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Cruces, Tres Cumbres” expedition (January 2013) “Tres Cruces, Tres Cumbres” expedition (January 2013)  by Guillaume.Ceyrac

I am a Puna de Atacama lover since 15 years and I have been thinking of climbing the three summits of the beautiful Tres Cruces massif in one single solo expedition since many years. For a long time I thought that it could be a premiere but during my preparation I realized that it has been done in 2006 by one of the best contributors of this site : Janne Corax.

So the objective is to climb Tres Cruces Central (6629m / 21,749 ft), then Tres Cruces Sur (6749 m / 22,142 ft) and finally Tres Cruces Norte (6030m / 19,783 ft)

The Agony
of Defeat The Agony of Defeat  by PanamaRed

Before the year 2013, I had not truly tasted the agony of defeat in the mountains (with the exception of shattering my heel bone while bouldering, which required half a year of surgery and rehab, and still causes me lots of pain). Sure, there had been a couple of half cocked attempts on peaks that ended in retreat, most notably my failed attempt to solo the Grand Teton in a day(I started hiking at 6pm thinking I would summit overnight and beat the crowds on the descent. I ended up curled up in a ball, freezing my ass of in the Teton Glacier Morain, where I spent the night under a tattered "survival blanket". When the sun came out I staggered down the trail and ended up getting some strange looks from tourists who saw me sleeping in the middle of the trail.

Colonel Foster's
Direttissima Colonel Foster's Direttissima  by hunterslee

With clear skies forecasted for the Pacific North-West, an unusually low snow pack, and cold temps for 5 days straight, the conditions and timing for a Winter attempt on Colonel Foster couldn't have been better. Initially our thoughts were on a new route on the West side of the mountain, or a complete summit traverse. However, upon reaching Landslide and Foster lakes, and seeing the condition of the Colonel's classic east face direct line: Direttissima, our climbing plans were set.

In Darkest
Nooksack: An Ascent of Lincoln Peak In Darkest Nooksack: An Ascent of Lincoln Peak  by tvashtarkatena

Road 38, now anonymous because We The People attack any signage that might compete with their own pronouncements of the Christian God and His Pioneer Spirit, remains as a decaying testament to the valley’s former government of occupation. When it begins switchbacking up it becomes The Worst Road in the World. This gauntlet of slide alder and oil pan punching creek crossings literally punched my car’s lights out. Well, a fog light, anyway.

This road is ceding to the jungle, and with it, easy access to the region’s darkest and most foreboding monument: Lincoln Peak. Perhaps this will spur a gold rush of sorts, and the summit will see more than a party every few years - until a wash out adds 3 miles of hard labor to the ticket price for this terrible prize. Perhaps there’s money to be made in the goals and accomplishments trade.

A Tale of
Two Cirques - Wind River Range Redux A Tale of Two Cirques - Wind River Range Redux  by tvashtarkatena

One look at the Deep Lake Cirque this past July and it was love at first sight. Three weeks later, Mr. Kaplan and I were rocketing through intermountain deep space, blaring Metric, Tool, and Elton John, he texting to relieve the boredom of sub 150 mph speeds, a metallic comet of planned chaos accelerating towards the budding petro-boom town of Pinedale, Wyoming. After stopping at the Rockrabbit for strong coffee and maple bacon pancakes served while a flat screen resurrected Jerry Garcia crooned, we drove the empty miles to the crowded Big Sandy Trailhead, armed with enough supplies for 9 nights out and hardware to tackle any route up to 5.9 that would entertain our advances, plus an alpine aider for those that wouldn’t.

Sea Caves
by Snowshoe Sea Caves by Snowshoe  by Stu Brandel

A walk to see Lake Superior sea caves normally accessible only by boat begins with a stroll across a bay of frozen Lake Superior. This route, only available at certain times of certain Winters, is almost 2.5 miles of flatness, many times bitterly cold and windy. But the reward is sea caves transformed into incredible, and famous, ice caves. Snowshoes are not required, but be prepared for all conditions. There was everything from packed snow to glare ice, but thankfully no open water!

Lake Superior, the world's largest freshwater lake, is about the size of South Carolina, or Austria, and is capable of great violence. It sits between the Northern US and Canada.

Bowl of Fire Bowl of Fire  by nader

Bowl of Fire refers to an area of red colored desert to the east of Las Vegas, Nevada. The bowl can be accessed via North Shore Road, a 50 mile long scenic desert drive that parallels the northern shores of Lake Mead on Colorado River behind Hoover Dam. I had read about Bowl of Fire on this internet site. Originally, I wanted to first climb the nearby Hamblin Mountain and then go on to hike the Bowl of Fire but I had a bad cold and my ears were ringing so I decided to do an easy hike in the Bowl of Fire only.

Lesser-Traveled Appalachian
Holiday Lesser-Traveled Appalachian Holiday  by mountainhare

On most occasions, crowds complement the most impressive places in the Smokies/Blue Ridge region, and especially so on Labor Day weekend. Traveling to the southern Appalachians on that holiday weekend, the objective in my mind was simple. I wanted to experience some terrific sights without sharing them alongside oppressive crowds. With that aim, I did some research and forged a plan to do things a bit unconventionally with respect to the masses.

My first destination was the popular Newfound Gap inside Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and already it seems like a major contradiction to the thesis of this trip. But the gap was still and quiet as I arrived in total darkness, soon to embark on the trail. There was a purpose for starting out so early, and that was to see the sunrise from Charlie’s Bunion four miles to the north. I figured a start just before 5:00 AM would get me there in sufficient time, and that perhaps I could catch a quick nap before my beginning step on the northbound Appalachian Trail. But as circumstance would have it, I got to the trailhead right around 4:40 AM after a night of solid driving. Once I added a few minutes to pack some gear, a hike on the heels of an all-nighter was in the cards.

Frustration and Redemption
in the North Frustration and Redemption in the North  by Castlereagh

Bradley Mountain was my goal for Sunday, and apart from Greg’s beta I didn’t have a lot of information on this Wyoming P2K. Access is from the Greys River Road as it leaves Alpine; Greg had approached the peak along its direct south face and had described a nightmarish ascent featuring endless and tortuous bushwhacking, but mentioned that on his way down he had managed to follow a decent trail all the way back down to the road. The trick was finding the trail from below; Greg said his best advice was to aim for a high meadow at 7,700 feet below a southeast flank of the peak, and that the trail would be easy to find from there. I tried my best to scout Google Earth to reach that point, trying to decide upon the best, seemingly brush free way to ascent the south east ridges from the main road and, lacking a GPS, trying to figure out the best way to locate my intended starting point in real life.

East Face of Mt Borah East Face of Mt Borah  by reboyles

Idaho has nine summits that reach over 12,000 feet and all but two lie within the Lost River Range in central Idaho. Idaho’s tallest and most visited peak, Mt Borah (12,662’), is located in the central section of the range. As the state highpoint, it is also very popular. During the summer months, it is not unusual to see a full parking lot and 50 or more people attempting to climb the mountain by its most popular route, the Southwest Ridge, or “Chicken-Out-Ridge” as it is more commonly known. For some classic snow or ice climbing, Borah also offers several hidden gems on its North Face that have been documented here. In spite of all of the traffic the mountain has seen, the remote East Face remained relatively unexplored and unclimbed until the summer of 2011.

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