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Shuksan In A Day Shuksan In A Day  by gimpilator

Shuksan is an amazingly complex peak. The summit block towers over 9 separately named glaciers (6 if you don't count upper, lower, east, west divisions) and is commonly referred to as "the pyramid". Shuksan is the fifth highest non-volcanic mountain in Washington State. I have heard claims that it is also the most photographed mountain in the world, even more than the Matterhorn or Cerro Torre. At first I didn't believe it, but then after seeing it in countless hotel rooms in Europe and North America, painted on the side of a building in east Africa, and posted above an ice-cream parlor in southwest Bolivia, I started to believe.

For years I have felt certain that my mountaineering obsession would one day draw me to this mountain, but for some reason I didn't feel the acute urgency that I sometimes contract with other mountains. Then this July, I climbed Olympus and Bonanza within a 6 day stretch, both of which involve massive elevation gain, glacier crossings, and rock climbing. After those climbs, I felt a new confidence in my own abilities. Shuksan came to the forefront of my mind. Although most parties take 2 to 3 days on the Sulfide Glacier route, I wanted to make a one-day ascent. This would require a very strong team. For a few weeks I discussed the idea with my friends Matt and Colleen. We were all agreed and keen to give it our best shot. We waited for an ideal weather window.

Touching the Soul of the
Earth Touching the Soul of the Earth  by Brian C

"This climb reminds me of why I started climbing in the first place. It is fundamental. It is magnificent. The climb takes place on such solid rock that you feel like you are touching the soul of the earth. Touch it. Climb it!"
-Gerry Roach from his RMNP Guide

Although Gerry often includes poetic musings in his guidebooks, this description seemed a bit more romantic than usual. When somebody with so much climbing experience talks so highly of a route it has to be a classic. In fact Gerry is not the only person who considers this to be a quality route. The north ridge of the Spearhead is considered by many to be the best climb of its grade in Rocky Mountain National Park and possibly in the country. The route follows a narrow face up a sweep of granite as it steepens into the sky. The climbing is clean and consistent with an easier section in the middle. This all combines to make a great moderate alpine experience. Also, the Spearhead sits much lower than its stately neighbors and seems to be surrounded by giants. Longs, Pagoda, Chief's Head and McHenrys circle around to form walls of rock all around and a better view is hard to find in RMNP.

Ordeal on Mt. Ritter Ordeal on Mt. Ritter  by Trawinski

Craig is a 50-year old analyst living in Silicon Valley. He's tall, lean and fit, with chiseled good looks and thinning hair. He reminded me of a typical Himalayan mountaineer (Conrad Anker comes to mind). He's an experienced climber and an avid outdoorsman. Craig has two children who live in New York with their mom (presumably divorced or separated). The eldest is Alice (16), pretty with brown hair and eyes, skinny and very tall for her age, nearly 6-feet tall I guessed. Gary is 10 and considerably smaller, although apparently fit, with light colored hair and a pale complexion. Gary is an experienced gym climber, but neither he nor Alice are experienced outdoorsman and neither have ever been to the Sierras.

When Craig was 10 years old, he climbed Mt. Ritter. Now, 40 years later to the day, he wanted to climb it again with his 10-year old son and daughter. He had been planning the trip for 3 years and one of his family members had even made shirts for them: "2011 Mt. Ritter Expedition". Craig thought this trip would be a wonderful opportunity to share the beauty of the Sierra-Nevada with his children from the East Coast. And what better place to do it than Thousand Island Lake and the Ritter Range.

The Armstrong Summit Troll The Armstrong Summit Troll  by Klenke

On the summit of 4600-ft Armstrong Mountain in the Okanogan Mountains of Washington State lives a troll. This particular troll is a pretty emotionless creature. You might say he is stone-faced all of the time. His will is as strong as granite. He is granite.

One can drive rather easily with a high-clearance 2WD to the summit of Armstrong Mountain on the Colville Indian Reservation. It’s about four or five dirt miles off the highway. At the summit is a very tall steel lookout tower built some 50 years ago. The tower is now abandoned and the compartment at the top no longer has a roof.

The tower does not sit right on the summit. It’s pretty close. But not quite. Why doesn’t it sit on the summit? Because that’s where the summit troll sits…

A Love
Affair with the Inyos: A Double Traverse A Love Affair with the Inyos: A Double Traverse  by Daria

The Inyo Mountain Range looms in the shadow of the famous Eastern Sierra, the brooding brother to the range of light. The Inyos are an explorers dream, a private playground--a world full of illusions and secrecy. They are hidden with novel sights and sounds that surprise the senses. The Inyos unravel themselves to the explorer by means of hidden, scattered, and elusive treasure. The Inyos are like a chest of forgotten treasure; the range is littered with mining remains in certain inaccessible spots, from tools to hidden cabins and ancient steam engines. It is littered with whispers, tracings and hauntings of activity over 100 years ago. The Inyos are swept by endless desert winds and receive heavy beatings of relentless heat. The canyons found within the Inyos are immune to the harsh elements that surround them--they are hidden lush paradises. The canyons of the Inyos are unique in the sense that they are extremely remote and of epic proportions—they all entail a drop of up to or over 7,000 ft. via canyon (over 8,000 ft. of descent if starting from the tops of the Inyo crest), being deeply and dramatically cut into the Saline Valley side of the Inyos and hidden from human eyes that pass the tame Owen's Valley on the opposite side. The chance of running into a single other person in one of these canyons can be ranked at a confident 0 %. Passing through the Inyos is like a sneaking by, it is a quiet undertaking as you are wrapped up in its expanse. The Inyos offers peace and desert solitude: a meditative journey, an explorer’s delight as you are burrowing around some of it's corners that humans have not stepped foot or laid eyes on for 20 or 30 or possibly more years.

Long Walk in the Mountains -
Skyline Trail Long Walk in the Mountains - Skyline Trail  by Rocky Alps

Ben Lomond was one of those peaks that had been on my to-do list for some time, and with the unusual amount of snow left in other places it was our best choice for a good summit day hike. I’d been meaning to do some Teton hikes with my cousin David for quite awhile, but with the absurd summer snowpack up there, we had more choices for snow-free hiking down in the Wasatch. Ben Lomond’s central location between where we both live also made it appealing. David proposed doing Willard Peak at the same time, so I agreed to go for it if I wasn’t too tired and out of shape by the time we got to the top of Ben Lomond.

4th Of July Route On The 5th Of July Olympus: 4th Of July Route On The 5th Of July  by gimpilator

When I was attending WWU I found a book in the Library called Glorious Failures. In this anthology I read the historical account about the race to be the first to climb Mount Olympus. This challenge was highly publicized in the Seattle area and it took something like 9 months for the would-be climbers to hack their way 18 miles through dense forest and brush to the Blue Glacier. Anyone who has hiked the Hoh River trail can imagine how difficult it must have been on that first trek. Unfortunately, that first summit party made it to the top in a white-out. They returned to Seattle as adventurous heroes, but later it was proven they had climbed the east summit by mistake. Olympus has several summit spires, the west being the highest. Weeks later, another party followed the path which was created and made a successful summit climb in 1907.

Ibapah July 2011 Ibapah July 2011  by upandaway

After breaking camp we got started up the road at 7:30, later than we wanted. Afternoon thundershowers were "possible" and we hoped to make the summit early. The trail is as described in many posts. It is clear jeep tracks, then what looked like ATV tracks that at points were basically just grass mashed down. We hit snow patches at maybe 9000+ feet and briefly lost the trail at points. I don't think you can't go too wrong up that high--just head UP the ravine. There are cairns through the trees that help as well. There was running water all along the way basically until the meadow at 10,000. The trail crossed water 4-5 times. At least two of those times there was really no option not to get feet wet. This is definately a water-logged year. I assume you can normally cross and keep your feet dry--not in July 2011. The Goat kept his tevas on for the first couple miles and carried his boots. This proved nice for him. I actually ended up taking off my boots for one stream crossing and doing it barefoot. Not advised, and the water must have been 38 degrees or less and hurt. I was determined to have dry feet, though, but I digress...

Mt. Shasta Mt. Shasta  by Songwolff

We stayed the night before the climb in a cheap hotel in Weed, CA. The next morning (11th of June) we had breakfast at a local place, and drove up to the trail head. Bolum road was marked as a 4WD road, so we had prepared by bringing our SUV. We also didn't know if we would encounter snow as the starting elevation was 5,600 feet. The road had some big potholes but it was rather under whelming 4wd wise. You do need high clearance for a few places. When we got to the trail head there was an old Volkswagen Vanagon parked, so that should set the bar for the road quality. If one was to drive a passenger car you could get to about .5 miles from the trail head. There was no snow there and we made our first big decision which was to leave the snowshoes in the car. This ended up as a good decision as the snow didn't begin until we got much higher.

A Bonanza Extravaganza! A Bonanza Extravaganza!  by Redwic

Since I first seriously began considering attempting the Washington County Highpoints during the past two years, Bonanza Peak has been in the forefront of my mountaineering goals yet in the background of my mountaineering reality. I knew a successful summit attempt would require not only confidence in my own abilities but also require having a good team, good route conditions, and good weather.

"Gimpilator" Adam, myself, and our mountaineering friend Dave had a successful summit trip at Mount Olympus during the first week of July. We worked very well as a team during that trip, with each teammate having a lot of mountaineering skills but each person also having a specific strong skill to add to the team. My strong skill was planning and navigation, Gimpilator's strong skill was glacier travel, and Dave's strong skill was rock climbing. The team worked so well together that we were hoping to have similar success on Bonanza Peak the following week...

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