spend a night camping while doing a winter Presidential traverse. I have always found that I can cover much more ground going light and fast than I can going slow and heavy and backpacking. That being said, the risks of winter hiking are considerably increased as compared to other seasons. A night stuck in the wilderness in winter could easily mean hypothermia or frostbite whereas in the other seasons a night stuck in the wilderness might only mean being uncomfortable, wet, and hungry. In the previous year, I did some winter mountaineering on smaller peaks to gain more winter hiking experience. I did West and East Baldpate in December 2014, Mount Liberty and Mount Flume in March 2015, and South and North Baldface in March 2015. These experiences convinced me that I needed some warm and comfortable winter boots and some Kahtoola microspikes. I purchased these items in the autumn of 2015. I tested them on some smaller hikes near my home in Denmark, Maine. Now I felt ready for some winter hiking!

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Christmas Mountaineering in
Colorado Christmas Mountaineering in Colorado  by Scott

This is the story of our 2015 Christmas trip spent in the Colorado mountains, more specifically in the southern ramparts of the spectacular Gore Range. We stayed in one of the 10th Mountain Huts and climbed some peaks in super challenging conditions. A cold front bringing a blast of arctic air was forecasted to come through, but we decided to go anyway. Participants were Shaylee, my 11 year old daughter; Kessler, my 13 year old son; and Kimberly, my young and beautiful wife.

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