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More Rain Mountain winter
overnight More Rain Mountain winter overnight  by StephAbegg

Matt proposed this Presidents'-Day-long-weekend-overnight-adventure-in-the-snowy-North-Cascades with the intent of climbing the Northwest Glacier route on Mt. Torment. Carla and I were easily convinced to join. We knew that the success of a winter ascent of Mt. Torment would be very dependent on the conditions we saw once we got up there, but either way we would enjoy a day, evening, night, and morning high up in the North Cascades. It had been a very mild winter, so the snow line was high and the snowpack was springlike and consolidated, making for quicker approaches into and easier travel upon the snowy high country.

We decided to camp above the west side of Torment Col, just below the summit of More Rain Mountain (a high point on the ridge between Torment and Eldorado whose name is a play on Moraine Lake in the basin below to the north). From here, we had great views of Torment (and Eldorado, Tepah Towers, Klawatti, Johannesburg, and...). My impression on looking at the proposed NW Glacier route was that we would have 2 cruxes: (1) a steep section of snow between Torment Col and the NW Glacier we might need to rappel (and how - could we find a bare rock horn? or would the snow hold a picket well? could we get back up this section easily?) and (2) the final section of mixed rock and snow getting to the summit (would the snow be well bonded to the rock? how steep/exposed would it be?). I suspected the NW Glacier itself would be fairly easy going with good snow conditions for bootstepping up.

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2014 -
Benasque - Is it really 10 years? 2014 - Benasque - Is it really 10 years?  by DrJonnie

Maybe a too rhetorical question? Prior to visiting Benasque we had been to Torla on the boundary of the Ordessa National Park, another beautiful area of the Spanish Pyrenees.

Although we loved the Ordessa area and had fond memories of climbing Monte Perdido, the draw of the area surrounding Benasque was too great a lure to resist so we had to come back again.

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Mount
Russell and Mount Carillon Mount Russell and Mount Carillon  by Diesel

I wish I could claim that I was inspired by a picture, somebody or some story to hike Mount Russell. But I wasn’t. The idea to hike Mount Russell was pure practicality. In my attempt to hike as many 14ners as possible in the week I was going to spend in Eastern Sierra, the research led me to Mount Russell, amongst others. I researched the easiest, non-technical, no-climbing-equipment-required peaks over 14,000 ft. Since class 1 & 2 summits were already on the list, class 3 came in order: Muir, Russell and Middle Palisade. I never made it to Middle Palisade (hopefully in 2015), but I bagged Muir and Russell.

Mount Russell is situated in the Whitney Zone, meaning it requires a day hike or overnight hike permit. The same permit lottery, quota availability, subject to destiny, nerves wracking bureaucracy, applies to getting a permit for Russell as is for Whitney. But, I planed ahead, and I got my hiking permit in April.

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Climbing
Licancabur, the postcard Climbing Licancabur, the postcard  by PAROFES

To climb Licancabur volcano was a dream for me since the first time i laid my eyes on it in jan 2007 when I was backpacking across South America. The perfectly symmetric volcano caught my attention big time. So I had to try the climb at least one time in my life. That of course means money, and things can get quite expansive in the atacama desert, the driest desert in the world. All I had to do was plan for my next visit the climb, the thing is, I didn’t know back then when that would be. But it was okay, at the time, just looking at it was a fantastic experience.

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Khyber's Slide on Lower
Wolfjaw Khyber's Slide on Lower Wolfjaw  by MudRat

This is one of Irene’s creations from 2011. A couple weeks after the storm I climbed Bennies to the summit of Lower Wolfjaw then bushwhacked down to this track and followed it over to UWJ’s Wide Slide (just up and right of the old lean-to site). Brendan Wiltse named it after his dog when he climbed it with permission a couple days after Irene as part of surveying storm damage while caretaking at JBL. As a point of reference, Drew Haas used the name Lower Slide in his aerial guidebook and I used to use the Northwest Ridge Slide as a descriptive name for lack of anything better.

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Winter
Ascent of Tokewanna Winter Ascent of Tokewanna  by ZeeJay

Occasionally I read a summitpost page that states that such and such a peak hardly ever gets climbed in the winter. Then it goes on to say there are probably only a handful of winter ascents a year at which point I say "Ha! that's not hardly ever, that's a lot!". In the Uinta range of Utah, some if not most of the 13000 footers have probably never, ever been climbed in calendar winter. The biggest impediment is the remoteness. Let's take 13,165 foot Tokewanna Peak. The easiest feasible route starting from where plowing ends is 38 miles round trip via the East Fork Blacks Fork. My friends and I tried it each of the last two winters and did not make it. This year I finally did, solo.

Michael R. Kelsey climbed Tokewanna the last week of March in 1997 as recorded in the 3rd Edition of his book "Utah Mountaineering Guide". Whether or not this constitutes winter is left to the individual as everyone seems to have their own definition. No matter, his trip is impressive, because he didn't just do Tokewanna, he did a loop trip going up the Left Hand Fork of the East Fork Bear River and down the West Fork Blacks Fork, taking side trips to Wasatch BM and Tokewanna over a 5 day period.

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Little Sister winter climb Little Sister winter climb  by StephAbegg

At the last minute*, I decided to join my friends Stefan, Eric, Dave, Greg, Gabriel, and Lindsay on a planned winter ascent of Little Sister. Little Sister is a peak just southeast of the Twin Sisters near Mount Baker. Although it has a spectacular location and aesthetic approach, Little Sister is not often climbed. We suspect that our little army of 7 made the first winter ascent. Or at least the first documented winter ascent.

*It was quite literally the last minute. I had initially decided not to join because of a daunting stack of exams to grade over the weekend. But at 1am on Saturday morning I decided I couldn't resist a day in the mountains, so I threw my gear together and dove into bed for a few hours before driving to the trailhead to meet them. Muddled thinking on my part led me to get to the trailhead about 30-45 minutes after they had already started hiking. In my last-minute packing, I had not brought a map or even a compass. But I knew the general direction I needed to head. So I threw on my pack, crossed the Middle Fork on a slippery log, and started 'schwacking up the closest southward-trending forested valley. I was quickly reminded of the equation: snowshoes + alder = masochistic fun (I learned later that the other side of the creek would have been a better choice). But bushiness always ends eventually, and when it did and the views opened up I was able to spot my friends. I sure am glad I caught up because it turned out to be a really fun and athletic day in the company of good people. The best kind of day.

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Snow Cones In Hawaii Snow Cones In Hawaii  by TJ311

We finally stopped for a lengthy snack break @ 11,225 feet. We found a huge boulder to shelter us from the wind, so that made it quite comfortable. We even took our jackets off. This was also the snowline. It was sparse at first but soon we were in pretty deep snow. They had a pretty good storm about a week before we got there, so in places, it was over a foot deep. The good thing... the snow was crusted over, so we were able to walk on top of it for a good distance. In other places, we would walk in other people's foot prints. After about 3 miles, the sun began to soften the snow and we were soon post holing. Not fun. Exhausting. We cut the trail short, exiting just before the lake, and walked the road for a bit. Walking on the road wasn't a whole lot of fun so when Ranger Shane asked us if we wanted a ride to the top, we took him up on it.

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Fool in the Pacific
Northwest Fool in the Pacific Northwest  by Mike Lewis

Sometimes I need to get away and put myself in a dangerous position to get over whatever matters are troubling me and remind me how trivial they really are. I don't know what kind of trouble I got myself into this time. I made the first 42 miles on Friday night. I started to feel weary by the time I got to Rockport, 18 miles in. At Marblemount I was groaning from banana seat induced groin pain. Two miles into the Cascade River Road I collapsed on my ground pad and spent an hour just breathing. After a while I got cold, shoved some cookies and water in my mouth and started moving again. A couple in a pickup helped speed my approach at about mile 3 by saving me 5 miles of biking uphill. I was already hurting by this point and it occurred to me that it might not work out. I took a short nap on the side of the road with an odd feeling that something was following me. Rustling in the bushes got me up and going before I used up too much time. The rest of the slog was eerie in the foggy dark with a dim headlamp. When I finally changed the batteries I was like, wow! That's bright! Ice forced me to ditch the bike early at mile 18. It didn't really matter though, because I was pushing the bike uphill for most of the Cascade River road.

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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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