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Giant Mountain East Face
Slide Giant Mountain East Face Slide  by MudRat

The East Cirque of Giant haunted my thoughts for years, first as dramatic backdrop for photos from Rocky Peak Ridge. Reading articles such “The Dark Side of the Moon” in Peeks Magazine placed it far from my realistic options at first. This detailed an ascent by Jim Close and Mark Lowell. Pictures of the seemingly overhanging cliffs and vertical crack near the north side made it appear insurmountable without technical gear. Over time, my curiosity and confidence grew until when, in 2008, Rico and I discussed plans to at least scout it after we ascended Giant’s Eagle Slide on the opposite face. After a frigid October ascent which including lying in icy runoff and then finding the top 1/3 covered in verglass, we aborted the attempt on the East Face. We tried again in early 2010, but the weather demons turned a 10% chance of rain into an all day event. So, at the last minute, we took our chances with the weather and made our way from New Russia via Blueberry Cobbles, Bald Peak, Rocky Peak and Rocky Peak Ridge.

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Accident on the
Langkofeleck Accident on the Langkofeleck  by mvs

It was the most relaxed of trips. I guess that makes sense. When you are "geared up" physically and mentally for a struggle a thin layer of paranoia and heightened sensitivity protects you. I can say I'm proud of every time I backed off something like that due to a bad feeling. Happily it wasn't all the time!

I'd done a full round of climbs earlier in the summer and planned to stay home most of August. But Danno and I had one day to climb together and the chance couldn't be missed. He hadn't been out at all this year so we sought something easy. We decided on a somewhat obscure route on the Langkofeleck. As the name implies, it's a "corner" of the Langkofel, the furthest left side of that amazing bulk when seen from the Sella Pass. The "Ramp Route," well named, reaches the summit in 17 pitches with lots of easy ground, and difficulties to IV+ (about 5.6 YDS). We awoke early and drove away from our secret bivy site, munching on apples. The hike in took less than an hour, and we were very surprised to see two guys reach the base right when we did.

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Marathon de Desolation Marathon de Desolation  by swick

If you have ever read Patrick McManus you are familiar with the idea of "The Big Trip." The idea is simple... find an area on the map as far away from roads and trails as possible, take a minimum of gear, throw in a few wild animals, preferably large ones with big teeth, add some weather, as much hardship as possible, mix with some bad luck and you have "The Big Trip."

We didn't start out planning a big trip, but the idea grew from a few enchainments in the Desolation Wilderness--first the Crystal Range, later Tallac, Dick's and Jack's, a day trip to Ralston Peak--and pretty soon we were wondering about linking them all.

A quick review of Summit Post revealed that Steeleman had linked all seven peaks in a two day push in his Desolation Death March in 2002. Rumor has it that Dick's Peak, Jack's Peak, Mt Price, Mt Agassiz, and Pyramid Peak had been traversed in a day, but it appeared that all seven major peaks surrounding the Desolation Valley had never been enchained in a one day epic. Game on...

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Christie,
Noyes, Meany, Seattle, & Martins Lakes Christie, Noyes, Meany, Seattle, & Martins Lakes  by Klenke

It was a 4-hour drive to the trailhead after picking up our permits at the ranger station. We set out hiking at 12:30pm. By 7:00pm we were all sixes and sevens as we tripped into camp at Twelvemile Shelter, which is actually only about 11.4 miles from the car. This campground got flooded out a few years ago. But plenty of flat spots can be found in the gravel bedding. We camped next to the old shelter, which now is merely an old roof.

Sixteenmile Camp is only about 0.7 miles up the trail from Twelvemile yet it is called Sixteeenmile. This is odd. Someone we met on the trail said it was due to the trailhead being moved some years ago. I don’t know if I believe this. Anyway, a ford is usually required to get to Sixteenmile Camp on the other side of the river. But not this year (and maybe for a few years to come) because a big tree has fallen across the river. No more ford. At present a rough path through the brush leads to the gravel bar then over to the tree. But I expect in a few years the path will become “permanent” to the tree. The tree is difficult to get onto due to it size (until someone chops a notch in it) and it is hard to get off of (on the Sixteenmile side) due to a root ball, but a few sideways steps with good root holds gets one to dirt.

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Climbing
the Diamond At 18 Years Old Climbing the Diamond At 18 Years Old  by noahs213

This One's for Kevin. One of his dream climbs was to climb the Diamond.

Some people dream about getting a diamond. I dream of climbing the Diamond. Sure the easiest route up it is only a stiff 5.10a but there are so many factors that make the Diamond the most coveted and wanted alpine faces in the U.S. Not only is it really hard but by the time you get to the crux, you have climbed over 1500 feet of vertical ground. That is all vertical on the Diamond. It's all above 13,000 feet. You also experience the cold effects and with this trip, my hands were getting dangerously cold if I did not move them enough. Not many people can handle the exposure you get on this with some of the wildest terrain out there. Two thousand vertical feet below you. So you approach the route with a 6 mile approach. You climb alot of the stiff route with frozen fingers, and by the time you get to the crux, it's probably already snowing/lightning. Then you got a long descent ahead of you. It's a serious objective not to be taken lightly. Not a ton of people do it.

Over these last couple of years, some of you who have climbed with me have seen me really push myself rock climbing wise. Whether that is sport or trad climbing. I got up to leading a couple 5.12's and a ton of 5.11's. When choosing such a serious goal, I chose other climbs in the park to train on. Me and Danny were getting ready for the dream climb. Since I got started in climbing, the Diamond has been a mega goal. It's a huge accomplishment. So many people dream about it but very few complete it. I have read over and over many accounts of it from famous climbers and there books to just trip reports. Everything about it has appealed to me. It's the stepping stone for what I want to do in the future, 8,000 meter peaks, Eiger North Face and etc. I never thought I would achieve it until I was in my 20's. That face is just plain intimidating. World class climbers have trained on it and to climb on the same ground as them, is well tough. It throws everything at you.

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Crossing the Sea of Stones Crossing the Sea of Stones  by Vid Pogachnik

Those who seek to read about great adventures will find nothing interesting in this 3-days trek report. What I'd like to tell here is, how great area Steinernes Meer is for long hikes and for those who are looking for ideas, how to plan the visit of the area, to present one of the most beautiful itineraries.

Our goal was first to ascend the two cardinal (also among the highest) summits of Steinernes Meer area and to do a round tour which would show us most of the characteristics of the great plateau. We did the trek our way, of course. That means carrying everything with us (tent, sleeping bags, food and drinks), stopping at mountain huts only in emergency - additional beer, for example. That makes you feel free, dependent only on weather and your own fitness.

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Great Day on Kiener's Great Day on Kiener's  by Brian C

Kiener's had been at the top of my list for this summer but a combination of being out of state all summer and poor weather had kept me off Longs. We had decided to give it a go about a week earlier and turned around due to a 3am lightning storm that turned into all day rainy weather. I had high hopes of excellent weather the following week but my partner had a prior commitment to climb Snowmass with a friend of his. Not willing to scrap the day, I got in contact with a fellow from 14ers to climb the Beaver route on Longs instead. The day before the trip, my usual partner's friend broke a toe and freed him up for Kiener's with me. We were back on!

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Looking For
The Head Of The Dragon And Slaying The Bear Looking For The Head Of The Dragon And Slaying The Bear  by FlatheadNative

2010 has been an unusual weather year in Montana.

With unusually heavy and late spring/early summer snowfall in the high country and unseasonably cool temperatures in June, July and August climbing in Glacier National Park has been interesting to say the least. Thunderstorms and low clouds have left us unable to climb for many days. There are occassional "nice' days scattered here and there but far to few to accurately predict that the next day to climb will be without threatening thunderstorm and low clouds.

On an August day four of us set of to climb Dragon’s Tail. It was a unanimous choice for all. All but one of us had climbed it before but two of the three climbers were unable to see the summit views due to low clouds and wind. With undaunted courage we set off for the day.

Today would be unlike any other so far this year … the climb and the weather.

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Alps 2009:
Sunny Saas summits and single return to Mont Blanc Alps 2009: Sunny Saas summits and single return to Mont Blanc  by markhallam

Not having climbed at very high altitude since the 1980’s I recognised that I needed to put in a bit more training than just nipping down the gym a few times. So this was my excuse to take off to the Alps for 2 weeks on my own last September. This would be my last opportunity to check myself out with altitude, albeit modest alpine altitude. It was also to be a chance to practice a bit of solo climbing and getting into the swing of living in tents again, neither of which I had practiced for a good few years.

This is what I got up to…

I started out by earning myself a telling off from an official who caught me putting away my bivvy gear up by the reservoir in the Saas Fee valley, Switzerland. Fresh out from England I saw an opportunity to start the acclimatisation process off immediately, with a night out at 2200m. So, in the darkness, I had driven my little hire car up there and laid out my new gortex bivvy bag. But it was verboten, I should have been in the camp site 600m below, at Saas Grund – and I was caught at seven in the morning by an exceptionally keen representative of local Swiss officialdom. It made me feel like a young man again. Struggling to produce a contrite expression, I evaded a fine – but inside I was singing - for the weather was perfect!

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One Windy
Monday One Windy Monday  by vanman798

I must admit that I knew next to nothing about Oregon’s Mt. Hood. I must have seen it when traveling down I-84 years ago but its image was not in my mind, I did not know anyone who had climbed it, and I’m not even sure I knew that it was the highest point in Oregon! Yet I wanted to climb it, and since we were going to be in the general area I put the idea out there to my friend Josh, and he took the bait.

We would be climbing Mt. Hood as a two man team, and as we learned about the mountain we found out that it is glaciated and the site of related crevasse rescues, accidents, and even deaths. Mountaineering mostly in the Utah Mountains where glaciers do not exist and crevasses are not typically a concern, neither of us had any practical experience with negotiating glaciers and as such we had some learning to do. Our initial training came through a Utah County based climbing club which we are both members of. Through the club we received an introduction to rope travel, tying and using prussic knots, and setting up snow anchors. Understanding that on Mt Hood we would have only our combined knowledge to keep us safe, and to perform rescues should the need arise, we both spent time reading up on glacier travel and rescue techniques. We even got together and set up 3:1 and 6:1 pulley systems in my backyard. We also figured out how to use an ATC as part of a ratchet system to pull a partner out of a crevasse. A couple of weeks prior to our scheduled trip, we set out on a practice run up local Mount Timpanogos where on the snow covered slopes adjacent to Emerald Lake we practiced arresting falls while roped together, setting up anchors, and rescuing each other out of imaginary crevasses. Armed with our newly acquired knowledge and practice we felt we were ready for Oregon’s tallest mountain.

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