Rock and Ice Climbing near Hauraz, Peru

November 27, 2016
View from Los Olives of Huaraz as the sun starts setting.

View from Los Olives of Huaraz as the sun starts setting.

I never got around talking about my time around Huaraz, Peru near the Cordillera Blanca. This city is known as a mountaineering paradise but also has lots of nearby rock climbing. I wrote previously about how I climbed a few of the hundreds of routes in the rock forest of Hatun Machay a couple hours south. However, I also wanted to share on the three other areas I climbed. There is much more than what I’m talking about here so pick up a copy of the regional climbing guide to get some rock down there!

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28 Hour Assault on Snake Dike: Climbing Half Dome in Yosemite

November 22, 2016
Sadie climbing pitch seven of Snake Dike 700' from the base below

Sadie climbing pitch seven of Snake Dike 700′ from the base below

I’m still in denial that climbing season is coming to an end in the Sierra’s. Similar to my attempt on Bear Creek Spire a month ago, this weekend I decided to climb a classic by braving colder weather and threading a weather window. The idea was that we’ll have the stiflingly popular Snake Dike (5.7 R ⭑⭑⭑⭑⭑) that climbs 800′ up the side (and tops out on) Half Dome to ourselves. I mean, who else is going to try to climb a granite dome with projected rain in the afternoon? The reason Snake Dike is so popular is simple. It is epic. It features massive run outs (sometime 65′ between bolts), amazing scenery and a strenuous 3-4 hours approach/decent (6 miles up / 9 miles down).

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Every Day I’m Climbing Classics – A Long Weekend in Yosemite

November 15, 2016
View from P2 ledge on Nutcracker. Looking at Middle and Higher Cathedral

View from P1 ledge on Nutcracker. Looking at Middle and Higher Cathedral

It didn’t take much convincing to spend a three day weekend in Yosemite Valley, climb a five star classic each day and camp at the historic Camp 4. Cold mornings and warm days meant prime climbing for the Northern walls of the valley, typically swelteringly hot in the summer. This had me looking at routes on Manure Pile Buttress, Five Open Books, Royal Arches, El Cap, and even Higher Cathedral. I ended up climbing The Grack, Nutcracker and Commitment.

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How to lose a hand on Traveler’s Buttress (Lover’s Leap)

October 24, 2016
View from P3 belay, looking towards East Wall

View from P3 top belay, looking towards East Wall

On a late October weekend I went out to Lover’s Leap for some trad multi pitch climbing with friends. The campground felt as busy as in the summer, but the cold caused many climbers to start later and opt for sunnier spots like the East Wall. This left classics like Corrugation Corner to few parties, often without lines. My goal for the weekend was to push myself leading. I had no idea what I was going to get myself into…

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I can’t not alpine: Winter on Bear Creek Spire’s North Arete

October 18, 2016
beer creek view

View from base of Bear Creek Spire

On the weekend of October 15th there was a 130 mph wind warning in the Sierra North of Mammoth Lakes from a massive storm drenching California in rain. My plans to alpine climb in Toulumne could not happen. I searched every climbing area in California to find one without rain and less wind risk. Finally settling upon Bear Creek Spire’s North Arete (⭑⭑⭑⭑, 5.8) still in a wind advisory, but less extreme.

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Shuteye Ridge: Queen’s Throne and Sundial

October 5, 2016
Fei belaying me from the top of P3 ledge of Queen's Throne

Fei belaying me from the top of P3 ledge of Queen’s Throne

Shuteye Ridge is an area just South of Yosemite with hundreds of climbs, a continuation of Yosemite’s granite quality that can also offer knobby faces and typically very little crowding. For example, there are 24 routes on the 600′ Queen’s Throne dome, but my group of four was the only one climbing on it last Saturday. This area doesn’t get much traffic simply because its hard to get there. Most areas require beating up your car or a high clearance vehicle while anything labeled four wheel drive also requires serious nerve and at least 31 inch wheels. Mountain project only has like 20% of the routes in this region and having a guide book is essential. Finally, if you want something easy to get to in the region without the clearance requirement Chiquito Dome is the place for you.

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Climbing the Rock Forest in Peru – Hatun Machay

September 19, 2016
The Cloud Forest: Every wall here is climbable, most don't have routes yet.

The Cloud Forest: Every wall here is climbable, most don’t have routes yet.

Hatun Machay is a sport climbing paradise with around 26 bolted walls, lots of bouldering and tons of opportunity for more. However, the decade long proprietor of the hostel here who bolted a lot of these routes, offered climbing rentals, etc. was evicted in July from the area. When his lease was up for renewal he tried to buy the land, but the community refused. He put a lot of investment in this area so he tried to go straight to the government, but failed and eventually was forcibly removed.

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Solo’ing the Hard Cordillera Huayhaush – Peru (Part 2)

September 14, 2016

This post is a continuation of my eight day trek in the Cordillera Huayhuash. Follow along using my trail map.

Day 4: Into the Otherworld

After a mile on trail I again disengaged straight in the direction of a pass. Crossing a flat basin and then climbing consistently higher towards a single prominent glacial clad mountain.

Mt. Trapecio, 18,582 ft

Mt. Trapecio, 18,582 ft

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Solo’ing the Hard Cordillera Huayhaush – Peru


The Cordillera Huayhaush is regarded by some as the second best trek in the world. It brings you through remote, majestic 20,000+ ft peaks capped by large gleaming glaciers rushing into the turquoise alpine lakes. Then at night you camp in alpine basins, losing yourself in awe of the high andes landscape.

Most people complete this 8-14 day trek using a guide and donkeys, but spiritually I believe (like these people) self-sufficiency is an important part of the wilderness experience so I went solo and unsupported. Not content with the already difficult Huayhuash circuit, I pushed this trip further, driving myself to spend most days off trail or on the alpine circuit using a quality map and guide book. As a result, I spent my 73 mile route constantly above 14,000 ft, climbing over five 16,000 ft passes, and racking up 28,000 ft of elevation by the end of my eight days.

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Micro Adventure in Marin

September 1, 2016
The Empty Quarter which Alistair traversed by foot. Photo by IrenicRhonda

Alistair Humphreys traversed The Empty Quarter (above) by foot. Photo by IrenicRhonda

Alastair Humphreys is the true modern day adventurer who crosses deserts by foot and rows across the Atlantic. It goes without saying he is an amazing inspiration to myself as an explorer. For some time I’ve been thinking how I can bring his concept of micro adventures (bringing adventure into our every day lives and making it more approachable) into a normal week. I started the process this summer by sleeping outside in the hammock in my backyard some nights and now regularly skipping a tent in the backcountry. However, what I really wanted was to bring that backcountry adventure into my daily life…

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