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Vesper Peak Accident/Rescue Vesper Peak Accident/Rescue  by StephAbegg

At 5am, I pulled up at my sister Jenny's house in Seattle. We were on our way to what we planned to be a fun and relatively mellow end-of-summer climb of the North Face of Vesper. We were at the trailhead at 7am and at the saddle looking at the north face of Vesper at 9:20am. The moats did not look like they would be a problem on the glacier below, so we decided to cross the glacier and do the entire route (rather than the ledge bypass that cuts into the route halfway in and is probably the more popular choice these days.) Once off the glacier, we began to climb the north face route. It was a bit wet in areas so we had to bypass on the right of the actual route. This was taking quite a bit of time, but we saw a reasonable way up to where the bypass ledge hit the upper route.

The accident occurred at 1pm. I was about 20 feet above the belay, on 5.7-5.8 terrain; I had set 3 pieces of protection. Suddenly, a rock flake I was standing on broke loose. I felt my left ankle rotate inwards, either as my foot was caught between some rocks or the ankle was torqued out by the rockfall. I knew even before I fell that my foot was badly hurt. I fell cleanly about 15 feet before the rope caught on my highest piece, which had not pulled. I looked down and could see my left foot flopping and my splintered tibia sticking through the inner ankle. Blood and yellowish-white fluid was flowing, but not spurting.

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10 for 10:
A Woman's Place in the Sierra Challenge 10 for 10: A Woman's Place in the Sierra Challenge  by Princess Buttercup

Twelve days I had hoofed around the Sierra, my pack starting at 63 pounds simply because I was too lazy to arrange a resupply half-way through this excursion. My path was, indeed, a path; after all, it was my first extended solo backpack. I wanted to feel somewhat safe, perhaps to have another person come near enough to hear my cries if something were to go wrong. But nothing did, and I came back to the frontcountry a changed woman. Within 2 months I had picked up my life and moved to a small town in the high deserts of eastern California.

Looking back on that trip, I suddenly realized the parallels between it and the challenge lying before me now. The sleepless nights leading up to the start; awakening in the dark to heart rushing, breathing hard as if from some nightmare; the anxiety from pressure poured on myself to be faster, stronger, smarter, to know my mountains in and out; to tell myself time and again that keeping up wasn’t an option, to run my own race, hike my own pace and trust in my skills. I had persevered for twelve days on that grand adventure; the mileage and elevation gain moderately similar to the days ahead, only this time without the 50+ pounds on my back. Not much assuaged my anxiety leading into this, my latest self-imposed bout of work.

Nothing, except the months of preparation, training, learning, conditioning, and trust in my mountains, could calm the fluttering in my chest. The only thing standing between me and my goal, was, well, me.

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Update on
Lizard Head Update on Lizard Head  by Liba Kopeckova

Lizard Head lifts its ragged spire above surrounding ridges and valleys in southwestern Colorado, and is surrounded by 41,000 acre Lizard Head Wilderness Area. The Peak is 13,113 feet high (=3997 meters), and rises 350 feet (=107 meters) above the ridge below. They say that it is the most difficult summit to reach in Colorado. Many advised not to climb it because its rock is very rotten and loose.

"When you reach the base, take a picture and go home"citation from the Guide to Colorado Mountains by Robert Ormes.

I was thinking about this summit for the past 6 months. I hiked around the area, and checked out the peak from all different directions. I picked mushrooms on the trail, I climbed the surrounding peaks, and finally I was brave enough to climb it. I just needed to find a partner who would be willing to climb it with me. Chris from Santa Fe send me an e-mail that he is interested in this peak, and will be coming up to southwestern Colorado the last weekend in September. So, our plans were made. And since we needed only one day to climb Lizard Head, we decided to warm up on some fourteener the day before El Diente Prelude.

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The Pyramid Traverse The Pyramid Traverse  by Kiefer

The Elk Mountain Range is by far my favourite mountain range in Colorado. The rock is resplendent with colour, flowers equally impress with delicate splashes paint, mountains are nothing more than broken cathedrals of strata and for some reason, even the lakes in this area seem wilder, warmer and more intriguing. Indeed, the Elks wouldn’t be what they are if everything wasn’t working harmoniously together. But that’s just it. Is it harmonious? Anyone who has camped or waited through a thunderstorm in this rugged range knows how intense they can be. Wintertime for all extrinsic purposes basically shuts the whole range down save for the few stalwarts who endure the extra miles of approach. The upper echelons of the craggy peaks are a constant struggle between weather, placidity and gravity creating a Parthenon of chaos. Mountains, trying to rip and tear themselves apart: breaking, cracking, splitting and endlessly fracturing themselves into herculean piles of talus and scree. Loose rock and instability is the norm. Indeed, the Elks are, “Evolution in action”.

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A hard day on the
Zinalrothorn A hard day on the Zinalrothorn  by hansw

This climb started half a year earlier in 1999 when during long winter evenings I carefully studied books on the Alpine four thousand meter peaks. Books like “The high Mountains of the Alps” by Dumler and Burkharh, and “The Alpine 4000m Peaks by the Classic Routes” by Godeke had been good reading. At first I leaned towards the Monte Rosa with its many peaks but I kept coming back to the Zinalrothorn. Why? Because it is beautiful mountain with an interesting normal route on snow ridges and steep rock. The mountain is not so well known and thus less crowded than the more famous and nearby peaks. In Goedeke’s list "How much sweat?" the Zinalrothorn is ranked in fourth place with the summit 2750 meter above the highest transport point. More sweat is needed only for the Dom (3160 m), the neighbour Weisshorn (3100 m) and the Aiguille Blanche (2800 m).

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Evolution Pilgrimage Evolution Pilgrimage  by ajberry

It’s not often that you have a Google Image Search to thank for identifying the location of your next mountain trip. I teach evolutionary biology and history of science and am more dependent than I should be on Google for the images I use in the classroom. Early in 2009, I was developing a set of lectures on the response to the publication of Charles Darwin’s ideas in Europe and the US. A major figure in this story is Ernst Haeckel (1834-1919), a German biologist (he coined the term “ecology”) who was one of Darwin’s earliest and most enthusiastic followers. Haeckel traveled in 1866 to England to meet Darwin at his home in Kent, Down House. There are a few photographs of Darwin (his son Leonard was an early amateur photographer) and my hope was that the historic encounter would have merited a photograph. I was disappointed – there are no photos of Darwin and Haeckel together – but my eye was immediately drawn to several photos in the image search results that lacked even a hint of history of science: mountains, spiky ones, set against clear blue skies. Even if Charles and Ernst never posed together in front of the camera, at least their mountain namesakes, Mounts Darwin and Haeckel, were apparently not camera shy.

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A
Clandestine Chocolate Consumer and a Dubious Virgin A Clandestine Chocolate Consumer and a Dubious Virgin  by kamil

Just behind the border crossing the asphalt ends and the dirt road begins. Indeed after about 2 km in the dispersed light we notice a side road turning sharply left. We turn there, crossing a bridge over a stream. The road gets bumpy but the car can make it so far. We drive in complete darkness, seeing only the section of the road immediately ahead of us in the headlights. Like that the bumps and stones seem much larger than they really are. Sometimes we can see a cliff rising sharply to our right and hear the river directly below to our left. I turn the radio on and pick up some Montenegrin station. It plays the song by The Rasmus - No Fear, Destination Darkness... How true.

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Snowmass: A
Long Year Waiting Snowmass: A Long Year Waiting  by MarkDidier

Plain and simple, Snowmass Lake was the sole reason I decided to go to the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness back in August 2009. After visiting RMNP for four straight years I needed a change of scenery so I started searching on SummitPost trying to decide what part of Colorado I would head to for my 2009 trip. When I came across the image of Snowmass Lake with its stunning backdrop of Hagerman Peak and the Snowmass-Capitol Massif my search was over.

Hiking out to Snowmass Lake became my primary goal for that trip, and while I should have been content with just that, I couldn’t get past the idea of trying to climb Snowmass Mountain as well. Not since Longs Peak was I so enamored with a mountain! A climb of Snowmass Mountain offered everything I look for when deciding on summits to go after: a beautiful route, a challenging route, and beautiful summit views. I think it was the challenge as much as the scenery that intrigued me. Trying to complete the route on a one day sufferfest had me stoked. With its 21.5 mile roundtrip and 5,800 feet of vertical gain, completing the route in a single day was a challenge I was up for. I was excited to say the least and for several months I became rather obsessed with Snowmass Mountain.

But I never made it up Snowmass Mountain in August 2009. In fact I didn’t even make it to Snowmass Lake.

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Can I get some...Goat
Spray? Can I get some...Goat Spray?  by musicman82

Glacier National Park had never been on my radar for a visit for most of my life; I had seen some pictures, and they were pretty, but it wasn't until I started hiking a couple of years ago that I started realizing that it just might be worth a visit. After hearing and reading Bob Sihler's ravings about the place and watching the Ken Burns documentary on the National Parks, I made it a priority to find a way up there this summer to get a feel for the place and climb a few peaks. In spite of the fact that I only had one day to do anything due to other vacation-like activities with the family, it was a wonderful experience and I'll be back for sure!

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Wham of a Finish! Wham of a Finish!  by shknbke

Hoot sent me an invite earlier in the summer for his anticipated finish of Colorado's top 100 peaks on Vestal over Labor Day weekend. I was apprehensive about the good weather odds that late in the summer, as the San Juans tend to get hit early with snow. Wham Ridge has been high on my list of technical climbs to do, and the forecast was looking good for the trip to proceed! The Trinity Traverse has also been high on my list, so this weekend was highly anticipated!

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