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The President and Vice
President The President and Vice President  by connoryoung

I could not have asked for a better objective, better weather, or better company for my final trip in the Canadian Rockies. The climbing was easy and incredibly aesthetic, but required quite a bit of terrain management, the weather was bluebird with just a few clouds at night to make for a gorgeous sunset, and many laughs were shared with the whole group. Cameron, Thomas and Tiffany have been some of my most reliable and capable partners all season, so getting to introduce them all to each other and to have them all join me for this last climb was a real treat. The President Glacier is quite broken up with some enormous crevasses lurking around. After last week's snow, the cool overnight temperatures, and warm days, I figured the Presidents would be in fantastic shape. I had seen a report from a friend from a week prior when it was snowing and after talking to him, I settled on these two peaks as my final objective. Thomas, Cameron and Tiff were very easy to convince to join. We all knew the weather was supposed to be fantastic and we had plenty of time to slow down and enjoy this one. This was especially important to me on this trip because it feels like all my big objectives this summer have been somewhat rushed. The typical scenario is hiking hard and fast to a bivy site, getting there just before dark, sleeping for 3 hours, then climbing, packing, deproaching and driving home all on the second day. The Presidents on the other hand, have an easy approach and could be done in one day push but we were giving ourselves two.

Pool Hike and My Pinnacle Pool Hike and My "Discovery" of a Rock Glacier  by nader

The 12810 ft (3904 m) high Howard Mountain sits in the Never Summer Range in the western parts of Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park. It is usually climbed either from the northeast or via a ridge-top hike in combination with the peaks to the north and south of it. I approached Howard Mountain from the southeast by whacking my way through a forest to reach a 11300 ft high lake known as Pinnacle Pool. Above the pool I entered a large boulder filled valley where the boulders made small ridgelines/hills at the bottom of the valley. These features led me to believe that I was walking on a rock glacier. The bushwhack and boulder hopping became very time consuming so I gave up on reaching the summit of Howard Mountain and turned back at an elevation of 11500 ft. I was unhappy that I did not make it to the top but was happy that I had “discovered” a rock glacier.

Fear and Loathing Back West:
Pain & Glory Fear and Loathing Back West: Pain & Glory  by Castlereagh

After three long years out west I came home. I spent some time back in Massachusetts, catching up with family and friends, getting (way too) reacquainted with sleeping in, did some freelance jobs for a paycheck, enjoyed the holidays, and turned 30 (that last part really sucked). Around that unfortunate birthday I finally finished my freelance projects and started looking for a job in Jersey so I could move in with my roommate by the time his lease ended in April. Job found and started, my thoughts eventually turned back towards summer and making a trip back west. My body, which felt great after two plus months of rehabbing a car/pedestrian incident via crippled peakbagging, seemed to collapse shortly after I came home. I threw out my back through merely the act of sleep, my hips, glutes and groin constantly felt like s***, and my body felt creaky as hell even just taking my friends' dog out for an hour long walk. My pedestrian/auto collision in Savannah probably had a bit to do with it, as did my unconventional rehab climbing off the MCL sprain/contusion for the next few months...

Four Gables via Desolation
Lake Four Gables via Desolation Lake  by Ambret

After a few nights at Four Jeffrey Campground and a warm-up hike circumnavigating and summiting Chocolate Peak off of the Bishop Pass trail, our group—Ruvicha, Brian, Steve2 and I—prepared to head for Desolation Lake via the Piute Pass, with the goal of climbing Four Gables Peak. Three of us previously had camped at Horton Lake; Four Gables, along with Mt Tom and Basin Mountain, forms something of a triangle around the lake. From our lakeside campsite, we enjoyed the early morning alpenglow on Four Gables and wanted the view from its summit. Visiting Desolation Lake on the way seemed an added bonus.

Utah Classic - Aspen Grove
Semi-Loop Utah Classic - Aspen Grove Semi-Loop  by Rocky Alps

Almost twelve years after my first Wasatch hike, a sunrise hike of Mount Timpanogos, I’d finally finish the ranked Wasatch 11ers with a summit of South Timpanogos. The Timpanogos Massif is chock full of great trails and interesting terrain, with the higher ridgelines and peaks being very similar in appearance to the mountains in Glacier National Park, and during each visit to this mountain I’d been able to take a different route. Somehow, despite all of the previous Timp adventures, I had never gotten around to hiking up the Aspen Grove Trail, so it somehow worked out that I was able to save arguably the most scenic route on one of the best mountains in the Rockies for last.

Mount King George via SW
Face Mount King George via SW Face  by connoryoung

I wonder if I will ever have the capability to climb that. That was my thinking last August as I stared at the towering, glaciated Mount King George while I traversed the Northover Ridge. Traversing the Northover Ridge in a day was the crowning achievement of my summer last year, but I never imagined what I would find myself doing this year. In June this year, I came to the realization that I had the skills to climb King George and I immediately set aside the August Long weekend to go get it.

I managed to find some interested partners and the trip was on. Unfortunately, on July 27 a conditions report came out that painted a dire picture of the conditions in the Rockies. The trip quickly fell apart and Plan Bs started taking form. Thomas and I decided to climb the South Ridge of Lorette and traverse to McGillivray on Sunday, and Cam and I were going to climb Birdwood on Monday. I drove out to Canmore late Saturday night in a raging thunderstorm and lay awake feeling uneasy about getting on a highline ridge the next morning.

Cataract Arete Cataract Arete  by hunterslee

The stars finally aligned and a long awaited trip up Mt. Colonel Foster's Cataract Arete successfully took place under perfect conditions July 30/31 2016. I had just been up the West side of Colonel Foster the week before and my body hadn't recovered very much when Andreas and I cracked a plan to climb the classic Cataract Arete the following weekend.

With family and professional obligations behind us we left Nanaimo later on Friday afternoon. By the time we hit the ground and started on the Elk River Trail it was 5:00 PM Friday evening. Such a late start had us pondering a stop at the gravel flats camp ground and a really early get up and go the following morning- fortunately we had wind at our backs and made it all the way to Foster Lake in a record 4 1/2 hours. A quick bite to eat and we were off to bed. Here's the view to the West from Foster lake with Elkhorn Mountain and the night sky.

Peak via Froze-to-Death Plateau Granite Peak via Froze-to-Death Plateau  by DK

My Granite trip actually started a few days earlier in Colorado, where my husband Michael and I did some hiking to acclimatize. We live at sea level (in fact, our home is 1/2 mile from the shore), so we definitely needed some practice at altitude before attempting anything serious. We decided to focus on south western Colorado as we hadn’t been there before. Our first hike was going to be Handies peak, an easy 14er, but it turned out our base of Durango, Colorado wasn’t exactly the best place to attempt Handies. The closest trailhead to Handies was on the other side of the mountains 4+ hours’ drive away: definitely too far for a day hike!

We found an alternate hike in Engineer Peak (12,900’), a beautiful mountain that sits on top of Coal Mine Pass, starting at 10,500’. Engineer had an easy approach on one of those nice, nearly-manicured western trails. The trail took us past fields of beautiful wildflowers and coniferous trees. Beautiful views opened up to the reddish colored mountains to the north of us. I was so happy we chose that route! We had intended to hike just a few miles in and turn around, but then the scramble up Engineer Peak looked kind of fun.. we would go up some distance and turn around. We came up to the chimney section at about 12,500’ for some great action shots before we decided to turn around. We really didn’t have the food or water required to continue to the summit. The descent down was very pleasant and easy. After coming back to our car, we decided to drive over to the lake at Molas Pass-it had started thunder storming, so we didn’t linger for too long. Later that afternoon, we decided to drive over to Mesa Verde National Park for some sightseeing. At 99 degrees and super-bright, it was in stark contrast to the conditions we experienced on Engineer Peak.

Lake Hike, Cherry Cairn Peak Attempt Fourmile Lake Hike, Cherry Cairn Peak Attempt  by nader

Fourmile Lake Trail is a fairly popular hike in the San Juan Mountains of southwestern Colorado near the town of Pagosa Springs. A 5.65 mile long trail goes to the lake which sits at an elevation of 11185 ft. A number of 12ers rise above the lake. Of these, only the 12511 ft Cherry Cairn Peak is named. I had planned to hike to the lake and then find my own way to the top of Cherry Cairn Peak. As an added bonus, I had read that the trail gave good views of two big waterfalls as well.

San Feng - Four Sisters
Range, Sichuan, China San Feng - Four Sisters Range, Sichuan, China  by b.smith

Our trip started from the Chadianzi bus station in Chengdu, Sichuan, China. We wanted to ride a public bus to Rilong, but it was already sold out, so we arranged with a driver to take our crew of four out to Rilong Zhen (Rilong town). Some Chinese language skill was needed to negotiate the price in this instance (as is typical for Southwest China). The ride took about 6 hours.

Upon arrival in Rilong town, we directed the driver to take us 300 meters up the hill to Rilong village. The government is currently making repairs/improvements to the village to further develop it for tourism. We stayed at Kalsong Metok Hostel. The owner, Paulie, helped us out with a guide service and equipment rental (i.e. tents, sleeping bags, gloves, etc.). After a 45 minute meeting with our guide (all in Chinese), we had decided that San Feng (3rd sister) was the peak for us, and we made all the arrangements, such as pack horses, number of guides, and technical equipment rental

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