SKAGIT ALPINISM

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 […]

Infinite Spur Laps

June 8th, 2016

This blog post is dedicated to my good friend and longtime climbing partner, Mark Westman. I first met Mark in 2001 at Seattle’s Vertical World (the country’s first climbing gym), during Dale Remsberg’s birthday party. I was just a sixteen-year-old highschool kid, but already completely obsessed with alpine climbing, and I had heard stories about the Infinite Spur from my mentor Mark Bunker, who had gone to attempt it once. I knew that Mark Westman […]

Rob climbing up the side of the "Ice Rib."

Chalten 2015-2016

April 7th, 2016

Because this blog post is so long, I’ve divided it into chapters: 1. INTRODUCTION 2. CALIFORNIA ROUTE SOLO 3. SUPERCANALETA CAR-TO-CAR 4. CERRO SOLO, “EL DRAGON” 5. CERRO HUEMUL 6. TORRE EGGER AND PUNTA HERRON, SOLO 7. CERRO HUEMUL, “END OF FAITH” 8. TORRE TRAVERSE IN A DAY 9. WAVE EFFECT IN A DAY   1. INTRODUCTION [Editor’s Note: As I begin to write this summary of my Patagonian climbing season, I’m sitting on a […]

Alone on top of Torre Egger, for the first solo ascent.

Thwarted on Nuptse

November 5th, 2015

I’ve just recently returned to the US from my second trip to the Nepalese Himalaya. In late September I met up with Ueli Steck in Kathmandu, and the next day we flew to the Khumbu region. Our plan was an alpine-style attempt on the southeast buttress of Nuptse East, the line named “Moonlight Sonata” by its first ascensionists, Valeri Babanov and Yuri Koshelenko. In addition to Nuptse, we had procured permits for Lobuche East and […]

Hélias crossing a little bergschrund at about 6,100m.