MSR Field Reports: 2013 International Snow Science Workshop – Grenoble, France

by Jane Mauser In October I represented Mountain Safety Research at the 2013 International Snow Science Workshop in Grenoble, France. MSR has been a contributing sponsor of the ISSW for the past two years. A handful of MSR employees attend the workshop to learn more about snow science, share products relevant to snow travel and rescue, and build on our relationships in the snow safety community. This year’s event brought an impressive turn-out of snow science professionals from all over the world. There are seems to be new avalanche forecast and education centers popping up around the globe and many of them were represented at ISSW. My personal interest is in communication and education of snow safety, so I gravitated toward those posters, abstracts and presentations. It was great to…

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Alpine Climbing in Afghanistan

Click Photo To Open Gallery Story and photos by Dylan Taylor Afghanistan. This central Asian country is well-known for drone strikes, Taliban, poverty, drugs, corruption, and… alpine climbing? Indeed, since the fall of Taliban leadership in 2002 climbers have been returning to the Hindu Kush and Pamir ranges of Afghanistan’s Wakhan Corridor. The Wakhan is a narrow 300km-long finger of northeast Afghanistan, separating Tajikistan to the North from Pakistan to the south by a narrow band of river, road, and rugged mountain only a few dozen km wide at its narrowest point. For those captivated by tales of the Great Game – the intrigue and espionage era that pitted the British empire against the Russians in the 1800’s, you’re advised to read up on it the Wakhan corridor features prominently. Most…

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Revelations: Revealing the Angel

Story By Graham Zimmerman Southwest of Denali, deep in the nederlands of the Alaska Range rises a valley of giant granite walls. They are known as the Revelations and have a reputation for beautiful hard climbing and terrible weather. In June of 2013 Scott Bennett and myself visited these mountains in search of new rock routes on beautiful peaks. We arrived in Talkeetna just as a legendary high pressure spell was coming to a sharp close. The clouds were closed in and we spent five days waiting in town until we were able to fly into the range. Luckily for us, many successful teams were flying out after sending the west buttress of Denali and we had a constant stream of friends both old and new arriving in town. It…

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Graduating From Harvard: Partnership on Mount Huntington Part 2

Story and photos by Aili Farquhar Daylight greeted us as we awoke, brewed up, ate, and started moving once more.  Stanislav took the aid lead on the Nose pitch.  As I belayed his lead up the tiny overhanging crack threading up the wall I recalled our days practicing our aid climbing in Leavenworth in a slight drizzle.  We were ready for this.  So far our training had paid off.

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Graduating From Harvard: Partnership on Mount Huntington Part 1

Story and photos by Aili Farquhar The voice over the phone was nervous.  I was barreling down I-94 somewhere outside Miles City, Montana, going about 90 on my way to the Bakken oil patch and already tired.  I was telling my climbing partner Stanislav, who had just completed a bone dry ascent of New York Gully on Chair Peak, about the hip-deep powder my friend Tess and I had found on Teton Pass. “I’m worried you are doing too much skiing and not enough ice climbing.  I don’t know if you will be adequately prepared for Huntington.” This worry voiced made me the kind of mad that promotes a flurry of training.  Up at work in the oilfields I ramped up my workouts.  I camped for days at a time…

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Backcountry Splitboarding in Chile: Nevados

Photos and Story By Steve Weiss It was my first time in this foreign, beautiful country of Chile to splitboard and, it would be the first time ever attempting to summit a peak and fail, multiple times. The Chilean Andes are unforgiving – windy, wet, and cold – even when the sun is out on a bluebird day. They are considered the 2nd tallest mountain range in the world, sitting just below the Himalayas. Because of its incessant high-powered wind and at times bombproof surface, you can find yourself seeking a peak and being pushed off it. Nevados, a volcano that is located just outside of the Nevados de Chillan resort is the epitome of being forced for multi-attempts. Nevados is a volcano that is located just above the resort…

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Searching for Waterfalls of Washington State

Story By Roddy Scheer No doubt this is a peach of a gig. A major publisher hired me to put together a guide book on waterfall hikes in Washington State, so I have spent the last several months winnowing down the list of cascades and hiking some of them. While many of the waterfalls on my list are well-known and well-loved, others are more obscure. For me, that’s where the fun — and adventure — comes in. One recent outing to a remote waterfall — I’m not telling where — accessed via a short hike off of an otherwise deserted old logging road turned out to be more of an adventure than I anticipated. I had basic instructions cobbled together from a couple of websites, but not a lot of…

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Packrafting the Alatna River: The Wilds of Gates of the Arctic National Park

Story and Photos By Heather Balogh The plane sputtered through the water and smoothly sailed into the distance, leaving the five of us standing on the banks of Circle Lake, watching our only link to civilization fly in the opposite direction. Our bush pilot had just dropped us in Gates of the Arctic National Park, near the Arrigetch Peaks in Alaska. We were literally hundreds of miles from anything, and the silence was truly deafening. Our crew– comprised of Will, Amy, Shannon, Drew, and myself– had been planning this trip for months. Will and Drew had originally heard of Gates in 2007, but it had taken a few years to find a group of people that were interested in going so far off the grid. After a few discussions, we…

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Finding Your Own Adventure: How to Research and Plan a Climbing Expedition

Story and Photos by Graham Zimmerman Climbing Research As climbers, we each have a personal grail; our favorite and most motivating reason to get out to the hills and crags to try hard. The lack of a rule book in climbing allows us to define this as we please, which is certainly a wonderful element of what we do. Whether we’re into bouldering, sport climbing, walling or alpinism, if we like to climb in established areas or explore well-known classic terrain, or if we like to push ourselves to redline as much as possible, or just get out and have a good ole time grabbing jugs and making hand jams, it is all up to us. We can choose as we please. Personally, I love exploring new alpine zones for…

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