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Snowshoe ascent of Gothic
Peak 1-3-2015 Snowshoe ascent of Gothic Peak 1-3-2015  by Jeb

The trail to Gothic Basin was well packed until the first gully crossing about a mile beyond the Monte Cristo Trail. We put on snowshoes on the other side of the gully and continued climbing as the peaks to the east began to appear above the tree tops. Evidence of the trail could be seen occasionally through a foot of fresh powder. Sheep Gap Mountain came into view ahead as we crested the ridge into Gothic Basin. Clouds flowed through the peaks surrounding Monte Cristo and Sloan Peak appeared in the saddle between Sheep Mountain and Gemini Peak. We were moving very slow, though it didn't seem like it - in 7 hours we had traveled only 4 miles and gained less than 3000 feet.

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Surviving a
1,000 ft Fall on Mt Nebo Surviving a 1,000 ft Fall on Mt Nebo  by PellucidWombat

There was no sound from the cracking, and if I hadn’t been getting ready to move I surely would have been taken more by surprise. I saw a huge maw open up beside my right foot, and about all I had time to do was lunge over the gap. It felt as if I was being sucked downward, and my chest landed hard on the ridge. My arms were outstretched but there was nothing to grab on to – I slipped back and suddenly I was airborne. The slope below was so steep that I don’t recall feeling any impact. One moment I was falling and the next I was sliding, standing vertically on my toes as I tried to dig them into the slope. My snowshoes prevented me from getting much penetration in the snow, so I tried digging the handles of my poles into the slope, but by then I was rocketing down so fast that my efforts were futile. As I accelerated I could do nothing but kick and claw harder at the slope.

Everything happened so fast that I barely had any thoughts or feelings as I fell apart from “I must stop myself before I reach a cliff or tree” and “I’m going to die”. I fought as hard as I could but nothing seemed to work. Everything was white around me and all I could hear was a low rumbling sound of my body whipping down the slope. There was a brief moment that I was airborne again – I was going off a cliff! Then I was sliding again, and then I was airborne again. I didn’t fall far but the brief loss of contact with the slope started to pitch me back and to my left. I spread my arms and legs out further and strained with my legs and back to fight the overturning forces pushing me down the hill. By some miracle I was able to keep myself upright and facing into the slope.

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Coyote Mountain & Clark Dry
Lake Coyote Mountain & Clark Dry Lake  by nader

The 3192 ft Coyote Mountain rises 2700 ft to the north of Anza Borrego Desert Plain in southern California. To the east and west, Coyote Mountain is separated from higher mountains via arid valleys. Clark Dry Lake sits to the east of Coyote Mountain.

This beautiful mountain was well visible from where we stayed for one week near Borrego Springs, CA. My heart, however, was set on climbing it long before I actually saw it.

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So Close Yet So Far On Alta So Close Yet So Far On Alta  by EastKing

Have you ever watched a football game where the game came down to a fourth and goal with literally two seconds left on the clock for the game to be decided. You knew victory was so close yet it felt so far. You can smell the sounds of victory and taste the victory. Yet you did not get there. In football though they call this a loss. In mountaineering if you did not choose to turn around and you fell more than likely they call this DEATH!! In my hiking and mountaineering career there have been a couple of times when I had to make a decision to turn around on a mountain when I was close to the summit.

For Alta Mountain it was a little harder. See I have already made it to the summit back in the summer of 2009 and saw the amazing view from the summit. In summer this mountain is nothing more than an exposed walkup with just a little scrambling. Add a foot of wet sloppy snow and this peak quickly becomes far more hazardous. It is often a test pride over common sense when you run into these situations. But it was one of the first times that I had been faced with this situations on a summit I had already been up to.

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First Taste of a Summit First Taste of a Summit  by thurs

Hello good people of the mountains. I have a short and sweet trip report for this shapely hill located on the east side of Estes Park. Why bother with this 8,808 foot peak? Well, this was my first real summit! I have been a passionate, advanced alpine skier my entire life, but I have never really climbed on top of a peak from the base. I mean, I guess I have hauled my skis up to the top of the East Wall at A-Basin, but the chairlifts mitigate almost all of the vertical ascent required. I have also been camping and hiking for many seasons but was never really compelled to ascend onto the ridgeline.

Finally, after well over 20 years, I tasted the sweet summit air, and immediately my life priorities underwent a bit of a reevaluation.

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Third time to Cotopaxi Third time to Cotopaxi  by andre hangaard

Just a couple of minutes after KLM's big MD11 took off from Guayaquil airport we could spot the huge, snow covered volcanoes when the aircraft entered the Avenida dos Volcanoes on it's 30 minutes flight to Quito, the capital city of Ecuador. We fought to get a glance out through the small windows on the left side of the airplane and there they were; Chimborazo, Cotopaxi and the Illinizas. Although it was rather cloudy and far from clear skies we could immediately identify that there was a lot more snow this time than the last time I visited Ecuador which was ten months ago.

Returning to a mountain for the third time was for me a significant undertaking and with the latest weather reports still ringing in my head which declared lot’s of rain and large amounts of fresh snow it was with a slightly nervous feeling I scanned the silhouettes of those mountains I had been thinking about every day during the last ten months. The latest Cotopaxi report called for snow as low as to the parking lot at 4.500 m. That did not sound too encouraging.

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Mt. Katahdin Sunrise Climb
(A Success) Mt. Katahdin Sunrise Climb (A Success)  by cshane20

Mt. Katahdin, and the vastly protected natural wilderness surrounding it, provides a relatively simple, yet extremely rewarding vista of the sun rising on the east coast of the United States. Arriving on the summit to witness the first rays of light turn the night sky into a vibrant canvas of blue, orange, red and yellow makes you the first person in the U.S. to see the sun rise on that particular day.

I did this non technical hike/scramble 2 times in four days, mostly because the first time was hindered by a nagging cloud system hovering directly over the summit. The result was only a 10 minute window to witness the blue sky turn orange and red, but my buddy Nick and I were never able to see the sun come up over the horizon. I immediately planned another trip with a college buddy of mine, Zach, who had expressed some interest in going. The second time we were blessed with excellent weather, views, and overall experience.

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Snowfield
Group Tour Snowfield Group Tour  by Mike Lewis

I know it's a season late to post it but now I can truly say this was the best trip I have been on this year. Fletcher and gimpilator already have a wonderful trip report on nwhikers.net but I thought I should put one up here. All photography is by my partners. Inspired by Steph Abegg's 2012 trip with her sister, gimpilator began collaborating with Fletcher, me and my brother Josh about peakbagging around Snowfield Peak in August. We left Lynnwood well before sunrise and, after stopping by Marblemount for permits, arrived at Colonial Creek campground at about 6:40 am. Oops! Then we realized we passed the trail head and back tracked down the road to the gravel turn off with a small sign by a waterfall marking the Pyramid Lake Trail. Before leaving we each weighed each others' packs to see who's was heaviest and I am both proud and ashamed to claim victory. The first couple miles up to the lake went by in an energetic blur, not that we were moving fast but excitement for what was to come made the sweat fest go by quickly. Josh had many things to say about his Peru trip that filled the air up to Pyramid Lake.

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Highpointing the Balkans Pt
3 Highpointing the Balkans Pt 3  by Andrew Rankine

After climbing the highpoint of Serbia we decided to drive through Macedonia (Makedonia), to climb Mount Olympus (Olymbos) in Greece (some of you I am sure would correctly say that Olympus is still in Makedonia). We began driving on toll roads heading South, which soon petered out. Within a couple hours we made it to the Makedonian border, where the roads greatly improved, and headed for Skopje for lunch.

Skopje is in the middle of a complete remodel of downtown, some of it is completed, but most is under construction. In the paired town squares, separated by a bridge across the Vardar River, lie massive fountains for Alexander the Great and Philip of Makedon. The only catch is that Alexander the Great never went to Makedonia, because Skopje (and most all of the nation of Makedonia) is not in the historical region of the Ancient Greek nation of Makedonia.

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High Atlas in November High Atlas in November  by Proterra

While discussing it over a pint in the pub that night with friends, i was called stupid if i would decide to spend 200 euro's for yet another slug up the Fort William hill in horrendous weather and celebrating it at the Whistle Binkies in the Auld Reekie, over flying off to sunny Marrakech to enjoy a couple of days in a range rivaling the Alps in height and beauty, topped off with a cultural experience so much different from Northern Europe.

That night i tried to talk Maresa into slacking college for a few days extra and going off to Scotland for 5-7 days instead, but she didn't want to. So i booked Marrakech that night.

When Mehran, a friend of mine heard about my plans, he immediately booked that flight as well. Too bad only that our Geophysics teacher did not agree and told us she would void our internships if we went along with this plan during a regular college week. I told her to shove it where the sun doesn't shine, but Mehran was not in such a luxury position, since he hasn't got all of his credits yet for his "propedeuse" diploma, and i do. He chickened out at the last day, although i'm still sure that he could've gone along and just appeal to the university board if she would take such a drastic action. However, he did not want to go through all of that.

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