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Mt. Whitney Mountaineer's Route

We camped at Whitney Portal on 5/17/13 and started up the North Fork of Lone Pine Creek around 5:45am. We made it across the Ebersbacher Ledges, past Lower and Upper Boy Scout Lake, reaching Iceberg Lake around midday. We watched a roped party descend the notch, laced up our crampons, and started the climb. Slushy snow, dangerous rock fall, and the first signs of altitude sickness slowed our party down. After talking to the last descending group, we decided that the safest option would be to summit and descend via the standard Mount Whitney Trail. We reached the top of the couloir, took in the view from the notch, and began the traverse across a steep snowfield around the north side of the mountain. After a unplanned self-arrest we abandoned the traverse and climbed a third-class ridge to gain a clear view of the summit hut. We made it to the top and connected with the main trail just south of the summit. A short hike later we enjoyed some cold, slightly stale, but delicious cheeseburgers at the highest point in the lower 48, 12 hours after we set out. After a few bites it was sadly clear we needed to start down. The sun was setting and the main trail was starting to ice over, so we had to endure eleven miles of relentless switchbacks by headlamp. We reached the parking lot around 2am, for a round-trip total of 20 hours. We slept for a few hours in our cars then headed back to Lone Pine, for hard-earned elk burgers at the Mount Whitney Restaurant, which rightly claims the best burgers in town! 

Mt. Whitney from the Eastern Sierra Interagency Visitor Center

True story.

Fire Tower Hill -- Minnesota


I’m no longer disappointed my first solo summit was an easy one. This means my next one will be even better! My drive looks relatively flat, and I think to myself, “Well, it will be easy to find this next summit!” HA! My initial route brings me to a dead end that says “No Trespassing” Hmm….I guess I could be a rebel and break the law, or I could turn around and forget about the second summit planned for the day. I look at my lone remaining burger sitting in the seat next to me and am determined to enjoy it at Fire Tower Hill. Being the law-abiding citizen that I am, I decide on finding an alternate route. Over the river and through the woods to Fire Tower Hill I go! A few moments later I have arrived at my coordinates. Sadly, I realize this summit requires no hiking, but I do manage to find a glimpse of a snow covered lake through the trees. I take a moment to look up and see how beautiful they sky looks today; perfectly blue and filled with sunshine. I end this adventure with a full stomach and the satisfaction of completing my first solo summits. 


Successful Summit Day..

Hickory Hill; Hooray for my first solo summit!

I had been feeling the need for an adventure, but I wasn’t sure what that adventure should be. I was planning a drive across the state of Minnesota to see family, and researched available summits along my route. I had done a few summit cheeseburgers before, but this week my accomplice was unavailable; did I dare attempt a summit alone?! Heck yes!

It’s just me, the open road, and 2 cheeseburgers riding shotgun. The anticipation of my first solo summit is killing me. I daydream on my way to my first summit--picturing myself climbing up the hills in knee depth snow, huffing and puffing, and then being rewarded with a great view of one of Minnesota’s 10,000 lakes and eating a tasty cheeseburger. My daydream is interrupted when my GPS then tells me I have arrived at my intended latitude and longitude, Hickory Hill. I look around….Hmm…this doesn’t seem right, I have barely gone up hill. I continue my drive only to find I am coasting downhill. Odd. I go back up the hill, talk to a couple nice gentlemen in their yard, and briefly explain my endeavor. I promise them I’m not crazy to which they reply with a chuckle “not completely crazy anyway.” They assure me I am at the peak of Hickory Hill. I’m disappointed there was no hiking and a minimal view, but I am thrilled my first summit was a success.  (Insert a really big smile here)

Crescent Hill - Louisville, KY

So while on a business trip for a few days just outside of Louisville, KY, I thought I'd pass some time and take care of a summit while in town. I chose this one since it was the closest, and the other ones I was looking at were a bit too far away for the time I had. And there's a reason they don't call it Crescent Mountain or Crescent Peak. As you'll see, the name "Hill" fits it quite nicely.

I decided to follow in amateurhour's recent footsteps and take care of an urban summit where the only thing you needed to do was:

1: Go to Wendy's or your favorite local burger joint.

2: Drive to location.

3: Get out of car

4: Eat, take pictures.

This was my first solo summit (and easiest!), but hopefully we will take care of a few more this summer so I can climb the ranks.

One final thing... While in Louisville, I thought I'd take some liberties and enjoy a burger at this famous landmark (even though it's not a "Summit")

Yup we did it--four in one day

Vista Mound--Part 4 of 4

It was only a short walk down from Ensign Peak to Vista Mound, but somehow Boo-burger got temporarily lost.  She wanted to head back up to a higher peak.  But when she realized that there was another cheeseburger to be had, she was way into going for the lower peak.

Nice photo Groundround.  Looking over the big city of Salt Lake.

Boo-burger gets hers.


Ensign Peak--Part 3 of 4

We took the roundabout route to get to this one and ended up bushwacking straight up the side of the mountain.  Probably sort of like Brigham Young, leader of the Mormon church, did back in the mid 1800's when he decided that "this is the place". 

Apparently he and his cronies climbed up here to get a view of the valley and make decisions on city planning.  They probably had a similar view to what we are seeing today.

Third cheeseburger of the morning--getting full.

Lime Benchmark--Part 2 of 4

On to the second cheeseburger summit of the morning.  Looks like it's another peak loaded with cell towers and other man-made steel structures.

But beautiful snow-capped peaks and the Great Salt Lake in the background.


The doggies are waiting for their yummy cheeseburgers.  Thanks Groundround.

Mt. St. Helens

On 5/4/13 we set out with over 350 other permit-carrying climbers on one of the last days of the season you can climb Mt. St. Helens before quotas are enforced. We were blessed with bluebird skies, temperatures in the 70s at the base, thick slushy snow all the way to the summit, and mostly perfect weather aside from a few strong gusts. After reaching the top of the Worm Flows route and taking in the incredible views of Rainier, Adams, and Hood behind us, we traversed to the west towards what the GPS calculated to be the true summit (8,365'). Nasty cornices and deep untouched powder kept us from reaching the exact point, but we were well beyond the crowds and able to enjoy some delicious Burgerville burgers in solitude. After making our way back to the regular descent paths we took advantage of the many butts that had come before us that day and had carved out some 4000' glissade trails down to the base. We made it back to the parking lot after about 8 hours, where tank-topped tail-gaiters had beers and more cheeseburgers waiting. 


Mt. St. Helens cheeseburgers provided by Burgerville


Mt. St. Helens' first recorded cheeseburger ascent!

1 day, 4 women, 5 doggies, 4 cheeseburgersummits, a lot of burgers

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City Creek Benchmark—part 1 of 4

Groundround says we can do three, maybe four cheeseburger summits in half a day or less.  And she'll make the cheeseburgers.  So gather the troops including dogs, stay up all night preparing mini-garlic burgers, and set off on a Sunday morning from far above Utah's Capitol Building.

It was a beautiful day for a hike, partly cloudy, snow all melted, a few flowers blooming; incredible views of the Salt Lake Valley, Great Salt Lake, Antelope Island, and the Wasatch Mountains.

Start off with the highest peak of the day.  The directions said to head for the peak with the cell towers.  Interestingly, there were several peaks around here with lots of cell towers; the peak must be the highest one.  Yup.

Nice view from the top


Mount Theodore Roosevelt, Lawrence County, South Dakota

After a strenuous multi-mile drive and an imposing walk of hundreds of feet we climbed the thirty-one foot summit "Friendship Tower" with ten cheeseburgers and a backpack full of beer.  Celebrating our buddy Adam's bachelorhood before he marries this summer made for a great opportunity to explore some of the "mountain" tops of the beautiful Black Hills in South Dakota.  

Derrick, Jerry, Nick, Adam, Jason, Matt, Mike (wotboy), Jon, Ben, Jason, Steve, and Sam (samh)