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Surviving the Utah June
Gloom Surviving the Utah June Gloom  by Castlereagh

I raced down the Pony Express road down towards Vernon, another blip in the wall Utah desert town circa the stone age. Finding the right roads to Black Crook didn’t prove all that hard, though the last few miles were a little steep and rocky. Though I was on the right road I couldn't verify the fact lacking a GPS, but nevertheless I set off up the drainage I thought had a chance at being the correct route. All things considered this first part was the worst. I followed game trails only to find myself completely wallowed in some of the thickest brush, making no progress as I waded horizontally back and forth trying to find my way out, as going straight up the slope would have been impossible. Eventually I backtracked and moved further towards the center of the drainage, where the terrain got marginally better.

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Coleman
Headwall and Aftermath Coleman Headwall and Aftermath  by jacobsmith

I had a five page paper to write on Kierkegaard, Ryan has just gotten a nasty cold, and Chandler finally felt he was strong enough to try for his first glacier climb after breaking both his ankles at the Index Town Walls a couple years ago, so naturally we headed out late Friday night to climb the Coleman Headwall on Mount Baker. We had also hoped to snatch up one of the ice routes on the north face of Colfax Peak, but found them to be woefully out of condition. The climb went well and we summited at noon on Saturday, and by midafternoon we had decided to hike back to the trailhead that day. That was when I made a mistake that landed me in Harborview, but more on that later.

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The Only
Way to Start a New Year (Tenerife, Winter 2013 / 2014) The Only Way to Start a New Year (Tenerife, Winter 2013 / 2014)  by Gangolf Haub

It has become custom (habit?) for us to spend the winter holidays in the sun, hiking and exploring the Canary Islands off the Moroccan Coast. We’ve been to all the islands except El Hierro at least once, several of them twice. So when this winter’s vacation came up again we explored the ways to get to the smallest island. However, we had to realize again, that El Hierro is too hard to reach (we would lose two days travelling). Thus we browsed the archipelago for another destination. The selection soon closed down on either La Gomera or Tenerife and good memories finally decided us on the latter. We’d been to the island twice already, a foggy May visit in 2001 and a dry but hazy winter stay in 2006 / 2007. We’d been all over the island but some places you need to visit more than once. Moreover, we realized that the new edition of our favourite guidebook now comes with 70 instead of fifty tours so that we guessed some new hikes would be possible as well as repetitions of the ones we did in 2001.

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Gothics North Face-New
Finger Slide Gothics North Face-New Finger Slide  by MudRat

What to do the weekend of the 26th…hmm. NP suggested Gothics North Face via the New Finger Slide. It sounded good to me since he’d spotted snow along the edge earlier in the week. This suggested that the conditions might be good enough to at least scratch our way up. Neither of us could have guessed how fantastic the conditions actually were, however. Deep snow at the base, consolidated snow/ice (neve), yellow ice, verglas, occasional frozen turf and a strong wind blowing snow down the face made it a true mountaineering adventure.

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Pain and Recovery in the
North Pain and Recovery in the North  by Castlereagh

Two weeks prior I had twisted my left ankle. The injury wasn’t that bad and was now probably 90% healed. (Though for some reason 7 months later, as I write this now, it refused to heal fully fully and still remains around 94%). One week prior I had twisted my right ankle very badly. After a week of trying to nurse it I gauged it was only perhaps 60-70%, quite tender and visibly swollen, and still lacking the ability to fully support myself without a brace. Yet, Greg was thinking Idaho, and I couldn’t say no. Well, I could depending on the destination. He had batted around Baldy and Observation (latter in Wyoming) in the Snake River Range. I figured the former would be too much for my ankle, though for some reason I thought Observation would be easy…we both underestimated the peak and that came back to haunt us almost two months later. For now though, I said that I would forsake those two for some easier targets, perhaps Smoky Dome and Trinity Mountain further west, the former an easy ascent based on the stats and the latter a walk up a good dirt road. As it turned out, the weather for the Snake River Range turned to heavy rain by the end of the week, so Greg decided to forsake those peaks as well for my easier targets.

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My First
Taste of the North Cascdes: Mount Baker Scenic Byway My First Taste of the North Cascdes: Mount Baker Scenic Byway  by MarkDidier

My first taste of the North Cascades, and yes, they were delicious! I’m quite certain I will be going back for seconds...and even thirds.

While I would love to say that I was fulfilling the dream of a lifetime on this week long trip, that would be…not exactly correct. Up until last fall the North Cascades were never on my radar screen. Actually, a year ago, I doubt that I could have even named a dozen peaks in the North Cascades. The area never really garnered my attention. There were a few good reasons, first being the weather. The general belief here in the Midwest is that the weather in the Pacific Northwest sucks; cloudy and rainy ALL the time. Why would I want to spend a week hiking in an area that guaranteed lousy weather? Up until I looked through this album did I ever really stop to think that maybe the weather doesn’t suck ALL the time. Then there’s all that pesky snow! While it sure does add to the beauty of the mountains, I pretty much lack any snow travel skills. If you are looking for entertainment, just watch me try and walk across a snowfield. The song Slip Slidin’ Away comes to mind. I have just never had to think about acquiring snow travel skills, and my general belief was that peak bagging in the North Cascades guaranteed some mountaineering or at least some basic snow travel, so again, why would I want to go to the North Cascades?

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Turtlehead Peak & Calico
Tanks Trails Turtlehead Peak & Calico Tanks Trails  by nader

Turtlehead Peak rises in the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area only an hour drive from Las Vegas Strip. The peak is advertised as having a 2.5 mile long trail (my GPS measured 2.2 miles) that goes all the way to the summit giving the hiker 2000 ft of vertical climb. After about a mile, I noted that the trail split into a number of beaten paths all of which supposedly went to the 5850 ft saddle to the northwest of the summit. The weather is usually clear and the city of Las Vegas is said to be well-visible from the summit.

Calico Tanks Trail branches off of the Turtlehead Peak Trail 0.2 miles after trailhead and goes into a canyon among colorful sandstone formations to end at a number of seasonal water pools. After doing Turtlehead Peak, I hiked up this trail to a spot with wonderful views where I took a rest.

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Living it
up in Trinidad and Tobago! Living it up in Trinidad and Tobago!  by Scott

My beautiful wife Kimberly and I had some free plane tickets that we decided to use in order to celebrate our 20th anniversary. We were thinking that we would go somewhere in the Caribbean. I was thinking of Saba and Sint Maartin, but after Kimberly read about the wildlife in Trinidad and Tobago, she wanted to go there.

Trinidad and Tobago is full of lots of fantastic wildlife and has some great hiking and beaches as well. Both islands are extensions of the Andes Mountain chain so are well endowed with mountains.

It sounded like a great place to celebrate our 20th anniversary so off we went! (Our anniversary was actually in August, but we couldn’t get away then, so we had to wait until December).

Trinidad is the southernmost country in the Caribbean and is just off the coast of Venezuela. The trip was a great adventure and we definitely got off the beaten track from what most tourist do in the Caribbean. It was a very fun and enjoyable trip!

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North Arete of Matterhorn
Peak North Arete of Matterhorn Peak  by PellucidWombat

It was a clear sunny day when Dirk, Gordon, and I left our campsite at Mammoth and headed north to Bridgeport. We were still a little groggy from having been up late the night before. Dirk and Gordon had driven over last night from the Bay Area after work. I had just finished my final day of the 2004 Sierra Challenge...

After securing the necessary camping permit (which was a first for me and Dirk), we headed to the Twin Lakes Resort. The rocky palisade of Sawtooth Ridge jutted up in stark contrast to the rolling foothills and flat fertile farmlands that we passed through on HWY 395. Dirk and Gordon had come here to climb the North Arete of Matterhorn Pk, and they had talked me into leaving the Sierra Challenge early to join them on the climb. From below we could barely make out Matterhorn Pk on the ridge – it didn’t stand out much from the ridge, but it looked impressive.

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Climbing the roof of Pedra
do Baú Climbing the roof of Pedra do Baú  by Cissa

When I first started rock climbing a little over a year ago, I set my eyes on quite a few routes that are abasolutely amazing but obviously out of reach of a beginner, let alone someone who's a late comer to the sport.

"Teto do Baú" (Baú's Roof) was one of them. A classic aid line in the Mantiqueira range, this route seemed like territory for super experienced climbers, not only technically, but also on exposed routes, given that it is super aerial in 90% of its two pitches. The tip of Pedra do Baú, known as the "Roof", is obviously a result of erosion. Its lower part probably dropped as time went by, leaving this huge overhanging tip that is seen from all faces but west.

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