Solo’ing the Hard Cordillera Huayhaush – Peru

September 14, 2016

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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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Trinity Alps: Caribou Figure Eight

August 16, 2016
Upper Caribou Lake

Welcome to Upper Caribou Lake

I was invited to do one of the hardest backpacking trips in the lower 48: The Caribou Scramble is 26 miles with a massive 13k elevation gain. However it was kind of hard figuring out the actual route so we misidentified and embarked on this Caribou Figure Eight that even Summit Post suggested.  Combining it with a class three Caribou rim traverse our trip was still a respectable 22 mile, 7k elevation gain trip with a warm (rare) alpine lake swim and plenty of granite scrambles.

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Birthday Blitz: River crossings and alpine lakes onto Mt. Baldwin

June 28, 2016
Thoughtful Birthday decorations on my hammock.

While checking out the sunrise over mildred lake my friends decorated my hammock

The plan was to go hike to Dorthy lakes for a three day backpacking trip for my birthday. Hoping to summit either Mt. Baldwin (12,615′) and possibly Red Slate Mountain (13,123′) depending on whichever looked more fun. However, high streams, lots of snow and unexpected Class 3 kept us from summits but still enjoying the beautiful scenery with lots of birthday shenanigans.

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Trail Report: Mt Shasta Casaval Traverse

May 17, 2016
Casaval Ridge

Casaval Ridge from 11,700 ft

I had been training all year for a difficult climb up Sargent’s Ridge when the trip fell through a couple weekends back so when I had an opportunity at another ridge route I jumped at it. In all the trip was a bit of an adventure with encountering a lighting storm while on the mountain, sustained wind for the whole climb, going solo for part of it and not being able to see when my glasses iced over on a steep section. I’m calling this write up the Casaval Traverse since I deviated off Casaval Ridge around 12,500 ft and topped out at the West Face instead of doing the Catwalk.

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Trail Report: Cone Peak Loop – Big Sur

April 26, 2016
coastal view

…three miles in this is just the start of what you’ll see. You only get more!

Want to see the real Big Sur? The wilderness where mountains dive dramatically into the ocean? A mountain range hidden from Highway 1? Cone peak (5155 ft) is a great route for you. It is one of the most diverse trips I’ve been on with vast ocean-stretching views, lush redwoods, green waterfalls, wildflower-laden hillsides and a rocky (cone) peak topped with an old fire lookout.

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Trail Report: Spring Summit Attempt of Lassen Peak

April 20, 2016
View from 10,000 ft on Lassen Peak. Shasta in the upper left and Chaos Craigs in center.

View from 10,000 ft on Lassen Peak. Shasta in the upper left and Chaos Craigs in center-left.

Lassen Volcanic National Park is one of the snowiest places in California and also one of the least visited national parks despite its rich geology and beauty. Around mid-April it was one of few lower elevation peaks with enough snow for a full snow mountaineering accent. The other peaks we had considered near Convict Lake (Laurel and Morrison) now nearly bare.

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How to (Not) Climb Round Top, or: The Importance of Good Research

April 3, 2016

peak

“We think we took a wrong turn a quarter of a mile back.”

Guest post by Matthew Adjemian

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The Complete Guide to Patagonia

January 9, 2016
Lago de los Tres hike near El Chalten

Lago de los Tres hike near El Chalten

You are all set on going to Patagonia, but don’t know what you want to do down there yet? First thing to know is there are three main regions: Northern (Lakes District), Central and South. Most people however think of Southern Patagonia when they think of Patagonia. Below you’ll find the boots on the ground knowledge I gained from spending three weeks in Southern Patagonia in November 2015.

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Parks and Places of Southern Patagonia: Argentina

El Chalten

El Chalten near Mt. Fitz Roy

Argentina’s Torres del Paine and UNESCO World Heritage Site is Parque Los Glaciares. This area features its own  glaciers, beautiful mountain vistas and contains the “end of the world.” Below you’ll find the many great experiences available on the Argentinian side of the border…

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