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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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Mt. Islip
Hike via Crystal Lake Trail Mt. Islip Hike via Crystal Lake Trail  by StartingOver

On January 2, 2016, I kicked off the new year by hiking to the summit of Mt. Islip in the San Gabriel Mountains. This area is normally covered with snow this time of year, but despite all of the snow falling in the Sierra this late fall and early winter, Southern California has only see a few light storms, and the view from my office downtown indicated that the trip was likely to be snow free. And so it proved -- mostly. There was a little snow on the North-facing slopes, but no more than a couple of inches, and not enough to prevent safe normal hiking without snow gear such as an ice ax or crampons. I hiked to the top via the Crystal Lake trailhead, and descended (following the advice of a kind man I encountered on the way up) via the Islip Ridge trail and Big Cienaga trails. The entire route is about 7.5 miles with about 2,200 feet of elevation gain. It took me about 4.5 hours, though I expect most of you SP'ers could do it in 2-3.

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Crippled Peakbagging III:
Montana Hubris Crippled Peakbagging III: Montana Hubris  by Castlereagh

My plans were getting ambitious. Feeling spry after a good 8 peak Idaho trip, plans began to form for my next trip around Homers Young Peak, whose sublime silhouette had fascinated me since the beginnings of summitpost. I rested for a few days in Salt Lake taking care of errands: getting the care tuned up, getting a start on a contract project that would tide me over between jobs, and spent a few days relaxing, gchatting, eating pizza for lunch and snacking over afternoon coffees at Barnes & Noble, before setting off north again.

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