SKAGIT ALPINISM

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.

Colfax Peak, Kimchi Suicide Volcano

August 23rd, 2015

This past winter/spring I had a little obsession with Colfax Peak, the prominent sub-summit on the western side of Kulshan.  Ever since simul-soloing the Cosely-Houston route with Roger Strong back in 2007 (a couple nice photos from that climb here) , I knew that Colfax Peak held some of the highest-quality alpine climbing in the Cascades. This past March Sarah Hart and I made an early repeat of the Polish Route, which was a spectacular ice […]

Colin starting up the first pitch of Kimchi Suicide Volcano, with a short section of unprotected M5.

Random climbing history: Prusik Peak and Cerro Chaltén (AKA Fitz Roy)

May 18th, 2015

Recently, while skimming through Fred Beckey’s classic book, “Challenge of the North Cascades,” I was surprised to see the name Guido Magnone. When I first read Beckey’s book, nearly twenty years ago, I surely thought nothing of Magnone’s name, but this time I recognized it immediately. It made me quite curious, I pestered Fred a bit, and with some help from Megan Bond Pauli, learned some local climbing history that I thought was pretty fascinating: […]

The south face of Prusik Peak. Photo by Mark Bunker, the day before we made a winter ascent of the West Ridge. I had just returned from my first trip to Patagonia, in Jan. 2004.

Earthquake in the Langtang Valley

May 14th, 2015

I got on a plane in Vancouver around midday on April 16. I was exhausted. After a four-month season in Patagonia, my six weeks back in North America turned out much less restful than I had imagined. Conditions had been excellent, and I couldn’t keep myself from going out in the mountains a bunch. The downside to my most successful ever season in Patagonia is that I was swamped with requests for photos, requests for […]

Destruction.

Chalten 2014-2015

April 16th, 2015

2014-2015 Chalten Season Because this blog post is so long, I’ve broken it up into chapters: 1) Introduction 2) Torre de la Medialuna and Rescues 3) Tomahawk and Aguja Cuatro Dedos 4) Piergiorgio Attempt 5) La Travesía del Oso Buda 6) Cerro Torre Southeast Ridge Attempt 7) Directa de la Mentira 8) Torre Egger Daytrip 9) Torre Traverse Daytrip Attempt 9) Torrisimo   1) Introduction I’m far behind on updating my blog. Contrary to the […]

Colin starting up the third pitch of Venas Azules.

Colfax Peak and the Heart of Darkness

April 7th, 2015

I’m breaking with chronological order for once – publishing these reports from winter climbing in the Cascades while I still finish writing up a juggernaut of a blog post about my Patagonia season. Colfax Peak Upon getting home from Patagonia on March 1st, I spent a few days jetlagged in Seattle, dealing with the various life chores that accumulate when you’ve left the continent for four months. Normally skiing would’ve been my top priority, since missing […]

John Scurlock's beautiful photo of the northeast side of Slesse. I don't think it's necessary to draw in the route line!

Hunger Games at Cerro San Lorenzo

December 10th, 2014

After years of climbing exclusively in the Chalten Massif, I have finally exposed myself to another location in the Patagonian Andes. I spent most of November underneath Cerro San Lorenzo, Patagonia’s second-highest peak, with my longtime friend Rob Smith. While El Chalten becomes a bit more like Chamonix every year, the rest of the Patagonian Andes maintain a similar climbing experience as twenty years ago, except that now one can get weather information via satellite […]

Aguja Antipasto on the left, showing the line of "Romance Explosion," with the big, unclimbed tower on the right.

Minivan Alpinism in Canada

October 21st, 2014

Despite my best intentions to dedicate myself to becoming a better rock climber, I somehow keep getting distracted by the call of high mountains… This past summer I tried to rock climb in Squamish a fair amount, but found myself returning a few times to the interior ranges of BC – The Canadian Rockies and the Columbia Mountains. For a North American alpine climber, the Canadian Rockies are a great resource, and I think the […]

Colin climbing one last bit of mixed chimney on the northwest face. Photo by Ian Welsted.