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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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Wind River Chronicles - Part
VI ~ Wanderings Wind River Chronicles - Part VI ~ Wanderings  by Bill Reed

Always good to be heading back to the Wind Rivers, especially after a three year absence! Good friend and fellow retiree Nelson and I planned an extended 9 day tour of the west central part of the range. The start date of August 28th would be our latest in the Winds. We hoped to find-no mosquitoes, less people and good weather. Our plan called for us to start at Elkhart Park, hike in 15 miles to Timico Lake and from there decide where to go next.

Plan A - Go over the divide at Fall Creek Pass then drop down into Upper Golden Lake in the Fitzpatrick Wilderness, with the option to continue north towards the Alpine Lakes if we were feeling real spunky.

Plan B - Cross the pass east of Timico, drop into North Fork Canyon and on to Lake Victor and Europe Canyon. We knew that both plans were ambitious and that either would put us over 20 miles from the trailhead. The weather would be the main factor in determining which plan we’d follow.

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A few hours
in the Superstitions A few hours in the Superstitions  by RobSC

When I was young I was drawn to the exotic, reading books about faraway places, mysterious structures, and strange beasts of legend. Although I have had the good fortune of experiencing many of these childhood fascinations, one that I haven't is a gold mine of unsurpassed wealth and riches, buried in a web of murder, lies, and deceit: the Lost Dutchman Mine, hidden somewhere in the wilds of the Superstition Mountains of Southern Arizona.

As I say, I've seen many wonderful things. Many of my adventures have revolved around mountaineering, but recently my climbing has become sporadic and far less technical as our children grow towards adulthood. Perhaps danger and death has lingered too close - if that avalanche had struck one day later or the whirling rock had followed a slightly different trajectory… Instead of dreaming of walking the lonely heights of Gasherbrum IV or the Eiger, more of life has involved my children's activities as well as the ever increasing demands of teaching in a public high school. As it stands, the last technical climb that I managed was some two and a half years ago.

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Peakbagging
in the Aigüstortes National Park Peakbagging in the Aigüstortes National Park  by damgaard

After having spent the last couple of summers in the Alps I decided it was finally time to try something else and since I had never gone to the Pyrenees, the choice wasn't that hard. After having surfed a bunch a SP-pages and having mailed with the highly productive SP members Rafa Bartolome and Eric Visentin I came up a with a schedule covering 3 weeks that included both a number of the highest peaks and crossed some of most beautiful areas. The schedule included two days in the Aigüstortes - Sant Maurici National Park, an area that is recommended in all guide books and that Rafa and Visentin mentioned as well. It turned out that their recommendations were well founded, because the area is excellent for both hiking and scrambling to summits. This trip report is about my second day in the park - and trip that would take me to the summit of three major peaks in the eastern part of the national park.

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Culture and Climbing in
Bolivia Culture and Climbing in Bolivia  by Haliku

“Why don’t Americans come to Bolivia?” asked our tour guide.

“I have no idea, I really don’t.” I responded as I thought about the numerous Europeans, and the ubiquitous Australians, I had already met; but very few Americans.

After three weeks in the Bolivia I still don’t have an answer to our guide’s question. From our experiences there is no reason not to visit Bolivia and many reasons you should plan a visit. While we did meet other travelers from the USA during our time in Bolivia we were a minority among our fellow travelers.

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"The Clearest Day I've Ever Seen" in the Lofoten Islands  by foweyman

Exhausted and exhilarated is how I usually reach a pass from an eastern Sierra trailhead, and Piute Pass, although relatively easy, was no exception. At the pass stood an elderly woman surrounded by a group of younger weary people sprawled on the surrounding rocks. Upon hearing me marvel at the scenery, she calmly stated in a thick Germanic accent, "These are the most beautiful mountains in the world." At my prompting the Belgian lady listed an extensive set of alpine treks she'd made throughout the world. Her relaxed presence within her tired group gave her words admirable credibility. She had seen more mountain ranges than the well-traveled Muir, but they reached the same conclusion.

But this isn’t about the Sierra. “What is second on your list?” I asked. “The mountains of Norway” she replied with little hesitation. I’ve only experienced one mountain range outside the US, so I felt especially fortunate to have seen the top two on her list. What these ranges have in common is that they are both located on the western edge of northern hemisphere continents, perfectly situated to receive plentiful snow that formed massive glaciers during the ice ages. Now the glaciers have all but disappeared, revealing the results of the intense glaciation including steep, highly sculpted mountain sides, waterfalls from hanging valleys, and numerous glacially carved lakes and fjords.

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