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A Tour of Upper Muley Twist
Canyon A Tour of Upper Muley Twist Canyon  by Bob Sihler

If you read any guidebook about hiking in Utah, you are almost bound to come across a description of Upper Muley Twist Canyon, complete with rave reviews calling it one of Utah's finest hikes. A total of about 10 miles (if you have the high clearance necessary to make it to the 4wd trailhead-- if you don't, it's closer to 15 miles), the route goes up the canyon, where dramatically colored walls and several arches are on display, and then climbs to the crest of the Waterpocket Fold before descending back into the canyon and returning to the trailhead.

As I developed into a "summit snob" over the years, I began to have an increasing disdain for hiking on trails simply for hiking's sake. Trails became approaches to off-trail routes, little more. When I found myself hiking on trails with friends and family, I found myself bored and caged. And, truth be told, I am still this way. It is very hard for me to enjoy a trail hike unless I am alone and hiking very early in the morning, virtually ensuring solitude.

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Zionism and the Sanctuary of
Exposure Zionism and the Sanctuary of Exposure  by tvashtarkatena

I could just wrap this up right now with that little metaphorical synopsis, but why not embullishit with a bit of imagery and a spine or two of fresh wisdom?

For it takes an increasingly not-so-rare breed of seeker to drive over a thousand miles to a place called Zion – “a word interpreted to mean sanctuary or refuge” – in search of precisely the opposite.

We had enough time to piss all over the concept of ‘sanctuary’ more than once, so we opted to leverage our ignorance by attacking the more delicate of our objectives first. Materiel was carefully sorted and solemn oaths dutifully uttered; we would either return with or on our Desert Shield.

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Three
Volcanoes And A Rock Three Volcanoes And A Rock  by gimpilator

Part of the deal I struck with my boss that enabled me to take time off for the Greece and Egypt trip this Spring was to work a promotional gig in Oregon in the middle of July. Bummer! During the height of mountaineering season, on one of the best weekends, I would be stuck working. But then I started thinking about the volcanoes. My counter offer to my boss was to get a company vehicle and a couple of extra days to get back to Washington after the work was done. He accepted.

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Fastpacking the JMT in 9
days Fastpacking the JMT in 9 days  by Voxaether

The fall of 2012 I was bored. My boyfriend, Jason, and I had returned from climbing Denali earlier that summer and were in the midst of post-expedition depression. I become impatient when I don't have something big on my calendar, and we brainstormed over what would be our 'next'. I had wanted to hike the John Muir Train since the first time I learned about it, Jason and I knew one day we'd take it on. By the fall of 2012 I was 34 and almost felt ashamed that we had put off such a classic so long, and it only felt natural that the task would become our next adventure.

But we had no intention of hiking it in the standard 20 days with 30 pound packs - we would fastpack it, averaging a marathon and 5,200 feet of elevation gain a day,sporting 15-28 pound packs. Seven days was the original goal. We had read so many amazing trip reports of fastpackers finishing in seven, five,even three days. We divided the mileage and seven seemed doable: 31.7miles a day. I became obsessed with scheduling out the distance between bear bins and campsites, poured over maps and loaded topos. After researching the probability I looked at Jason and excitedly remarked that this might actually be within reason – I think we can do this!

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Something Wet comes this
Way Something Wet comes this Way  by Josh Lewis

When it rains, it pours! This is by far the wettest trip I've ever had in my mountaineering experience. Although the weather started out good, we could not escape the bad weather in time and ended up in some of the worst conditions for getting into the mountains. From soaking wet to going into snowy conditions, this trip was far from ideal. By the end I was covered head to toe in mud.

It had been a while since I had my fill of adventure. With the constancy of bad weather I was willing to take any opportunity possible to get a great trip in. The weather forecast predicted bad weather coming in but it appeared we had just enough time to get into the mountains before the rain arrived. Deeper into the mountains the forecast called for snow which is much friendlier. Unfortunately we did not make it in time, the trip fell apart, and we got super soaked before arriving to the snow. The wet snow made it even colder making the risk of hypothermia a very serious possibility.

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Third time
is the charm on Lennox Mountain 3-23-2014 Third time is the charm on Lennox Mountain 3-23-2014  by Jeb

Lennox Mountain has been taunting me from afar since I first laid eyes on its rolling snowy slopes from somewhere within the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. I had hoped to continue on to Lennox after climbing Cleveland Mountain, and then from Canoe Peak but each time the summit seemed just out of reach. After conceding that this one would deserve the dedication of a full day, I began to look for the perfect snow conditions and weather forecast. With a Sunday that would live up to it's name and the lowest predicted avalanche danger in weeks I was confident that the third time would be the charm.

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Lathrop
Trail to White Rim Road Lathrop Trail to White Rim Road  by nader

Lathrop Trail was the last of the major established trails in the Island in the Sky district of Canyonlands National Park that I hiked. The trail starts on the east side of the Island in the Sky Mesa and goes down a gully among the eastern walls of the mesa 1600 vertical feet to end at White Rim Jeep Road. Along the way, the trail provides great views of walls, canyons of Colorado River and the La Sal Mountains.

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Forbidding
Journeys Forbidding Journeys  by Scott

This is the story of our journey through Forbidding Canyon. Forbidding Canyon is a spectacular and seldom visited canyon system on the west slopes of Navajo Mountain. The plan was to meet Jason and Sonia near the mountain and then to spend 8 days exploring the canyons, climbing peaks/buttes, and any side trips and side slots.

After waking up with 22F outside, we all left the vehicle and set off to find the Cummings Mesa stock trail. Decades ago this was a well constructed trail, but it hasn’t seen much use in about 70 years and the elements have ravished it and it took some route finding. Eventually we lost a trail, but it didn’t matter much as we just set out cross country and made our way through the cliffs and bluffs directly into the East Fork of Forbidding Canyon. We found some really interesting rock formations along the way.

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Summit or
Plummet! An SP Attempt on Capitol Pk Summit or Plummet! An SP Attempt on Capitol Pk  by PellucidWombat

With anticipation I kept opening my eyes open to peek at my watch – 5:45am – almost time for the alarm! I pulled my small fleece blanket a little higher on me and readjusted my head on the reclined drivers seat. I had made an 8hr trek from Salt Lake City, UT to Aspen, CO by myself in order to meet up with some other SPers from across the intermountain west to climb Capitol Peak, reportedly one of Colorado’s most difficult 14ers based on the class 4 rating of its knife-edge ridge. The current snow cover would probably make the route even more difficult.

I had first heard of this peak when climbing the East Ridge of Mt Russell with Joel Wilson. Having just come from Boulder, Colorado, he had told me how similar the two ridges were. When I saw Scott Patterson’s call for partners, I jumped at the chance to climb the peak. The message board thread had received a lot of interest, and ultimately, we had a posse composed of yours truly from Salt Lake City, UT, Scott Patterson from Craig, CO, Brad Snider from Aurora, CO, Casey McCoy from Albuquerque, NM, Joel Schenk from Minnesota, and Kevin Donovan from Fort Worth, TX – truly a diverse group from all over the intermountain west.

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North
Sister Summit 20 July 2013 North Sister Summit 20 July 2013  by Eddie Dallas

Once you leave the traverse, the Bowling Alley is immediately up and around the rock corner on your right. We saw what looked like a well worn path continuing north up a steep slope but it looked like it was a dead end heading up towards Glisan Pinnacle and didn’t go that way. The real Bowling Alley heads southeast up to the South Horn. We free climbed the Bowling Alley heading towards the visible rappelling slings and the rock was decent.

At the top of the Bowling Alley is the South Horn, walk the ridge north over to the Summit Block. We free climbed the Summit Block. Elevation 10,085 feet. There is a crack on the lower block (black rock) you can climb up to. Ledge walk west and you will find a notch you can scramble up to the top on the brown rock with solid hand holds. I have seen pictures of climbers using protection and there are plenty of anchor points. A bolt at the summit makes a nice belay for your pack.

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