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Geissler Mountain East Geissler Mountain East  by nader

After three days of finding my own way to the tops of unnamed peaks in a forgotten part of the Sawatch Mountains of Colorado where I saw no other hikers, I was ready to tackle a more established peak. The 13480 ft Geissler Mountain seemed like an ideal candidate because it has a popular trail that starts on Route 82 and goes to the 12490 ft Independence Lake where the peak can be accessed.

Mount Inabnit Mount Inabnit  by gemminer

I seem to always end up doing things alone. This might have to do with the company I keep, the fact that none of them can, or want to, keep up with me, or it could have more to do with my defiant individuality, and arrogance. I say that with utmost humility. I am painfully aware of my character defects. Most of the time I am wrong. And there is nothing like an agonizing descent down Snow Creek in the rain to keep me right sized. Regardless of my personal ruminations here, my point is that I was once again on my own doing an adventure. I left my out of shape, and untrained companions in the primitive campground at East Rosebud Lake, told them I'd be back in 2 or 3 days, and took off up the Spread Creek trail with some trail mix, and Mountain House. This was in the late morning of Aug. 2nd 2015.

Dzongri Trek – When I
Almost Lost My Wife Dzongri Trek – When I Almost Lost My Wife  by lingana

The pilot made an announcement – “Good evening ladies and gentlemen, please be seated with your seat belts fastened. We are experiencing turbulence now. Due to bad weather, we are unable to land in Kolkata, but have enough fuel for an hour, so we are going to be circling over the city. We surely are not going to be in the air for an hour, just to let you know.” I saw the time – it was 5:15 pm. We had boarded the flight from Bagdogra at 4:45 pm, instead of 4:35 pm. It was supposed to be a hour long flight, and half an hour into the flight – and we are told of bad weather. We were supposed land in Kolkata at 5:35 pm, and board the next flight to Pune at 6:35 pm.

Roof of Idaho - Chicken Out
Ridge Roof of Idaho - Chicken Out Ridge  by Rocky Alps

Borah Peak had been on my radar for quite some time. My wanting to hike it wasn’t really due to it being a state highpoint, but rather because its standard “Chicken-Out” ridge looked quite fun. If I was into high-pointing then it would probably be my favorite though, since it’s probably the most difficult and scrambly state highpoint that you can do that doesn’t require any special gear (Denali, Rainier, Gannett, Granite, and Hood are more technical). That combined with the fact that it would give us some nice views of the rugged Lost River Range made it one of the scrambles at the top of my wish list. This summer my cousin David and I would finally get the chance to give it a try.

Cross country in the
Sawtooths Cross country in the Sawtooths  by Hazenhart

After a few family trips in the familiar terrain of the Wind River range and the North Cascades, I wanted to try someplace new, and the Sawtooths of Idaho met that requirement. Having spent a little time skiing out of the Bench Hut (operated by Sun Valley Trekking), I knew the range was steep, wild, and rocky; and the potential for an epic family trek in the mountains was real. Some time on the web, reading guidebooks, and hours on Google Earth left us with a planned route consisting of approximately 37 miles including side trips, and something in the neighborhood of + and - 12,000 feet of vertical, with about half of the route being off trail and cross country, with a few summits to bag as well. We navigated it all successfully--with the exception of one aborted summit attempt--and had an outstanding time with the granite and gneiss summits, clear mountain lakes, and forested trails. Viva Sawtooths!

Accidental Triumphs and
Lessons Learned Accidental Triumphs and Lessons Learned  by CEIGE

Though I have very little true climbing and alpine experience, I have taken on the seemingly daunting task of becoming the youngest finisher of the Bulger list, a list of the 100 highest peaks in the state of Washington. I have about 3 years to do this. If I am somehow able to achieve this, I would also destroy the current record for time taken to finish this list by over a year. I began at the end of June 2015, climbing Hoodoo Peak to start. Since then, I have done quite well, summitting 6 more over the month of July. It has been at times a struggle, but I am quite amazed at the amount I have accomplished and everything I've learned.

Minaret SE Face w/ Direct Start Clyde Minaret SE Face w/ Direct Start  by StephAbegg

The Minarets are the series of jagged spires that can be seen to the west from the town of Mammoth Lakes. Unlike most of the Sierras, the Minarets are not composed of granite, but rather of a more ancient metamorphic rock, which gives the Minarets their characteristic needle-like shapes. Clyde Minaret is not only the biggest of the Minarets, but also has the prettiest face—its dark triangular SE face is home to a great rock climb, one of Steck and Roper's fifty classic climbs of North America. Clyde Minaret is named after Norman Clyde, the High Sierras most prolific first ascensionist.

Split Mountain 2015 Split Mountain 2015  by Diesel

As they say it: the third time is a charm! I wish it did not take me three attempts to get to the summit of Split Mountain, but it did. The first time, I was at the top of the last chimney getting on the back side of the mountain but had to turn around because of a thunderstorm. The second time, I got started on the wrong trail and ended up on Stecker Flat, having no idea what I did wrong or how to get on the right trail to Red Lake. The third time, had a 30 minute bushwhacking adventure but I made it.

Walkup - Deer Creek Trail Underrated Walkup - Deer Creek Trail  by Rocky Alps

The first time I attempted Box Elder Peak I didn’t do enough research, and as a result we ended up on the Box Elder Trail (No. 44) instead of the Deer Creek Trail (No. 43). This would have been fine, but since it was early June, there were still some steep snowbanks over the trail which hindered our progress. With no ice axes there were a couple spots that proved difficult to navigate, and after slipping down one steep snow slope and grabbing onto a nearby branch to stop my fall, a sliced open finger dampened my mood and made me decide that I’d come back some other time to try it. We did catch some nice views of the south summit of Box Elder Peak from its eastern slopes, but nine years would pass before I’d finally come back around and give it another go (there were just too many other good Wasatch hikes to try first)

Seven Fingered Jack and
Maude Seven Fingered Jack and Maude  by taniagrotter

On July 4th weekend I climbed Seven Fingered Jack and Mt Maude in the Entiat Mountains with my friends Micah and Andrew. The weather in Seattle was supposed to be very hot, so a weekend in the Glacier Peak Wilderness seemed like an excellent way to avoid the heatwave (even though it was pretty hot up there as well…but more of that later) and to mark my upcoming move to London. We spent two days on the mountains, camping overnight in the LeRoy meadows at 6100ft and ascending 7FJ on day 1, and Maude on day 2. We were initially hoping to climb Fernow as well, but after looking at the route from the 7FJ summit, it seemed that it would take another whole day just for that peak (plus there seemed to be some pretty steep icy snow on the way there, and the week before there was a slip-on-snow accident on that exact snowfield, which made us pretty skeptical about how much we wanted to suffer over this beautiful weekend)

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