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Ecuador - 1/13 Ecuador - 1/13  by mountainops

Panting heavily, we stepped onto the summit of Cotopaxi at 19,300 ft. just as the first dull red hue of sunrise crept onto the edge of the night sky. Edgar and I were the first to reach the summit and he gave me a celebratory hug. I was happy to be finished with the ascent, but not exactly ecstatic about accomplishing the goal of reaching the top. Many climbers report the empty feeling of “now what?” upon achieving their goal. However, I just felt general displeasure and fatigue. We took our victory photographs once Chris and Justin caught up (moments later), and thanked Edgar for getting us to the top.

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The Road Less Traveled The Road Less Traveled  by ROSENCLIMBER

Just south of Hollister the road sign clearly warns "No Services Next 75 Miles". This was astonishing for anywhere just 100 miles or so from San Francisco. I would expect a sign like that in the middle of Nevada, but on the outskirts of the Bay Area? Also, I encountered relatively few people on this hike - less than ten going to the top of North Chalone Peak - this at a time when the campground which has over a hundred sites was filled up. I can only conclude that 90% of the visitors were hiking the more popular trails - the Balconies or the High Peaks for example. All in all, the relative lack of people plus the outstanding topography on this route combined to impart a sense of adventure to this outing.

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Toiyabe Dome - Dennis
finishes Nevada Toiyabe Dome - Dennis finishes Nevada  by Dean

In Nevada, there are 169 peaks on the prominence list that pertains to peaks with over 2000 feet of prominence. Since two of these are in the off limits military reservation known as Area 51, that means you have 167 to do in order to get all of the peaks, quite an undertaking since they are scattered all over the state and most are only accessed by long drives on dirt roads with many of these requiring high clearance and 4 wheel drive. So when Dennis Poulin stood on top of the 11,000 foot plus mountain called Toiyabe Dome, it was a huge accomplishment and a fitting one to end his statewide effort on. It required a backpack for us since we tackled it in mid October and daylight is shorter at that time of the year although in June-July it would be a solid dayhike of 14 miles and over 5000' of elevation gain.

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Highpointing the Balkans Pt
4 Highpointing the Balkans Pt 4  by Andrew Rankine

After a long day on Olympus (24 km and 2200 m elevation gain) we decided to take a rest day, heading to the beach and visiting an archeological site near Litochoro.

The next morning we drove from Litochoro, Greece to Prizren, Kosovo. Taking the same route of toll roads from Katerini, past Thessaloniki to the Makedonian border at Evzonoi, and to Skopje, we took the A4/E65 to Kosovo. In Kosovo we drove through Kačanik heading towards Ferizaj. We meant to turn onto R-115/115 at Gornja Gabrica but after seeing the state of the road and the heavy horse and cart traffic, decided to continue to Ferizaj and take M25-3/M25/E-851 (I note all of the names due to the inconsistent and occasionally contradictory signage along the route). After getting out of the rough dirt roads and numerous construction sites in Ferizaj the road was pretty smooth. There were relatively few horse-drawn carts, but many military convoys that slowed things down. Routefinding was easiest by just following the flow of local traffic rather than reading unreliable or nonexistent road signs.

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Where Eagles Dare Where Eagles Dare  by Bob Sihler

Call me crazy, but seeing a golden eagle soar along about 10 yards overhead paralleling your route as you are traversing an exposed ridge after a nice snow climb to an unnamed peak in a lightly used range in one of the world's greatest wilderness complexes pretty much makes the day, no matter what else happens-- including a skin-soaking thunderstorm-- a great one.

And that was just one of the highlights. It was a great day of mountaineering, easily among one of my best ever.

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Ditching Black thoughts from
my Head Ditching Black thoughts from my Head  by Mike Lewis

I left with Joanna on July 27th at 6:00 am from Lynnwood to the North Fork Sauk trail-head with the intention of camping at White Pass where we part ways, climbing Indian Head the next morning, moving to Red pass in the afternoon and then attempt the Painted Traverse counter-clockwise to Black Mountain the following day. The last bit didn't work out since I felt unsafe without snow in the gulley on Black but overall it was a great time out.

I hadn't had any sleep the previous night since I was talking with my brother Josh and Matt Lemke who had just returned from a long trip in Peru and also some personal stuff I wanted to take care of. The trail miles seemed a little slower since I hadn't been used to packing for multiple days in a while. We arrived at Mackinaw around 10am and took a brief water break before marching up the hot switchbacks to White Pass. I was very surprised to see how many wild strawberries there were all the way up the trail in sunny clearings. They are ripening and very much sweeter than store-bought.

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Father and
Daughter Adventures in Central America Father and Daughter Adventures in Central America  by Scott

This is the story of a father-daughter adventure in Central America. I had told the kids that when they turned 10, they could do a trip with just dad if they would like.

Shaylee and I had planned a trip to Central America so we could do a humanitarian aid trek. Unfortunately, the organizers of the treks decided that she was too young, so we had to make alternate plans. We came up with lots of alternate plans including bungee jumping, climbing volcanoes, ziplining, and viewing wildlife. Despite a few bumps and setbacks, we accomplished a lot in our allotted 19 days away from home.

This was my third time to Guatemala (having been there in 1992-1993 and 2008) and Shaylee’s second time. I knew Guatemala had changed when the first store I saw was a Wal-Mart! Although I had been to Guatemala on two previous trips, other than climbing Volcán Tajumulco, we would visit things and areas that we hadn’t seen before. The first trip to Guatemala, I climbed Volcán Tacana and Volcán Tajumulco and the second time we visited Esquipulas and the Copan area.

We had also both visited El Salvador previously (2008), but last time we visited La Palma and El Pital (the highest peak in the country), so this time we’d see all new areas.

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Harvard/Columbia winter
traverse 2015 Harvard/Columbia winter traverse 2015  by pchernik

On Friday, January 16th we drove down from Denver area to Buena Vista. The guide book talked about parking around 9200 ft in the winter, as the road would not be plowed past that point. We drove up to about 9000 ft of elevation, but had to go back and park around 8700 on the side of the road, as we didn't have chains and the 4WD had trouble going up the snowy uphill.

We left the car around 10pm and hiked in up to roughly 9100 ft, just past the boundary of the San Isabel National Forest, where we pitched our tent on the snow. Given that next day's 8 mile hike didn't promise to be too difficult, we set the alarm for 7:30am, and went to sleep around midnight.

On Saturday, January 17th we got up around 7:30 am, and started moving by about 9am after having breakfast and packing up.

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Christmas
2014 on Orizaba and Iztaccihuatl Christmas 2014 on Orizaba and Iztaccihuatl  by shknbke

Orizaba has been on my list of international adventures for quite some time. It is a logical stepping stone to grander plans. With my only above 14K’ experience being on Kili some 7 years ago, it was prudent to test the waters at high altitude again. My experience on Kili was good, but I didn’t feel as strong on summit day as I would have liked. My friends Dave and Jane Schmid had a trip booked for late December, but I wasn’t sure I could pull off the vacation days. Since the trip was wrapped around Christmas weekend, it would only require 4 days off. The bonus for this trip would be 17er Iztaccihuatl on a day’s rest if the weather cooperated. I signed up with a little over a month to plan, and it was a decision I wouldn’t regret!

There were 7 of us, but we had 3 different travel itineraries. Dave, Jane, and I elected to use the shuttle services of Antonio Juarez Guzman for travel to the Canchola’s hostel in Tlachichuca. We also used him for transport to Izta and back to Mexico City. Although the bus system would have been about 1/3rd of the cost, the convenience was worth it. We didn’t have to worry about our gear getting stolen and were able to pickup groceries very conveniently. Antonio and his employee Joel were very reliable for the duration of the trip and are highly recommended.

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Trapdike, December 2014 Trapdike, December 2014  by nickbk

The Adirondacks received a lot of snow this past December, so on December 20 the Trapdike was much more of a snow climb than an ice climb. In fact, at several points I was swinging my ice tools through a few inches of snow and into rock. And on the slab we found ourselves similarly having nothing under the snow to stick our crampons into.

Because of all snow, the gully part of the climb was easy at first. The 3 of us roped up together with a 60-meter rope, and Josh put in a few anchors and ice screws at the most tricky and exposed points. All 3 of us used 2 ice tools, although for much of the climb I gripped onto the top and used the handle like a mountaineering ice ax.

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