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San Rafael Knob among other
things San Rafael Knob among other things  by Matt Lemke

I had a long weekend a couple weeks ago to celebrate out schools annual "Engineering Days" and I decided to spend it in Utah while all my colleagues got wasted. So on Wednesday evening I took the long drive out from Denver taking the usual stops in Grand Junction and Green River. Got to see a great sunset on the road just as I passed the state line. I finally arrived at Justensen Flats late at night which was as far as my little car could go. I pitched the tent and went to sleep.

I awoke to a nice sunrise and I prepared the mountain bike. I had planned on shortening my 2+ mile approach by biking. Starting down the road I quickly saw some nice views open up and rode down the hill towards the bottom of Devils Canyon.

There's a Hole in the Middle
of the Sea There's a Hole in the Middle of the Sea  by Brian C

"There's a frog...there's a frog...there's a frog on the bump on the log on the hole in the middle of the sea."

As I took a deep breath to sing the next verse, I felt my aiders lurch. I glanced up in time to see the small nut that I was standing on start to slide down the manky crack I had placed it in. The sandstone around it merely sloughed off as it moved downward and it only took a glance down to know that I didn't want to land on the ledge below me. Quickly high stepping, I reached and clipped both my second aider and the rope to the piton above me. I asked myself, "Why did it have to rain last night?" Before I thought about it too much I noticed the piton I had just clipped was fractured nearly in half.

Breaking Through Thresholds Breaking Through Thresholds  by AriehDavid

When I was eight years old my father, mother, sister, and I set up a base camp at “L” Lake high in a small cirque of the Trinity Alps of Northern California. From there we awoke early and set up a high camp from which, later that morning, my father and I set off for the summit. Reaching the top was the transcendence of a threshold. Before that summer I had only done top-roped or single pitch climbs. But the northern aspect we ascended on Sawtooth Mountain had several pitches of moderate rock and steep snow on the approach. It was my first fully alpine climb. While terrified at points, achieving its summit left me with such a tantalizing feeling that I have continued to pursue mountain climbing, taking me to summits all over the United States, as well as some in Europe. Now approaching 16 years later, I chose to tackle Sawtooth’s summit again. Yet again I found myself breaking new thresholds in my skills and confidence as a climber.

2011 - solo via the Polaco-Guanaco-Normalo route Aconcagua 2011 - solo via the Polaco-Guanaco-Normalo route  by markhallam

I have reached Independencia hut. It looks just like in all the photos I have seen. After over two years of anticipation I cannot believe I am here, up at 6400 meters - nearly 21,000 feet above sea level. The last time I was this high was back in 1987.

The hut is a ruin and little bigger than a tent. Most of the planks in the roof are missing. Even in the rosy light of soon after dawn, it doesn’t look an attractive place to stay the night. I find out later that just three nights earlier a party of people did just that – and one had died and the rest sustained severe frostbite. I saw the body of the one who died up here, being brought down to Cólera Camp yesterday, just after I arrived there – at that wind blasted boulder field, 19,500 feet up on the North side of Aconcagua. I didn’t know then that the Guardaparques had brought him down from here. I didn’t know the body was that of an Australian man, in his early 60’s. I thought the body was that of a Polish man, known to have gone missing during the recent storm – and still missing, so far as I know.

Last Minute
On Angels Landing Last Minute On Angels Landing  by gimpilator

It all started when Bryan and I drove to Salt Lake City having planned some climbs nearby, only to get skunked by an atrocious weather front and more fresh powder than we had bargained for. It was predicted that there would be a blizzard every day, for the next 5 days. We were supposed to meet up with fellow SP member Eric Willhite for the climbs but that was not going to happen now. Eric later told me that only 3 or 4 days a year in Utah are too nasty for climbing and they just happened to be when we were there. So we made the decision to drive down to southern California for a better chance on some 10,000 foot peaks. I was looking at the map and I noticed Zion National Park was right next to the driving route we would be taking. Zion was one of the last great destinations of Utah I hadn't yet visited so we agreed that we should break the drive in half and stop there.

the Battle of Perseverance (From Polar Circus to Sea of Vapors) Fighting the Battle of Perseverance (From Polar Circus to Sea of Vapors)  by noahs213

Polar Circus is the showpiece of the Canadian Rockies. It’s the most classic piece of ice in Canada and one of the best pieces of ice in the world. It’s sought after from all over the world. Its length and sustained difficulty make it a rather "moderate" serious outing. I have wanted this route for a long time but have waited for the right time to come. The ice climbing in Canada is simply the best on the planet and climbing Polar Circus would mean climbing the “best” route in the area that has the most amazing ice on the planet. It seemed like I would not be sad about that choice. I was always stuck looking at the Polar Circus route page Dow Williams put up. The Canadian Rockies sport many classics that form some of the best climbing out there. It’s the perfect place to train for the bigger lines.

The ghosts
of the Tatras The ghosts of the Tatras  by visentin

It was a couple of years ago. There was an unmistakable anticyclone moving slowly over Central Europe, and probably one of the last sunny and warm week-ends of the year. I had a ton of work, but I decided to postpone it and dedicate two days to my favorite mountains in the country. I phoned to few friends, hoping than any of them would join in, but unsuccessfully. Never-mind, I said, and on Friday night I was driving all speed to the Tatras. My destination was the border ?ysa Polana, where I could undertake a hike in the most beautiful valley of the Tatras, Dolina Bielovodská.

Like a G6 on the East Ridge of Carl Heller (In Winter Style) Partying Like a G6 on the East Ridge of Carl Heller (In Winter Style)  by PellucidWombat

It is surrounded by 14ers and has too little prominence to make it visible except from a few select locations, and it is located along one of the more remote stretches of the Sierra Crest. It isn't even an officially named peak or on the SPS list. Yet it is a beautiful peak with an incredibly symmetric east ridge that is often touted by veterans of the Sierra as one of the finest scrambles in the range. The route is like the East Ridge of Mount Russell, but on steroids – and the people who climb it are like other climbers who frequent the area, but on crack. It is extremely knife edged with sustained and exposed class 3 friction and crack climbing interrupted by occasional class 4 obstacles. (Some people insist that some of the moves approach mid-5th in difficulty). Technically the route is only class 3-4, but in winter conditions I found the route to be far harder and scarier than the 5.5 East Ridge of Mt Humphreys that I had climbed a month earlier. In fact the crux pitch was the scariest pitch I have climbed to date!

Face to Face with Mt.
Mansfield Face to Face with Mt. Mansfield  by Moogie737

Yes, I have a goal regarding state highpoints. It is not, however, to climb every one of them. It is to greet the apex of the twenty-five highest. So why would I be worrying about frittering away time bagging the 26th highest, Mt. Mansfield, in the Green Mountains of Vermont?

The question is valid and deserves an equally straightforward answer: because it is there. Now that the curmudgeonly sarcastic remarks box has been dutifully checked, I will simply say that the challenge of a winter ascent of any of the New England state highpoints is so full of magnetism for me that to resist the opportunity was unthinkable. There is a lure emanating from Mt. Mansfield, its unruly undulating profile covered in a winter cloak of white, which pulls, tempts and dares.

Park Butte 2010 Park Butte 2010  by fjes6

Park Butte is a textbook Cascade sub-alpine area, set directly across from the SW flanks of Mt. Baker it rises 5,450' above sea level with low valley footings on the west in the Upper Middle Fork Nooksack river valley. The Park Butte trail is one of the main entrances into the Mount Baker National Reacreation Area and can be accessed via Hwy. 20, turn north onto Baker Lake Rd. and proceed to the National Forest boundary. Four tenths of a mile inside the National Forest Baker Lake Rd. turns sharply east (right) and on the apex is the entrance to FR12, turn left onto it.

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