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Winter Ambition: Whitehorse
in a Day Winter Ambition: Whitehorse in a Day  by Josh Lewis

After my Burgundy Spire Accident I had to give up mountaineering for a while. When I finally recovered enough to hike, a small run would be enough to re-injure my knee once more forcing me to be very careful with getting back in shape. With rare winter conditions it was painful to watch as many sunny days went by. I knew that if I wanted a shot at a spectacular climb I would have to wait until the perfect opportunity.

Michael and I contacted some buddies of mine, before long we had a solid team of climbers for Whitehorse Mountain. I have been wanting to climb this mountain for many years. Gimpilator has had too many canceled trips up this peak. We were all very eager to climb this mountain. With 7,000 feet of elevation gain during January and being out of shape, this would be a big under taking. Less than half way up the mountain I was trashed, the rest of the climb was dizzyingly exhausting, but the views were breath taking.

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Fishhook Arête, Mt.
Russell Fishhook Arête, Mt. Russell  by StephAbegg

Following a sharp crescent-shaped spine on the southern aspect of Mt. Russell, Fishhook Arête is one of the most aesthetic routes in the High Sierra. Nearly the entire length of the 8-pitch route is exposed and on perfect golden granite. The climb is easily divided into two distinct arêtes separated by a notch. The lower arête is thin, exhilarating, and diagonals up mostly moderate terrain with a few stout 5.9 sections. The upper arête ascends steep rock that gradually lessens in angle and has incredible belay ledges every 50 feet. Plus, the route tops out on a 14,000+ foot summit. It is no surprise that Fishhook Arête is named as one of the 100 best Sierra alpine climbs in John Moynier and Claude Fiddler's "Sierra Classics."

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A trip to
Montgomery Woods A trip to Montgomery Woods  by Noondueler

Over the last few months I moved up to the north Coast Range in Lake County. With mountains and ridges in every direction the possibilities appear endless. I spend considerable time pouring over topo maps of the area looking for something doable. The main challenges are private property and dense brush covering much of the terrain. So I zero in with Google Earth to get a better idea of what lies ahead. Arriving home a few days ago my roommate Jonathan declared he wanted to do Mt. Konocti on Saturday. Konocti (4,299') is the monarch of Clear Lake. A huge multi-summited volcano that rises 3,000' above the south shore. We tossed the idea around and then came to the conclusion that Montgomery Woods was the destination of choice. This is a redwood grove out in a remote canyon to the west. The drive is almost 2 hours past the north end of Clear Lake, over the Mayacamas Range, through the Russian River Valley and back into the mountains on a winding road that drops down to Orr Hot Springs. We swung by to pick up Justin and the 3 of us were off by early afternoon.

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Last Fling up North Last Fling up North  by Castlereagh

With the East Ridge presenting the prospect of a fun and basic scramble, I found myself concerned with the loose talus below the ridge proper. Having examined possibilities for this peak countless times over the last year , I decided that perhaps my best bet was to follow Scandinavian peakbagger Petter’s route as posted on one of his peakbagger.com TR’s, which ascends an ENE variation of the East Ridge route. This put me at a lower starting point of 7,300’, and as I ascended the dry ridge towards the peak I glared enviously at a SUV making its way up the ridge to join a few other cars parked several hundred feet above me.

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North
Cascades National Park: Sunshine on Cloudy Days North Cascades National Park: Sunshine on Cloudy Days  by MarkDidier

Unfortunately, we didn’t see a lot of sunshine on our three days in North Cascades National Park. While we had beautiful weather on Sunday up on Yellow Aster Butte, by Monday a weather system that guaranteed clouds and rain moved into the North Cascades and stayed with us through Thursday. Fortunately we were still able to get hikes in on Tuesday and Wednesday. And while we didn’t have bluebird days, the scenery was still amazing.

With the way our visit started we should have figured the weather wasn’t going to cooperate with us during our stay. As luck would have it, we arrived at Newhalem about 15 minutes after the rain started. And it rained all evening!

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Winter
Sewards Adirondacks Winter Sewards Adirondacks  by nickbk

The Seward Range in the Adirondacks includes Seward, Donaldson, Emmons, and Seymour mountains. They aren't outstanding peaks by themselves, but they stand out from the rest of the Adirondacks for a few reasons. First, they tend to be less visited than the other high peaks of the area and avoid the hiker traffic and crowds. Second, there is no officially maintained trails to the peaks. So you have to do a bit of research and navigation on your own to get them, which is a nice change from continuing on one trail, charging up peak after peak, that you get bagging some of the other peaks in the Adirondacks.

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Manly Beacon-- Back to Where
It All Began Manly Beacon-- Back to Where It All Began  by Bob Sihler

We eventually left and headed on to see Badwater and the sand dunes near Stovepipe Wells, but late afternoon brought us back to Zabriskie Point, and the golden ridges, starting to glow in the light of the lowering sun, drew us to them, and Manly Beacon seemed to be the epicenter of that force. Although there is no official trail to Manly Beacon, not even to the base of the route people take up it (though there are sometimes cairns in the wash that is the key to the approach), it was not hard to find our way to the end of a wash surrounded by red cliffs (Red Cathedral, I would learn some years later), and then we scrambled to the saddle between those cliffs and the narrow ridgeline of Manly Beacon and followed that crumbly ridge, really a knife edge in places, all the way to the small summit, where the late-afternoon colors on the badlands and the views west of snowy Telescope Peak, which I'd return to climb the following spring, and the great salt pan of Death Valley made me gape and exclaim my amazement.

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Bosnians,
Americans and Mexicans. Oh My! Bosnians, Americans and Mexicans. Oh My!  by Kiefer

I like Mexico. It’s a big country. The culture is vibrant and intoxicating. It’s exotic and colorful like a massive chilé-scented peacock. One has the option to head north and dodge cacti, coyotes and coyotajes while rummaging for desert peaks in the Sonoran or Chihuahua deserts or relaxing to the super-swinging sounds of Jimmy Buffett and Kenny Chesney down Tampico way. Getting lost within the crosstalk and great confusion that serves as Mexico City (one of the most populous cities in the world) is awe-inspiring, frustrating and heart-wrenchingly sad.

And then there’s the volcano’s. Mexico holds three of the highest peaks in North America: Pico de Orizaba, Iztaccihuatl and Popocatepetl. Unfortunately, one of them is off-limits due to its being perpetually pissed off, but that’s another matter. But for someone who has diminishing and occasional aspirations in all things altitude-related, I am drawn to its volcanos and mountains. As a traveler, I’m fascinated by its anachronistic progress towards the modern while keeping both feet and some could argue both hands, firmly planted in tradition and torpidity. And oddly enough, I believe that, is Mexico’s savior…tradition. For without its devout religious beliefs and tradition, the poverty which, is all encompassing and leaves one speechless in its totality, would be unbearable. But liked a buried ember, it’s tradition that rises like a Phoenix to save the people. For this, is why I like to go to Mexico when not hiking, for the people.

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Cowboys and
Aliens in the American Elysium - Yellowstone, The Grand, The Wind Rivers Cowboys and Aliens in the American Elysium - Yellowstone, The Grand, The Wind Rivers  by tvashtarkatena

Going to Wyoming from Seattle involves a time change: one hour minus 100 years. Here, things are made of logs, rocks, and whatever bits of steel the pioneers left on their way to Hollywood and Eugene, crudely TIG welded by a guy named Lindsay, but you’d best call him Buck.

Everything that happens here stays here but, like the surface of Mars, it remains indelibly etched upon the land for all eternity. If a front yard display of every machine International Harvester ever made is the statement you’re looking for, hire a Wyoman as your landscaper. Despite Wyoming’s inherent remoteness, the state harbors two of the world’s most popular national parks. I was 16 the last time I backpacked in Yellowstone, and 21 when I was last stormed off the Grand Teton.

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Upper
Wolfjaw Mt. White Slide: 2014 Winter Finale Upper Wolfjaw Mt. White Slide: 2014 Winter Finale  by MudRat

It’s difficult to describe why I love this slide (perhaps love-hate is a better term). It’s the prize of Upper Wolfjaw Mt. and one of the most difficult Adirondack slides. The combination of setting, challenge and general character set it apart from most others in my mind. While there is plenty of clean rough slab, during non-snow/ice seasons, it harbors moss in the most precarious places, most notably, on the crux of the climb—part of the draw for me. Oddly, this is also the same reason that I sometimes dislike the slide. In any case, climbing it requires total emersion in the moment. This alone draws me back to it over and again.

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