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Archive for September, 2011

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Date: Sunday, September 18, 2011

Location: Matthes Crest, Yosemite National Park

Climbers: Jon & Nick

Photos: Jon & Nick (as noted)

Synopsis: After a successful trip on the Northeast Couloir of Mount Gilbert the day prior, Jon and I headed on yet another early alpine start for some ultra-classic climbing on Matthes Crest. Matthes Crest is one of the most unique climbs I have ever done. Approaching from the Cathedral Lakes trailhead, Matthes Crest is a very unique granite knife-ridge that was glacially formed. Although it is only about 500 vertical feet from the ground, the knife-ridge itself runs for over a mile long. Similar to most parties, we climbed to the North Tower and rapped from the dedicated rap rings.

Ultimately, it rightly deserves its recognition for its classic status, offering awesome climbing, great exposure and unbelievable views.

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Date: Saturday, September 17, 2011

Location: Mt. Gilbert, Northeast Couloir

Climbers: Jon & Nick

Photos: Jon & Nick (as noted)

Synopsis: After arriving back from Europe the prior day (and Jon separately also arriving from Spain the prior day), Jon and I headed down to Bishop to once again give a go at the North Couloir on Mt. Gilbert (13,106 ft.). Last year we headed down much latter in the alpine ice season, and after a foot of snow fell, avalanche conditions were unsafe and lead to the Triple Skunk on each of the North Couloir on North Peak, the North Couloir on Mt. Gilbert and the Harrington Couloir on Mt. Thompson.

Fortunately, this year we headed back earlier in the season without snow on the approach and the weather was great. We ended up climbing the Northeast Couloir as it was more sustained without a burnt-out middle section, but now we both want to go back and climb the North Couloir proper. I guess we still have time this season!

Unlike the Triple Skunk , the approach was entirely dry well up onto the glacier just below Mt. Gilbert. Therefore, the approach was much faster (by several hours) and we made good time.

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Dates: Wednesday, September 7 – Thursday, September 15, 2011

Locations: Geneva, Chamonix & Annecy, including the Arête des Papillons – Aiguille du Peigne, Chamonix

Synopsis: Sarah and I headed over to the Swiss and French alps for an amazing trip, including first-time visits for each of us to Geneva, Chamonix and Annecy. I was extremely fired-up to visit Chamonix, THE Alpine Climbing and Skiing Mecca. While in Chamonix, I was able to link up with Tahoe-local Ben Mitchell for some climbing. Ben is an AMGA/IFMGA guide from Truckee that guides in Chamonix in the summer months (as well as for Alpine Skills International in Truckee in the winter and Points North Heli Skiing in Alaska, among other guiding pursuits). Ben and I climbed the classic Arête des Papillons on the Aiguille du Peigne in Chamonix.

Most importantly, the trip was a perfect combination of relaxation, sightseeing/photography and trilling adventure (including paragliding from the Plan Praz station heading towards the Plaques du Brévent) with the most amazing travel companion in the world!

While this TR does contain some amazing climbing and paragliding shots from Chamonix, I also just wanted to showcase some of the amazing sites and views presented during the entire trip in chronological order.

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