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U.S. rock climbers and their non-profit and corporate allies are setting themselves a difficult challenge this week—persuading Congress to act to protect public lands.

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Brent McGregor

By Megan Hill

Eddy Cartaya and Brent McGregor have unearthed what might as well be another planet. It exists in the backyard of 6 million people, in areas frequented by scores of national park tourists each year.

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Blanca Peak from Ellingwood Point. SummitPost

By Ryan Dunfee

The 14,351-foot summit of Colorado's Blanca Peak erupts 7,000 vertical feet from the pancake-flat San Luis Valley to its west and gains its incredible altitude in just six miles. From any vantage point north, west or south, the peak and the surrounding Sierra Blanca Massif groan improbably upward from the sagebrush plains. The contrast is striking. You can watch the seasons change just by following Blanca's ridges skyward until you see the high alpine blanketed with snow, which comes early in fall and stays late into summer.

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