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sandy-ridge-mountain-biker

Sandy Ridge was built for mountain bikers by mountain bikers. Photos by Leslie Kehmeier, courtesy of BLM

In the damp, shady forest on the western side of Mount Hood, there’s a magical system of trails so perfect it’s almost like it emerged fully formed out of a mountain biker’s dream.

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jeff-albright

As Jeff Albright demonstrates, SUP is not necessarily a placid sport. GoPro photo by Jeff Albright

On August 20, 2016, if you look out on the Columbia River from Viento State Park, you’re likely to see a dramatic scene — 200 stand up paddleboarders jockeying for position at the starting line of the Columbia Gorge Paddle Challenge.

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ben-mckinley-sisters-oregon

Ben McKinley's climbing partner David Marchi, getting after it.

Editor's Note: Skier, entrepreneur and dedicated Dad Sherpa Ben McKinley has been getting into all sorts of adventures of late. His latest and most ambitious involves three ski summits in one day, in beautiful Central Oregon. He shares lessons learned and an excellent video documenting an intense journey.

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gorge-windsurfing

The Columbia River Gorge has some of the finest windsurfing in the world. Photos by Grant Myrdal

If you spend much time on Mount Hood you've probably run into Grant Myrdal at some point, and chances are pretty good that he's got a photo of you somewhere in his archives. A few years ago Grant expanded his action photography gig into the Columbia River Gorge, largely because so many of his friends and customers who spend their winters shredding Hood also spend their summers shredding the Gorge.

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el-capitan

If the author looks exhausted in the picture, that's because he is.

The night before we left on the trip we sat around the fire pit at my house, drinking beers with my wife and some friends. Sifting through Facebook out of sheer sad habit, I stumbled across a rare gem: An article entitled “Why Girls Love the Dad Bod”. It explained to the uninitiated among us, “The dad bod says ‘I go to the gym occasionally, but I also enjoy drinking heavily on the weekends and eating eight slices of pizza at a time.’” We had a good laugh and I felt vindicated. Though I am a dedicated endurance athlete, my small beer gut persists no matter how lean and strong I get.

It doesn’t take a calculator to add up the cumulative pounds of body fat on all the climbers who have summited Yosemite’s El Capitan. The answer is six. Five of them on me, and the other one divided between everyone else who has climbed in its 57-year history of ascent.

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avalanche-mount-hood

A huge avalanche rips down the north side of Mount Hood. Photo by Walter Burkhardt

If you’ve never seen a large avalanche rip off the top of a highly prominent peak and sweep three thousand vertical feet onto a glacier below, I highly recommend you check one out. Preferably from a safe distance.

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kiteboarder-with-dogs

The Hood River Kiteboarding Scene has exploded over the past decade. Photos by Grant Myrdal

In the wee hours of November 7, 2006, Mother Nature threw a tantrum on Mount Hood.

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zach-carbo

Zach Carbo, super stoked to be flying down Brevent in the Alps.

Editor’s Note: You won’t catch me speed-flying any time soon. But I can certainly see the allure of climbing to the top of a huge mountain, jumping off the top, and flying down into the valley with a pair of skis underfoot just in case you see some fresh snow to hit. That’s what Zach Carbo does, on Mt. Hood, in Alaska, and as of last spring, in the Alps. I sat down with Zach the other day to learn more about his trip to Chamonix, where you can ride a gondola up to 12 and a half thousand feet and fly the high country all day long. I asked Zach to tell me about one of his best flights, and he insisted on two:

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paddle-sandy-river

Paddling the Sandy with your children is easy, safe and fun.

Like a lot of hard-core winter sports enthusiasts, I tend to have a hard time when the snow melts. Especially after an especially fine powder season like 2016-17. It can be painful when that waist-deep snow melts down into slush. Except those H2O molecules you’ve been riding aren’t really gone.

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fumarole-testing

Portland Mountain Rescue volunteers monitor a Mt. Hood fumarole for toxic gases. Photo by Jan-Erik Maas

The peak of the Mt. Hood climbing season is here, and conditions have been stellar. But anyone heading up for the summit this spring should be fully aware of the risks posed by falling rocks and ice, large crowds of fellow climbers, and several ominously positioned fumaroles containing toxic volcanic gases.

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