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Introduction to Alaska Introduction to Alaska  by Brad Snider

I was first introduced to hiking in Pennsylvania. Then in Colorado I took up scrambling, rock-climbing, and the poorly-named “peak-bagging.” Wanting to expand my mountaineering horizons to some of North America’s bigger mountains, I decided to learn glacier travel and crevasse rescue. With little time or resources, however, I decided that signing up for a guided trip was the best way to begin. That is how I ended up in Alaska with American Alpine Institute, at Denali base camp on the Southeast Fork of the Kahiltna Glacier. Our group of ten (2 guides, 8 clients) set up camp in solitude on the hill above Denali base camp, completely surrounded by world-class scenery amidst some of North America’s most magnificent mountains. Denali rose behind us, the summit just visible above a col between Mount Frances and “Lisa’s Peak,” and the ever-impressive masses of Mount Foraker and Mount Hunter kept us Alaska newbies in awe for the duration of the trip. The 7-day Denali-prep course covered the basics of glacier travel, rope-work, sled-rigging and pulling, crevasse rescue, and wrapped up with ice climbing.

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Neva Via
Juliet to Skyscraper: An IPW 12erfest Neva Via Juliet to Skyscraper: An IPW 12erfest  by shknbke

June is finally here, but with the weird, hard to read snowpack, it has been hard to plan couloir climbs. Around this time last year I enjoyed a challenging climb of the Arapahoes via Skywalker and vowed to visit the enchanting Indian Peaks Wilderness (IPW) more often. If there were 14ers here, this would be a hiking mecca in CO. I sent out a public invite and Sarah and Rob responded. I haven't had the chance to hike with Sarah and Dominic, so it was great that we could final hookup for what turned out to be a great day. Rob and I hiked together on an ill fated postholathon in sugar snow on Tucker Mtn on New Year's Day '07, so it was nice to hike with him again.

Neva is an relatively overlooked 12er that has some inviting lines to climb on its northeast face. The Juliet couloir is in Cooper's new "Colorado Snow Climbs" book as a short climb and is listed in Roach's IPW guidebook as a classic. It also typically doesn't have a cornice, so we decided to give it a shot. I copied Layne's idea of doing a car shuttle so we could make a ridge run over to Jasper, 12660, and Skyscraper.

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Gristle's Revenge Gristle's Revenge  by mtn runr

On the morning of February 3, 2007, Joseph Bullough (known affectionately to his friends as Gristle) and Brian Dutton (Dunsum on SP) set out on the classic mountaineering adventure known as the Beatout. They ascended the buttress out of Red Pine in good time and crossed the knife-edge ridge to the base of the Pfeifferhorn. The avalanche danger was generally low with a moderate danger reported on slopes "with recent deposits of wind drifted snow." About half-way up the Pfeifferhorn pyramid, just such a deposit gave way sweeping both climbers off their feet and sending them over the cliffband. They bounced several hundred feet through the exposed rock and came to rest on the apron of snow below the cliff, Joe face-down in the snow and closer to the cliff, and Brian somewhat further down-slope and in a sitting position.

When Brian got his bearings he scrambled back up to Joe, freed his face from the snow, and tried to assess the extent of his injuries (as well as his own.) Brian reports that Joe was semi-lucid but was having trouble breathing. He cleared Joe's airway and got him as comfortable as possible and then retrieved his cell phone and called for help. Over the ensuing hours, even though his own injuries were serious (broken bones and soft tissue trauma), Brian tended to Joe, who was in and out of consciousness and suffering from shock and cold. Brian basically laid on top of Joe and kept him warm and breathing until SAR arrived and took over.

Both climbers were hospitalized. Joe was listed in "extremely critical condition", spent a week in ICU and a month in the hospital.

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The Northwest Highlands The Northwest Highlands  by daw37

I left home at 05:55 in the morning for the long drive north to Scotland. Three and a half hours later I arrived at Inveruglas on the banks of Loch Lomond, to climb Ben Vorlich in the Arrochar Alps.

After a short climb on a track it was time to climb the slopes, which involved sixty minutes of steep trackless ascent. On the ridge it was windy but increasingly sunny. On approaching the summit I identified a path on the west face - which isn't on any of the maps or my books. Whilst annoyed to have missed it, I was overjoyed to know I had an easier way down!

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Hotel California Hotel California  by jcolton

The terrain between the Aiguille de Rochefort and Pointe Walker was unknown to me, even though its profile is familiar from below, in both France and Italy, whose borders it defines. The light plays tricks with distance, only if you have powerful optical assistance or you can see an aircraft or helicopter pass below the ridge line can you elicit a sense of scale. The traverse, from Geant to Rochefort is a sought after experience for mountaineers and has been given the title, “ Dream Ridge.”

Filling the gaps of experience is one way of translating idea into action. This particular gap applied to both JB and I. His sixtieth year seemed a good time to be doing it. A month was allocated for the celebrations out there, based in the Val Veni at Peutery near the base of the East ridge of the Aiguille Noire. The weather, indifferent to such an auspicious event had me drawing and painting clouds, both dark and low with dirty looking glaciers below. The share price of the Nastro Azzurro brewery rose exponentially with the pile of empties. All was well with our alpine world.

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A short
weather window A short weather window  by Nikman

I had planned an ascent of Groß Grünhorn and Fiescherhorn for some time. Three weeks ago – around the 1st of May the huts in the higher parts of Bernese Alps were all fully booked and since I felt to lazy to carry out all the bivi equipment like tent, stove, mattress and sleeping bag Sebastian and I went to Südtirol and bagged some peaks around the Casati hut. There was another public holiday to come at the end of May. But Thursday, 22nd of May was not only a public holiday in southern Germany but also Sebastian’s birthday and Sebastian wanted to celebrate a party at home. So I asked Frank, a ski mountaineer originally from Kleinwalsertal who is living in Ditzingen now, just some kilometres away from my home. He liked my idea of a final ski-tour for the 2007/08 season and because there was no public holiday in Switzerland it was easy to get a booking on the huts: the original plan was driving to Grindelwald on Thursday, taking the train to Jungfraujoch and skiing down to Konkordia-hut. Friday: ascending Groß Grünhorn and crossing over to Mönchsjoch-hut. Saturday: ascending Fiescherhorn and returning to Mönchsjoch-hut. Sunday: ascending Mönch or Jungfrau depending on fitness, weather and conditions.

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Challenger Point Challenger Point  by Matthew DeCoste

We grabbed a bite to eat and headed out from Colorado Springs at 7:20 a.m. on Saturday, May 24. Plugged in the iPod, cranked up some U2 and made good time to the town of Crestone. Driving time was right at 3 and a half hours as we drove through Crestone using Gerry Roach's 14'er guide for directions. I was concerned about making it up the 4x4 portion of the road to the trailhead but it was a breeze in my Toyota Camry. No worries there, it almost seemed groomed.

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There and Back Again:
Buckskin Marathon There and Back Again: Buckskin Marathon  by JDrake

My friend Todd and I had been planning a return trip to Buckskin Gulch ever since our February trip ended in spectacular failure. A blown engine, wet forecast, delayed start, and roads of impenetrable red clay mud all conspired to send us home without that post trip high. A certain bitterness had lingered in the back of our minds since that fateful excursion, and we were determined to wipe it away with a grand "Wire Pass to the Paria confluence and back to Wire Pass" extravaganza. Initially we had determined to leave early Saturday and have the afternoon and evening to enjoy the surrounding area a bit before hammering out the 26 miles or so we had planned for Sunday. But, duty called, and both Todd and I were delayed playing lazer tag with 12 eight year olds for a birthday party our friend was throwing for his son. Todd and I took out our anxiety about leaving late by blasting away at the young jedi until they complained we weren't playing fair. After a scolding by the birthday boy, we settled down and let them fire away at us like good parental role models. It actually was a lot of fun, and after the obligatory cake and ice-cream, all youngsters were dropped off at home and Todd and I hit I-15 headed south.

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Cima Grande, Brandler Hasse Cima Grande, Brandler Hasse  by jcolton

The day began well and stayed that way until nightfall when things went downhill. We had figured out that considering the magnitude of the problem facing us, and instead of the usual debauchery, an early night might be in order. Almost asleep by 9pm, the relative peace was broken by the late arrival of a team whose campcraft was less than polished. Neither were they briefed about our programme. John began that process from the confines of his tent but this made little impact on the noise level. It took a while but the idea of an ice axe as a surgical instrument eventually sank in before the axe did and an uneasy peace settled on the campsite.

We were camping at Misurina, above Cortina in the SestoDolomites, about to embark on our first major objective of the summer, the Brandler Hasse on the North face of the Cima Grande, also known as the Grosse Zinne. Climbing as a rope of three were John Barker, Ian Blakeley and I and we had been practising, making a reasonable account of ourselves on the Yellow Edge, only loosing our way on the descent, in the dark. John likes his sleep in the morning. Ian and I had also been up the N.E ridge adjacent to the north face and sharing the same descent.

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Adventures
on a Welsh North Face Adventures on a Welsh North Face  by igneouscarl

My own story begins in Guilford, a county town four miles over the hill from Godalming- notable as the residence and teaching post of twenty four year old George Leigh Mallory. Under far less illustrious circumstances you’ll find me stood in an outdoor shop: bored stiff, crammed between a rail of waterproof jackets and polar tech fleeces. There I am encircled by a descending wall of cold air blasted by the incessant air conditioning unit above. The noise is tolerable, even if it didn’t come close to drowning out the everyday-same song on the sound system. That same band syndrome that even after two months was close to driving me cracked. I’d had no customers in all morning (but that was alright too really) and while the sun shone outside I skimmed my way through the inspiring Rock Climbing in Snowdonia.

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