Paul Pottinger’s Adventures from the Top of the World

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Expedition Archives: Cascades


Mailbox with Matthew

April 6, 2018

Mailbox is my usual training climb. I have not been up it in months, however, due to work. I was stunned to realize that a trough of high pressure air was likely to protect the mid-Cascade range from precipitation on Friday… when my son was on spring break. We had a chance to get up … Continue reading Mailbox with Matthew


Forbidden Peak via North Ridge Day 1

September 3, 2018

On January 17, at 6:32 AM, I received this text from my buddy Ann: “Paul – JM and I had a good dinner and talked about some fun climbs in the PNW next summer, namely the north or east ridge of forbidden – Justin I forget which one. Anyhow would you be able to join? … Continue reading Forbidden Peak via North Ridge Day 1


Forbidden Peak via North Ridge Day 2

September 4, 2018

Temperatures dropped overnight, but I stayed toasty in my merino layer and Feathered Friends Nano Swallow bag. The BD Light Saber bivvy bag made for posh accommodations. The wind shifted from Westerly to Easterly, perhaps driven by katabatic effect from the Quien Sabe, but it was gentle. And we got hit with smoke, which had … Continue reading Forbidden Peak via North Ridge Day 2


Forbidden Peak via North Ridge Day 3

September 5, 2018

The day’s climb, condensed to 13 minutes. My favorite segments are at 3:44, 5:00, and 9:42. For those who want to see all the footage I shot that day, about 2 hours of our 14 hour day, here it is. Language cleaned up, otherwise raw footage: Here’s the blog. I slept well on the bivvy … Continue reading Forbidden Peak via North Ridge Day 3


Wy’East (Mt Hood)

April 20, 2019

The plan: Climb Mt Hood via the standard route, south side. The crew: Teresa, Marjorie, and me. The timing: A weekend in April… Because of work, I really wanted to climb Saturday, getting home Sunday to be ready for work the next day. The issue: Weather was rotten on Saturday night. 2 inches of snow … Continue reading Wy’East (Mt Hood)


Tahoma via Kautz Ice Chute: Day 1

June 9, 2019

Tahoma (AKA Mt. Rainier) is one of my favorite mountains…  I am fortunate to be 4 for 5 up there, twice on the Emmons and thrice on the DC, most recently as a team leader in July 2017. It is a sacred place for me, actually, and always provides that unique combination of challenge and … Continue reading Tahoma via Kautz Ice Chute: Day 1


Tahoma via Kautz Ice Chute: Day 2

June 10, 2019

Here is a video summary of the day’s climb. This version without soundtrack, so you can hear the snow and the wind, and our chatter…. This version with the soundtrack that hummed in my mind during the ascent… I slept fine that night. For the most part. An odd feature of being guided is that … Continue reading Tahoma via Kautz Ice Chute: Day 2


Tahoma via Kautz Ice Chute: Day 3

June 11, 2019

That night I tossed in the sleeping bag, made a bit of urine, dreamed of the route, adjusted my layers when chilled… I slept in total for a few hours. Another party passed by quietly circa 12:30 AM, but otherwise there were no surprises that night, except for the tent getting buffeted by gusts of … Continue reading Tahoma via Kautz Ice Chute: Day 3



August 30, 2019

In Puyallup mythology, Loowit (AKA Mt St Helens) was the object of affection from two god-brothers: Wy’East (AKA Mt Hood) and Klickitat  (AKA Mt Adams). When they could not stop their quarrels, their father Sahale struck them all down, and they formed into the volcanoes we see today. In Cowlitz mythology, things are different: Tahoma … Continue reading Loowit


Kaleetan Peak

September 7, 2019

It has been a great summer for my mountain pursuits. So far I have been fortunate to bag a number of training climbs, plus Wy’East… Tahoma… Olympus… Loowit… backpacking in the Alpine Lakes…. What more could I ask for? Kaleetan, that’s what. Tom proposed a group outing to the North Cascades, but only I was … Continue reading Kaleetan Peak


Bootalicious (aka AlderSex)

November 10, 2019

Our agenda was simple: Train for the upcoming Ecuador expedition. Someplace close to home. Someplace quiet. Someplace challenging. Someplace not overrun with hipster d-bags. This may sound like a tall order, but we have a secret weapon: Teresa, Queen of Logistics… Soothsayer of Occult Terrain… Keeper of Secret Routes. And thus, the genesis of our … Continue reading Bootalicious (aka AlderSex)


Challenger 2020: Day 1

August 3, 2020

Our Plan: For our annual PNW trip, Justin, Ann, and I would Climb Challenger via Big Beaver. I had tried twice from the Hannigan side, and had been skunked by the weather both times. My buddies John and Tom had actually tried THREE times and had not made it.  We swore that we would never … Continue reading Challenger 2020: Day 1


Challenger 2020: Day 2

August 4, 2020

Video digest of the day’s travel:   We were all tired, and it was soooo tempting to sleep in that morning, but there was much ground to cover (none of which was on trail), and the slope would get hot early when hit by the AM sun… we resolved to start walking by 7 AM. … Continue reading Challenger 2020: Day 2


Challenger 2020: Day 3

August 5, 2020

I slept fine… Not well,  but fine. Creepy nightmares stalked me, as often happens on summit morning, no doubt a sign of deep stress and anxiety working its way through my system. The upper mountain would go, but how much would it hurt getting there and back? Would I have the stamina to make it … Continue reading Challenger 2020: Day 3