SKAGIT ALPINISM

A Brief Visit to Patagonia, and Reflections on Hard Solo Climbing

August 25th, 2019

I’m currently beginning the long journey back from El Chaltén, concluding my shortest-yet trip to Patagonia, and by far my least productive. I have by now made a total of 16 trips to El Chaltén, and the biggest, most stable window of good weather I’ve ever seen was during the past two weeks. However, August is mid-winter in Patagonia (it’s the equivalent of February in the northern hemisphere), and as often seems to be the […]

Hola Patagonia!

Not Sending the Gnar in Peru

June 21st, 2019

I’m currently traveling from Peru to Chamonix, reflecting on a totally unsuccessful three and a half weeks in the Cordillera Blanca. At the end of May I traveled with my special lady friend, Alisa, to Huaraz, the major city in Peru’s Ancash region, situated adjacent to the Cordillera Blanca. Unfortunately, after only about 24 hours in Huaraz I became extremely ill from something I ate or drank, and spent the next four days shitting my […]

Rob and Giselle descending the lower slopes of Tocllaraju.

A Taste of Khan Tengri

October 10th, 2018

Khan Tengri is one of a bunch of mountains that often get called “one of the most beautiful mountains in the world.” I think those statements are pretty silly, since beauty is so extremely subjective, but I do personally think that Khan Tengri is a particularly beautiful mountain. I’ve felt that way since first seeing photos of it, which must’ve been well more than a decade ago. It is a steep pyramid, much higher than […]

Nikita on the slopes of "Chapayev Shoulder," part of Khan Tengri's northern normal route.

Cassin Ridge Speed Solo

September 10th, 2018

BACKGROUND I have recently returned to civilization from my eighth expedition to Denali [edit: Not recently anymore! This blog post is finally making it online 3 months after the fact…], the highest mountain in North America. Although the summit of Denali is only 6,155 meters, I think the altitude on the summit of Denali feels roughly equivalent to 6,500 meters in Nepal. This discrepancy is because the centripetal force of our spinning Earth causes the […]

Heading towards the dihedral up and left - A route-finding error that would involve the most difficult terrain on the entire ascent. Photo by Nicholas Gantz.

Chalten 2017-2018 Photo Essay

September 10th, 2018

On the Argentine side of the Patagonian Andes, the Chaltén Massif is a dense range of extremely steep mountains, famous for Cerro Torre and Chaltén itself (the native name for the peak also known as Fitz Roy). I have been coming to this mountain range on an annual basis since 2003, often for a three-month stay. Thus, I have spent three entire years of my life in Chaltén, and have done a huge portion of […]

Gasherbrum 2 Half-Hearted Attempt

August 20th, 2017

I am beginning to draft this blog entry while currently stuck in Islamabad, eager to get back home to Seattle after a long stint in Pakistan. The idea for this trip started roughly one year ago. I was in Chamonix for one week, after a super successful trip to Alaska, and before an only somewhat successful trip to India. I was totally out of rock climbing fitness, but one day Aymeric Clouet kindly dragged me […]

Begguya North Buttress Solo Ascent

June 1st, 2017

  I’ve just returned to Seattle from a trip to the Central Alaska Range, which was shorter than most with only two weeks of camping at Kahiltna Base Camp, but more successful than some Alaska Range trips I’ve done three times the length. In May 2012 I attempted to solo Begguya (the third-highest peak in the Central Alaska Range) via the North Buttress, and in a state of extreme exhaustion I turned around and descended […]

Patagonia 2016 – A Dud

January 26th, 2017

[Editor’s note: This was now written more than three weeks ago, on Dec. 31] I’m beginning to write this blog post on an airplane from El Calafate to Buenos Aires, on my way back to the northern hemisphere, after three weeks in the Chaltén Massif of Patagonia. I had planned for a big and hopefully fruitful Patagonia climbing season, trying to keep the momentum from the very successful season I had one year ago. I […]

Tony nearing the end of the couloir portion of the Supercanaleta.

Expedition to Kun, Northwestern Himalaya

September 1st, 2016

I spent the month of July in the far northwestern Indian Himalaya, climbing with Jed Brown, with whom I’ve done a bunch of good climbing, but with whom I hadn’t climbed in many years. Going off some tips from friends and some limited research, we travelled to the Zanskar region to try Kun (7,077m). Our hope was to acclimatize on Kun’s normal route, the east ridge, and then climb the mountain again via steeper, more […]

Jed on Kun's normal route, for our first time.

My first Skimo Race – Tour du Rutor 2016

August 14th, 2016

Here’s a rather tardy blog post about my first ski-mountaineering race, last April in Arvier, Italy, told partially by myself, and partially by my partner in crime, infamous trail runner Jenn Shelton. COLIN: I had never done a ski mountaineering race before. Jenn had just started learning how to ski. I didn’t own the right clothes, the right backpack, the right poles. Then Jenn fractured her fibula… I figured the race was off, but Jenn […]