The alpenflo journal is for stories from wild places and lives spent in search of Experience. Tales of skiing, bikepacking, climbing, running, and backpacking the American West and around the world.

mount rainier in a day

Our three headlamps pan the steep snow ramp like searchlights as we work upward in the dark.  The sweep of light reveals a craggy  wall to our left and sun-cupped snow disappearing into the night above. The scrape of our crampons is the only sound in the dead air.  We move slow to conserve energy and allow careful crampon placement, wary of a long fall on the firm snow.

Without warning a rock the size of a softball hums out of the darkness above and slams into my thigh.

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sawtooth high-route

We’re days from the trailhead when we come upon Jim. “You guys see a solo hiker, guy about my age?”

“No, we’ve been off trail the last few days…” Elliot starts before Jim cuts him off.

“With the way his feet were killing him, he couldn’t follow me where I was going. We split four days ago with plans to meet down at the lake on the 10th or 11th. Today’s the 11th and we got a flight to catch”.

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everest base camp fast-and-light

The evening sky darkens and the cold starts to come.  I pull on gloves, take a drink, and shoulder my pack to continue up the wide track of cold dust and protruding stone. Within the hour I come to a village, little more than a few teahouses perched above the frothing churn of the Bhote Koshi River. It’s dusk at 11,000 feet and the wind bites. I need to find shelter soon.

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