WA Pass Lemonade: the Direct East Buttress of SEWS- June 2018

WA Pass Lemonade: the Direct East Buttress of SEWS- June 2018

It started with a deer. Or more accurately, it started with the deer sprinting out into my lane, then trampolining off the hood in series of slow motion loops en route to the ditch. And when the body shop messed up the the timing for parts, the plan to drive out to Washington went up like the steam from the smashed radiator.

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The Road to El Cap - three average climbers set their sights on the big stone

The Road to El Cap - three average climbers set their sights on the big stone

Before two months ago, the only things I really knew about El Cap were: the Dawn Wall was over-publicized, Tommy Caldwell is a god, and anyone who climbed the Nose in a day was insane. Yosemite was a place you went to when you had mastered the routes at your local crag and were bored by the lowly grade of 5.12 trad. I didn’t think of it as attainable for my climbing. I didn’t even think about it as a place I was allowed to go.

I had just gotten back from seven months of backpacking in South America when my two best friends told me they had an outlandish goal: to try to climb El Cap in the fall.

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South Sister, Omak & the Deuter Rise 32+ SL Women's Pack

South Sister, Omak & the Deuter Rise 32+ SL Women's Pack

I took the Deuter Rise 32+ SL on a day ski of South Sister in Central Oregon. The moderate ski, down a 10,358-foot volcano west of Bend, is best right when the Cascade Lakes Highway reopens from its annual winter closure at Mount Bachelor—usually around the end of May. (Unless you have a snowmobile to hit it sooner, lucky duck.) The floodgates opened after the three-day weekend in both 2016 and 2017 (boo), so I was thrilled to get a shot this Memorial Day.

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