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California Dream (Vacation) California Dream (Vacation)  by blueshade

This 16 day trip would be the culmination of two and a half years of traveling the West. I’d read a lot about classic Sierra scrambles/climbs like Cathedral Peak, Mt. Conness, the Palisades, and the Minarets. Throw in the highest peak in the lower 48, some hot springs, Devil’s Postpile, and climbing at Red Rocks and I was hooked.

Because this trip would almost entirely be solo I couldn’t do any of the classic multi-pitch climbs, but there were still plenty of options to be had. And since I’m a scrambler at heart anyhow I wasn’t too distraught.

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Yanapaccha in July '11 Yanapaccha in July '11  by Jukka Ahonen

My friend and me got started with mountaineering during the 2010 season in the Nordics, with relatively easy hike up mountains. We soon realized this was something that we wanted to pursue further, and as soon as we got back home from the trip, we started to go through our options. Since we both lacked any glacier or actual mountaineering skills, we figured a course would be our best option.

Initially we were planning on going to the Alps, due to relatively close distance from home. However, after discussing the options online, also here on SP and other sites, we chose the destination to be Peru, due to higher mountains and lower costs. I got a lot of suggestions for a company, majority of them referred us to Skyline Adventure School, and that is who we contacted.

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Standing
atop the highest of the Gores and the fear within. Standing atop the highest of the Gores and the fear within.  by thatnissanguy

Last Fall I had a cursory introduction to the Gore Range. I took a 3 day trip to Upper Slate Lake to bag Peak L and whatever extra credit I had time for. On the second day I was monsooned on, barely setting foot above tree line. I retreated home, sopping wet with hopes to return, but soon enough winter's icy grip had taken hold of the range. I had the bug though, and made it a personal goal to explore more of the Gores this Summer of 2011.

Fast forward. July, 2011. I'm browsing a website devoted to the study of glaciated terrain in Colorado, hunting down snow climbs. I just happen to run across a photo of a northern aspect of Mount Powell taken by Theron Welch. The line in the photo practically jumps off the screen at me. It looks steep, aesthetic, and best of all: remote. All approaches are long and tedious, requiring bushwhacking, lots of elevation gain, and necessitating an overnight bivy. There is absolutely no beta on the route. Period. We have a recipe for adventure.

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Three Peaks
& Chili Heaven Three Peaks & Chili Heaven  by andret

It’s now June 6th. The dry season is finally here. We’ve been in Peru for exactly two months. After Lima, the beach, the desert, and several treks, we’ve finally managed to climb our first three mountains in the Cordillera Blanca: Urus (17,778 ft), Ishinca (18,138 ft), and Tocllaraju (19,785 ft).

For our first attempt, we opted for a few of the relatively lower, more accessible peaks a few minutes north of town, in the Ishinca Valley. It’s probably the the most popular valley for novice and guided ascents; accessible, non-technical, and lots low-lying options for acclimatization. There’s even an italian-built refugio, but that’s a whole ‘nother problem/story.

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It doesn't
Get Much Better than this: 4 Days on Mount Logan It doesn't Get Much Better than this: 4 Days on Mount Logan  by Josh Lewis

"I see my path, but I don't know where it leads. Not knowing where I'm going is what inspires me to travel it." -Rosalia de Castro

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." -Mark Twain

It is mountains like this that makes mountaineering such an exciting part of my life. When I heard that I had an opportunity to climb Mount Logan, I instantly knew that this was something special. My family and friends were telling me that they had never known anyone who wanted to go on as many adventures as me. My feet were still blister from all the climbing I had done during July, but when offered a great opportunity, there is no way that I can decline. After all this is my passion.

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No Small
Effort For Big Horn No Small Effort For Big Horn  by Redwic

Of the 20 most technically difficult county highpoints in the contiguous United States, also known as “Apex” county highpoints, seven are located in Washington. Of those seven peaks, I was fortunate enough to have summited two of the most technically difficult, Mount Olympus and Bonanza Peak, at the beginning of July. After those trips were completed I only required summiting two more peaks, Big Horn and Mount Baker, to complete the Washington County Highpoints.

Of those two peaks, Big Horn is considered to be much more technically difficult than Mount Baker. In fact, many people consider the “crux” move near the summit of Big Horn to be the most difficult crux move of any county highpoint in the contiguous United States. I knew that Big Horn would likely be my last big obstacle before completing the Washington County Highpoints list.

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A Worthy Finale A Worthy Finale  by Castlereagh

One of my favourite aspects of my vacations out west is the prospect of finding a nice little mom ‘n pop Mexican restaurant in any old hamlet, no matter how isolated or deserted. For a spoiled Northeasterner such as myself flyover country presents a marked shortage of the foods I have been so well acquainted with over the years. I refer not to the fancy stuff (though good Italian pasta is hard to beat, even something simpler as cafeteria baked ziti suffices), but things as simple as a Chicken Parm Sub, or a Steak and Cheese, or a Roast Beef sandwich, staples of any of the ubiquitous sub and pizza shops that line the streets of every little town in New England, are hard to find out west. (Or I just don’t know where to look). And much less any sort of a fancier turkey sandwich, coupled perchance with some pesto mayo, or apple slices or sprinkles of cranberry sauce, on delicious, soft, moist and home-baked focaccia bread (or a generous portion of eggplant parm sandwiched between said focaccia), can be found in the desert towns that sprinkle themselves at arm’s length through the deserts of Nevada.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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