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3/13/2013 3:59:54 PM Sometimes I come up with some crazy ideas. I look at topographical maps a minimum of an hour everyday. "Well maybe I could go climb over, down and around these mountains and hopefully I can make it out here". This was one of those ideas and like others Hummel thought I was crazy. I admit there have been a few times that I could tell he was not stoked to go on a trip but this one was comparable to when I persuaded him to do Goode. I've only heard that tone a handful of times So here is a trip that took 3 years of convincing............ The plan Contour the northside of Rainier starting at the Carbon River then ending at White River where a snowmobile (Thanks Boot) would assist us back to the Crystal snowpark. One thing I loved about this tour was that it had minimal traverses, it was set up for and by a snowboarder. Each day we would put it low angle skin tracks on smooth canvases of snow, ride down a big line, then skin up the next mountain. Our team in crime was Ben Starky, Jason Hummel and I and here were are nowhere near snow level. Over the next few hours we wondered through the woods and found ourselves at Tolomie Peak. Sadly someone locked it! :bawl: Since we still hadn't snowboarded much yet we decided to ride all the way down to the Mowich lake road then skin up to the Campgrounds where we slept right next to the lake outlet which gave us access to water. Our home for the next 3 days. A Katabatic tent with only 4 poles and no rain fly. Here is a happy Hummel. It seems the NeoAir is all the rage these days. Imagine waking up to this knowing you are going to have to put it on. It's painful watching the sun slowly rise when you are in the darkness of the valley. After a 30 minute ordeal of putting on frozen snowboard boots we made our way out into the sun which happened to be on Mowich Lake. The first thing you learn skiing in the backcountry is there are no trails, so instead we made our own. It was Jasons first time up to Knapsack Pass and we both agreed "Eagle Ridge to Spray Park is one of the more annoying trails in the park". Silly Telemarkers :huh: From here on it was uninterrupted sunshine for hours on end and a fresh canvas of snow to put a skin track on amazing slopes. Ever wonder what Spray Park looks like in Winter? Look at that skin track No trip to Spray park is complete without checking out Echo Rock. Here Ben is stoked to eat his Pastrami sandwich. Now back to skinning. The view was nice. and the shadow lines were unreal. We felt like Giants until we looked up. Soon enough we made it to our highpoint on the Russell Glacier. and Snowboarded Powder. Over 3000 feet of it! Turns out the Carbon is a rather dark and inhospitable place. We made it up onto Curtis Ridge just as the light show began. and Ben enjoyed his second day ever being on the North side of the park. and rode some pow to a place we found fitting for camp. We thought it couldn't get any colder We were wrong. The next morning we woke to the sunrise and smiled as we looked up at our snowboard tracks. Then it was back to work putting in a clean skin track It was cold under the Willis Wall Hours and hours of breaking trail All for a 4000 foot powder run What looks nicer a tele turn or............ A snowboard turn. Here is Ben enjoying a bit of pow on the Emmons I don't know if I am telling Hummel he is crazy or I really have to take a piss. Soon enough we were near the Toe of the Winthrop and it's time to break trail up Granite Creek. After a few minutes of steep sidehilling we made our way up the creek. and finally broke into the alpine once again. it was time to put in a gorgeous skin track. So that's what we did Occasionally stopping to take in the views. Yes I ski tour in cotton! Don't ask what is going on here. On top of the second Burrough I have seen this view hundreds of times. To see it in the winter had become an obsession. Enough of the sentimental stuff lets get back to snowboarding. Pow riding off the N face of the 2nd burrough to Berkley Park. and back to putting in some skin track art. and enjoyed our last sunset of the trip and rode the east face of the 1st Burrough. We skinned to dusk racing to get to Sunrise before needing to use headlamps. Once arriving we had a wild party on top of the Visitor Center. before calling it a night. Being wild and crazy Ben and I woke up at 4 a.m. the next day and skinned a few miles down the Sunrise road and watched the sunrise from Dege Peak. and rode yet again amazing NE facing powder. Once again this was a peak I had drooled at for over a decade dreaming of getting it in pow conditions. I would stare at it day after day from the summit of Crystal Mountain The peak on the far right side (we also skied the two far ridges in the background) We looked up at our tracks for what felt like hours but was more like a few minutes. Before heading back to Sunrise and waking up sleeping beauty (AKA Mr Hummel). I love when terrain works in your benefit and directly across the parking lot was a chute that went fall line to the White River Campground. Which is still covered in a tad bit of snow. and were saved by "Our hero" Boot!. Hummel being the Badass he is decided to continue the traverse adding in 16 miles of road while Ben and I relaxed on the sled. In total it was 36 miles ,18,000 feet and 4 days. and I am proud to say..... Hummel got worked! As Seth Waterfall said so eloquently "southcentralcascadesrules4life!!! "
11/12/2012 12:36:54 PM Last TR of Rainier last year I swear......... In Early May we had a week of uninterrupted sunshine and wanting to take advantage of it I looked at our endless options for ski descents. I had been spending quite a bit of time doing remote peaks in the North Cascades and decided I wanted to do something big with relatively easy access. I quickly decided while travel far when you have a ski mountaineering Mecca at your doorstep AKA It was time to head back to Rainier. At this point in time I was hitching and wanted to climb Rainier solo for a descent of the Furher Finger so I posted a thread on Turns All Year looking for a one way trip up to Paradise. Within the hour I had a ride dialed and I was off on my way with someone I had never met named Kieth. That afternoon we skinned up to Muir and chatted for hours about life and our love for the mountains before he parted and I prepped for a up and over on the DC route. The next morning I waited until 6:00 A.M. and climbed Rainier at a brisk pace making it to the summit at 9:30. My plan was to descend at noon so I sat on the summit and sun tanned for hours. When the time came around to drop in I made a decision. Since I was alone and for once there would be no photos taken along the way, I would make a full descent of the 11,000 foot run without stopping. Needless to say the next 15 minutes we a total blast and when I arrived at the Nisqually bridge I was attacked by tourist who couldn't belive I snowboarded from the summit. Within 5 minutes of putting my thumb out I was back on the road heading home. While on the road I received a text from H who was interested in climbing Rainier the next day and with a little bit of persuasion we met at my house early the next afternoon for an ascent of the East Success Glacier Couloir and Kautz Headwall. The climb was long but quite enjoyable as we pushed on making it tell around 13,400 feet where the final rockband was a tad bit to sketchy to cross and we turned back but it was a beautiful line none the less. Photo by Amar Andalkar Once getting home my friend Laura was looking for a touring Partner to tour with in the Chinook Pass area and I decided to take advantage of the last bit of sun while I could so we came up with a ski traverse from Cayuse Pass to the Crystal Lakes trailhead tagging some of the more aesthetic lines along the way. Long story short......What A Week! Sadly Kieth died 3 weeks later on a ski descent of the Coleman Glacier Headwall on Mt. Baker :(
11/9/2012 1:35:52 PM Since I'm on the subject of Rainier Traverses..... The Sourdough Traverse June 17th 2012 3 years ago I was attempting to do a traverse in the Sourdough range and I found myself ill prepared for inclement weather. The crux being a long night shivering in a 30 degree down bag while the dirt around me became saturated and turned to mud, long story short hypothermia caused me to abort. Out of all the miserable experiences I have had this this trip was easily in the top three. Knowing all to well that I barely dodged a bullet and I wanted to see what I had learned and if I could do it. Here is a link to the ridiculous trip What is the Sourdough Traverse If you have even been on the summit of Crystal Mountain on a sunny day there is a good chance the Sourdoughs have caught your eyes. Across the valley from 410 lies a small range of ski worthy peaks that I had wanted and planned on riding for years but for one reason or another plans never seemed to pan out. Dege on the left and the Palisades on the right with Fremont in the distance Hoping that the rain shadow and marginal forecast would pan out I arrived at the White River trailhead around 4 p.m. on Saturday. Carefully chosing my gear in preparation for a consistent downpour I hiked up the Glacier Basin trail leaving the bootpack below the 3rd Burrough. After some bushwhacking the twrrain quickly broke into into alpine and with a rather aggressive skin track skinned to the all the way to the summit. From the 3rd Burrough I rode down the north side and skinned over to Skyscraper finding perfectly carvable snow on the north face all the way down to the lower basin. With the sun setting and the rain starting to drizzle I put on a rain shell and skinned SE into a lower basin then climbing directly up the west face of Fremont where I used the trail as a catchline to find the lookout shelter. Climbing steep muddy slopes in the dark rain and made it the lookout at around 10:30.Once I had shelter I switched over to dry layers, made some warm tea and layed in my Bivy bag listening to the roaring wind and feeling the lookout shaking all within the warmth of my sleeping bag, it was quite the surreal experience. Looking down on the Emmons and Curtis Ridge from the 3rd Burrough The next morning I watched the sunrise to the East cast alpenglow over Rainier basking in the rainshadow before finally getting some sleep. I woke up at 8 A.M. and followed the trail down to Frozen Lake where I switched to skiis and traversed all the way to Dege Peak. From here I had to options either I could bail and hike the Sunrise road 7 miles or start the traverse which acorrding to my GPS slide mountain (my exit) was 4 miles, I went for it. Sunrise from the lookout with the Palisade in the middle and Slide Mountain on the upper left. Looking back at Sunrise and Glacier Basin from Dege Peak Deges was a great ski before dropping into the flat basin and skinning directly north passing numerous small lakes and small alpine peaks along the way. With time constraints I decided to focus my attention on the Palisades which held some steep colouirs that I wanted to see check out and possibly ski. I quickly found out they were some of the steeper lines I have seen in MRNP but had melted out at there cruxes. After a few scouting attempts I scurted around the east side and made my way towards Slide Mountain where Boot was waiting at the exit. What I came to see, the Palisades!!!!!! In total the trip was 24 miles and 14,000 feet. While it was great to finally ski these lines I wish I hadn't rushed it so much and took my time.
10/24/2012 9:26:37 AM There were a few reasons that we could not skin up the slope. It was too steep and icy to hold grip with the metal edges and we would consume far too much energy trying to skin when we could just bootpack up it.
10/23/2012 1:42:07 PM From Paradise to Crystal: The Traverse of the Fallen If there is one area that I would call home it would be the Eastern side of MRNP which shares its borders with Crystal Mountain ski resort. For years I had dabbled in trips through these remote regions but had yet to link everything together. I had dreamed up a potential ski traverse that would link the terrain and connect all with a style of ups and downs riding the best lines the area had to offer. I originally named it The Traverse of the Fallen as a filler knowing that I would rename it at a later time but this never happened and it became fitting with all the casualties in the 2012 season. If you have ever been at the Summit of Crystal Mountain Ski resort you have seen 1/3 of our route. Our Stats 24.23 Miles Elevation Gain/Loss 13,886 Our Crew Jason Hummel Kyle Miller Dates Feb 4th-6th The Cascade Crusades version Day 1 Paradise to Whitman Ridge 12 hours after putting on the PNW premiere of the FreeRider film at the Seattle Mountaineers hall we were skinning away from the Paradise parking lot, before long we were off the beaten path and breaking in our own skin track. In one sense it felt like we were retracing steps from a spring mission of an ascent of Little Tahoma from 8 months earlier but this time it was different. Instead of a single push spring day we were in the midst of winter with enough overnight gear to survive comfortably for 4 days. We decided to camp up on the high ridge for both scenery purposes and to take the most advantage of the sunlight at both sunrise and sunse. As the sun sunk below the horizon we bared witness to a light show only nature could create with Rainiers shadow darkening our final destination a mere 20 miles away. Day 2: Whitman Ridge to Governors Ridge That morning we watched the alpenglow light up Rainiers SE face as we consumed food and absorbed the warmth on our cold bodies. This day was going to be the crux of the whole trip and we knew we would have to climb at a fast pace so we cooked the mandatory oatmeal and were on our way. By 9:00 we were making our first big descent of the trip dropping over a huge roller and riding in a landscape that didn't seem earthly. From here on I was familiar with the landscape so we followed the perfect route of working with passes and the contours of the Eastern ridge of Rainier. Before long we were standing on a high plateau known as Banshee peak and celebrating how smoothly the tour had gone so far and the descents we were in store for. I had been in this area numerous times and had noticed an enticing couloir that broke through the massive cliff bands. When designing the tour I made sure to incorporate the line and before long we were dropping to the Sarvant Glacier. My main intention was to make it to and do a winter descent of a 2500 foot Couloir know as the Cowlitz Chimney which we descended and found over a foot of fresh in. By now it was a race against the sunlight and we had two more ridges we had to ascend so we hastily made our way up to Governors Ridge and watched yet again another amazing light show and fell asleep under a full moon. Our line through the Banshee Cirque can be seen on the left side. Day 3: Governors Ridge to Crystal Mountain ski resort Both Jason and I were excited at the prospect of not spending another night in the tent as we descended Governors ridge towards Cayuse Pass from there on out our hope were that it would be smooth sailing. We hoped onto 410 a highway abandoned during the winter then skinned up to the high basin of Yakima peak and for the one and only time in the whole trip we were forced to boot pack. Looking back it was overwhelming seeing all the distance we had traveled and the style in which we had traveled. 2 ridges and 2 snowboard descents later we reached our first sign of other people, a single skin track heading towards the Southern Backcountry of Crystal which quickly merged into numerous tracks. It wasn't long before we were standing on the ridge that bordered the ski resort and the though of warm food was on our minds. I hastily packed my gear and rode into the basin with Jason following, I had plans that he was unaware of. We made it back to the main ski resort at 3:55 conveniently 5 minutes before the resort closed so we hopped on the Forest Queens chairlift and did one final descent back to the base. Where we thumbed our way down to Greenwater, funniest part of all my single pair of shoes were in Tacoma so I had to hitch yet again the next day to retrieve them. The trip was amazing and while called a traverse there is more then enough descents to make it worth wild. If anyone ever gets the chance I highly recommend this tour.
10/22/2012 12:23:38 PM Lets Get the Ball Rolling Throughout this season I intend on keeping one thread alive, focusing on tours, travels and general stoke. It may be a picture or two and it may be a full on trip report from the 2012/2013 season and the occasional one from last season. This way it can all be found on one easy thread and a great way to scroll through the wild and crazy life of someone who ditched the cubicle in search of a life a little bit off the beaten path. So I hope you enjoy. A Rather Brief Introduction I was not one for the mountains originally. My place of refuge was behind a television spending countless hours on the newest on Nintendo games this was my life for years and with a twist of fate and an event that would forever change my life I was introduced/forced into the mountains at the age of 19. A switch seemed to go of in my head and no longer did I have any interest in absorbing the illumination of the screen and now my focus was to embrace the outdoors. From day one I was in love with the mountains and felt a calling that I could never explain. My family had some background of mountaineering in the PNW in the early 1900's but it seemed to skip a generation with my parents, but here I was engulfed in a culture I knew nothing about and leaving both my life and bank account to a thing I call fate otherwise known as a ski bum. The Mountains were my Savior It wasn't long tell I got into ski touring as I always wanted to get off the beaten path but it took years to get into being more isolated tours. To keep myself focused I would create goals for the season. What originally was to ride on the 5 Washington Volcanos became 25 Cascadian Volcanos in the 08/09 season. Once those were done I decided to get intimate with the mountains of legend otherwise known as the North Cascades for 09/10. Those two years really changed who I was and how I thought about the mountains and everything that surrounds me. It was the North Cascades that taught me the meaning of a word sufferfest. Pain, isolation and endless beauty can be found in those valleys and the alpine for anyone willing to endure. I was in love and knew there was no turning back. Here is a brief overview of the those years aptly named "The past two years of my life" and then the sponsorship began That summer I received an email from Eddie Bauer showing interest in having me transition from Dirt Bag ski bum into professional athlete. Many people ask how I got sponsored and got there attention and the answer is from forums like this. Doing unique tours day after day and pushing both my physical and mental limits. The truth of the matter is I owe a lot to online forums such as TGR, Turns-all-year and By the time that sponsorship came around I had already set my goals for the season. I was already intimate with the North Cascades and our beloved Washington state and I wanted to peruse riding The Ten Highest Peaks in Washington, which I loved and feared at the same time. I originally planed for the Months of April-July but a chance encounter with the Sweetgrass Crew would send me to S.A. for June and July. At first I thought there was no way I could do it in two months but I decided to go for it anyways and tick them off one by one. Well it was August when I tackled Rainier but somehow I was able to do it. Not only that but I was fortunate to be involved with two films that season. First Solitaire with Sweetgrass Productions then secondly a documentary called FreeRider which followed me around for that entire season and put my personality on screen. My life had changed radically overnight so here is a brief picture TR of the 10/11 season and the entire FreeRider film for your enjoyment. [tube] [/tube] The list of thanks is endless but but within the ski community I would like to thank Jason Hummel, Scott McAllister, Amar Andalkar, Dan Howell, Scott Stuglemeyer, Hannah Carrigan, Boot, John Cocci, Brennan, Snowslut, Caley George, Will Ritter, Jason Bowes, Kathy and Robert Chrestensen, Chris Willis, Chris Gallardo, The Brit, All my Greenwater Crew, Tiana, Justus and Kalela (AKA team Crystal), Jacob Hase, The Welch kids, Jessie Rowe, the million people who picked my up hitchhiking over two years and everyone else I shared the skin track with Trademark Kyle Miller :wink:
11/19/2011 9:58:33 AM Thanks again. The backpack I was wearing was the Big Tahoma 45 Liter pack by First Ascent/Eddie Bauer but er are coming out with the Alchemist which is in the last photo! That's a great pack!
11/18/2011 5:11:11 PM I haven't tried the Jones boards so I can't say anything other then I hear they are fun boards. As stated above all my adventures are on The money I make off Google ads is a few dollars a month!
11/17/2011 5:53:46 PM I use the Spark Blazes bindings which are well worth the cash. Karakorum looks to have a sweet setup but I haven't used them and can't form a opinion. Thanks for the kind words!
11/15/2011 12:45:57 PM Don't feel bad man I just have way too much time on my hands that I might as well skin for a few hours to get a single line! I I worked all the time it would be a different story!
11/15/2011 10:13:47 AM Thanks Killclimbz if you were out here I would loan out whatever board you wanted. The Chimera was a prototype so its not fair to say this is really a problem it just was with that board. I agree K2 has the potential!
11/15/2011 10:08:36 AM I have not BUT if it is shaped like the Burton Freebird it should be a great board!
11/15/2011 9:48:44 AM Introduction: It's amazing how much has changed within the last two years: from doing anything and everything I could to get a single board, to having the opportunity to test out numerous ones. I wanted to get a feel for the types of boards available and the conditions each one excelled in. I tried to take each board out in all sorts of conditions and I thought I would share my experiences with the rest of you. I was not paid by any company to post this and I tried to keep it as honest as possible. I made sure to keep my reviews objective, so here we go! Atomic Poacher Conditions/days: I was able to get out on the Poacher for a week during mid-March 2011 when conditions were epic powder! For seven straight days, I skinned steep faces and took mini laps down wide-open bowls, steep couloirs, and open trees. Pros: Rides amazingly well; can't beat the price; skins solidly attached to both tips and tails; works with standard bindings at the resort, and it's made of recycled material! Cons: The transition system can be a pain in harsh environments; the heel riser wouldn't stay extended. Overall impression: There is no question this board is a great price, and beyond that, it rides like a dream in both powder and groomer conditions. The one downfall is the patented transition system: when transitioning in deep powder conditions it took a long time to switch over. The crampons are vital and must be taken on every tour. You just can't beat 949.00 for board, bindings, skins and crampons! This board is great for someone just getting into splitboarding and wants a full package! Website: [vimeo][/vimeo] Voile Mojo Conditions/days: Throughout the season I got somewhere between 20 and 30 days on this board, with conditions ranging anywhere from waist-deep blower pow to the high point of the corn season! The board was used in terrain ranging from the mellowest slopes to the sketchiest. Pros: Great board for slackcountry; extremely lightweight; easy board to get used to; cap construction on edges holds firm; quick edge-to-edge transition. Cons: Can be a tad bit grabby; doesn't work with Karakoram clips. Overall impression: This board is great if you have the intent to ride in both the resort and the backcountry. It's super lightweight and is the board of choice when racing up a skin track. I went for over two months without using it, then after two turns I felt I had the board dialed. The Mojo is good choice for someone who is looking to get out in the BC occasionally. Website: Lib Tech T-Rice Conditions/days: This board got around 30 days of use last winter and summer. It was used in both Mt. Rainier and North Cascades National Parks for epic slogs through knee-deep powder, and for prime volcano corn at the end of the season. Pros: C2 rocker is great in powder; Magne-Traction for extra edge hold; artwork is top-notch; transfers from edge to edge easily and holds in steep corn. Cons: The rocker can be a pain during approaches with numerous ups and downs; board takes time to get used to if not familiar with Lib Tech boards. Overall impression: This was my first time on a Lib board, so it took me quite a while to get used to it. Once I got a feel for it, it was insanely fun and felt more like a surfboard! On steep corn snow, it went from edge to edge flawlessly! The only issue was that I couldn't find the sweet spot while skinning on long approaches because of the rocker; if I leaned too far forward or backward on downhill stretches, the board would wash out under me. This board is perfect for anyone who is accustomed to Lib Tech boards and wants a smooth transition...not to mention it could double as artwork on your wall. Website: Venture Storm Conditions/days: I received this board in the beginning of May and took it on some of my longest endeavors. I rode this board in conditions ranging from horrible, bulletproof Bolivian glaciers to three feet of blower in Argentina. This board was exclusively used for filming with Sweetgrass for the Solitaire project. In total I got around 30 days riding the Storm. Pros: Durable; built for any kind of conditions; once dialed, it likes to charge! Cons: Heavy; had a small bit of chatter in icy conditions Overall impression: This thing is a tank and endured numerous slogfests on trips upward of 50 miles in five days, without a single sign of wear and tear! It took a few laps to get used to, but after that it rode like a dream. The Storm is perfect for the rider who likes big lines and is willing to ride in a variety of conditions! Website: Venture Zephyr Conditions/days: This board was used primarily in powder by numerous other people and myself. I got in at least 20 days of open bowls, couloirs, and treed slopes! Pros: Durable; great in powder conditions. Cons: Seemed powder-specific; a tad bit squirrelly in the resort (chopped up snow). Overall impression: This board rode like a champ in powder and was very quick and agile in tight trees. I introduced a friend to splitboarding with this board, and he was blown away that it rode and felt just like a solid board. The Zephyr is perfect for the person who has a quiver and wants something to slay the bottomless conditions. Website: Chimera Mace Conditions/days: This board was a backup as I traveled in South America; in total I got around six days on it. I used this board in two feet of fresh in Argentina (both resort and BC), as well as on steep Cascadian volcanic ice and corn. Pros: Lightweight; great shape; original concept. cons: Potential durability issues (I tested a prototype); softness created "waves" in the skin track. Overall impression: When I first started skinning on this board, I was blown away by how light it was; I felt like there was nothing on my feet! I dig the unique idea of only putting edges on the inside under the feet, and it's cool to see a small company going after it. This board truly felt like a resort board and I started doing nose rolls and butters on it! The only issue was that it was so soft it created dips in the skin track - to the point that my skier friends asked me to stay off the skin track (once again, this was a prototype). This board is a great freeriding charger for someone who wants a resort-style board in the backcountry. Website: K2 Panoramic Conditions/days: This board was tested for about ten days in conditions ranging from wind-blown powder to firm corn. The majority of descents were lower-angled terrain, with the occasional steep section to get my heart pumping! Pros: Strong; lightweight; comes with holes in tips/tails for potential sled use; no chattering on steep icy slopes. Cons: Freestyle-oriented. Overall impression: K2 spent quite a bit of time developing this board, and it shows. With features like the lightweight bamboo core and tip and tail holes, not only can you ride it but you can rig it as a sled in an emergency. K2 has also developed skins specifically for the board, which hook into those same holes. This board is great for someone who wants to bring freestyle to the BC! Website: Feel Free to ask questions and I will try to answer them!
9/28/2011 9:46:30 PM Thanks guys. I am very fortunate to be where I am, it has taken years of blood, sweat and tears. I flew down via American Airlines but I have to say if anyone has the chance to fly Alaska. They lost my bags for two days and told me I could replace it with all new gear. That lake is called Crescent and its in the North side of Mt. Rainier National Park but not on a trail! A little bush whacking can go a long way!
9/28/2011 2:54:37 PM Thanks for the kind words everyone. It seems that this winter is going to be a little more laid back while I try to prepare for my next project which "If it goes through" would be two years from now. I almost got the Ten Peaks project done it two months that would have been crazy! My streak is so long now that I feel guilty considering breaking it. Thanks about the Frequency Article it has one of my all time favorite photos. i envy your life right now. after seeing these photos i feel pretty low about myself Don't get stuck in a rut My life is a perfect example of One foot at a time.

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