Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Mt. Goode and Boston Basin Circuit - 8/20 - 8/26

Guide:  Justin Wood

Climbers:  Ryan Cooper, Mark Peterson

Justin called in at 1:05 today to try and give a dispatch, but he was cut off before he could get much out.  (This will happen periodically as clouds move overhead and satellites move out of position for transmissions.)

Justin, Ryan and Mark are heading out from Cascade Pass and looping around to climb the Northeast Buttress of Mt. Goode.  They are planning to climb tomorrow, then continuing the horseshoe on around to the Buckner - Booker col and then down into Boston Basin, where they plan to climb Sahale Peak, and either Sharkfin Tower or Forbidden Peak.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Bolivia Part 3 - 8/8-11 - Dispatch #14

Guide: Alasdair Turner
Clmbers: Walter and Reis Meanwell (Wisconsin), Neil Rosenberg (Illinois)

Alasdair called at 2:15pm Pacific Time on August 10th with the following dispatch:

We didn't make it back to La Paz tonight.  No, it's not another sickness or disaster.  This place is just so amazingly beautiful that we decided to stay another night.  We are staying in a hotel on the side of a cliff looking out over the coca fields.  We are trying to make up for a the other misfortune we've had to deal with this trip by lounging by the pool.  Tomorrow we'll head back to La Paz to finish up the trip.

Sections of the Corioco Road, described in yesterday's dispatch

View from the town of Corioco

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Bolivia Part 3 - 8/8-11 - Dispatch #13

Guide: Alasdair Turner
Clmbers: Wlater and Reis Meanwell (Wisconsin), Neil Rosenberg (Illinois)

Alasdair called at 1:30pm Pacific Time on August 9th.

The team finished mountain climbing and elected to end their trip with a non-mountaineering bang. Today they rode mountain bikes down the Coroico Road, sometimes referred to as "the most dangerous road in the world."

The Coroico road is actually two roads, one of which is "the most dangerous" and the other which is a normal two-lane road. Few cars now travel on the dangerous side of the canyon and so mountain bikers regularly descend the road from a 16,000-foot summit all the way down to a deep jungle at 7,000-feet. And honestly, on a mountain bike it's not that dangerous. It's little more than a logging road cut into the side of a hill.

Alasdair and team descended the road into the jungle and are now in Parucu. They are going to spend the night in tree-houses amongst the monkeys and parrots before returning to La Paz.

Alps Haute Route Trek - 7/28 - 8/7

Guide: Jeff Reis

Trekkers: Jacob and Leanna

Jeff Reis sent this final dispatch to conclude the ten day trek on 8/8: Trekkers Jacob and Leanna enjoyed spectacular scenery and a variety of flavors of ice cream and chocolates in the Swiss alps last week. 

 We saw awesome glaciers and icefalls, rugged peaks, high alpine lakes on most every day as well as wild ibex and chamois at times. 

 Spending every night in small hotels or mountain huts, we were served delicious meals and mingled with other hikers from all over the world. Most days were physically demanding so we had to load up on sweets and local cuisine daily.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Bolivia Part 2 - 7/28 - 8/6 - Dispatch #12

Guide: Alasdair Turner
Climbers: Walter & Reis Meanwell (Wisconsin), Neil Rosenberg (Illinois)

Alasdair called in at 11:45AM PST on 8/6 with the following dispatch:

We just got back to the hotel from climbing to the summit of Huayna Potosi, but with just one of the group made the summit. We left together, but about halfway up the Meanwells got sick and had to turn around. It looks like they might be getting the crud that everyone else had. So Neal and I took our time getting to the summit. Since I didn't have the chance to acclimatize earlier on with the rest of my group, I had to rely on Diamox to help on the way up, but in the end we got to the summit feeling really well.

 Climbers descending the ridge on Huayna Potosi

One thing we did differently from the other groups is that all the other teams left at 1 am this morning, but we didn't leave until 4 am because I didn't feel there would be any change in the snow conditions. Everyone else turned around due to high winds, but by the time we got up there the winds had died down and the snow conditions were still fine. We definitely did not regret it, and it was a really good summit day. Looking in to the jungles was just a cloud layer as far as the eye can see, all the way out to the ocean. It stretched past Brazil on one side and on the other side is desert. It was pretty stunning.
Neil on the 45 deg. slopes near the summit

We're going to rest in La Paz today and tomorrow, and then head up another mountain, but not sure yet what the next objective is. We'll talk it over within the group and let you know in the next dispatch. Stay tuned!

 Alasdair and Neil on the summit!

Bugaboos Climbing - 7/30 - 8/7 - Dispatch #5

Guide: Andrew Yasso

Climber: John Holden Gibson III

Andrew called at 6:14 pm PST on Aug. 5th with the following dispatch: "This is Andrew calling from the bugaboos. There are light fluffy clouds in the skies but primarily it’s blue skies above us. The sun is setting in behind Bugaboo spire and we just had a fantastic day of rock climbing in this gorgeous alpine environment.

We climbed McTech Arete on Crescent Spire today. A three star climb, Holden did awesome and climbed the whole thing. Superb rock climbing in a fantastic alpine setting! We sat on a ledge for little bit and remenisced about our trip. It’s been an absolute blast.

We are sitting here making dinner tonight using up all the rest of our fresh ingredients. Garlic, onion, potatoes, and some vegetable korma (an Indian dish). This will be our last day here. We’ve got some weather coming in, so we’re going to pack up and head back to Bellingham. Then for our last day we’re going to head up to Squamish and “send the gnar as holden said” (reports Andrew laughing).

We’ll just do some more rock climbing and get in as many pitches as possible. We’ve just been having way too much fun. We got some looks today as we rolled into camp today giggling and laughing. I guess we're just giddy from such superb conditions and climbing. Anyway, we’ll see you all soon.

Bolivia Part 2 - 7/28 - 8/6 - Dispatch #11

Guide: Alasdair Turner

Climbers: Walter & Reis Meanwell (Wisconsin), Neil Rosenberg (Illinois)

Alasdair called at 10:38am PST on Aug. 5th: Hola Senoritas! It’s Alasdair. I’m calling from high camp on Hauyna Potosi. We cruised up here this morning. Things are going great everybody’s feeling good. Amazingly enough I’m actually feeling good now too, it appears I’m over my sickness. Walter, Reis and Neil are the three climbers left on our team who didn’t get completely destroyed by this flu bug.

We are gonna climb tomorrow morning. We’ll probably get up a little later than everybody else up here. Maybe 3 or 4 am. We’ll give you guys a call monday morning call from the summit hopefully. Talk to you later!

Bugaboos Climbing 7/30 - 8/7 - Dispatch #4

Guide: Andrew Yasso

Climber: John Holden Gibson III

Andrew called at 7:23 pm PST on Aug. 4th with the following dispatch: It's Andrew calling as I sit outside the tent right now with a belly full of delicious vegetables, onions, and couscous. I’m looking at the golden light setting on all the granite spires around me. The sun’s behind Bugaboo spire right now but it’s casting a bit of sun on crescent and east coast spires.

We had an awesome day today we climbed Snowpatch Spire to the summit via the Buckingham Route: The Enjoyable Way. That’s actually the name. It was quite enjoyable. We had the route to ourselves all day and we were in the shade which was quite nice. The sun can be brutal up there. But then we were in the sun for the Rappels which was kind of nice cause we had all the climbing out of the way. Man that route really sticks ropes. Hard to not get a rope caught on that one. We actually found a rope on route. I thought maybe it was a fixed rope but it was a full 60 meter rope so we coiled it up and.... (interference and call dropped)

(after a couple tries he got through again)

Tomorrow we’re climbing McTech Arete on Crescent Spire, it’s a 5.10 route, we’re going to push ourselves a little bit. It’s a shorter route but harder climbing and Holden really wants to give it a go. It’s a three star route too, they only go to three stars here so that’s as good as it gets. It should be stellar Bugaboo classic. After that we’re gonna re-assess and see about doing another route or maybe we’ll bail and head to Squamish if the weather deteriorates.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Bugaboos Climbing - 7/30 - 8/7 - Dispatch #3

Guide: Andrew Yasso

Climber: John Holden Gibson III

Andrew called in at 3:45 on 8/3 with the following dispatch:

Yesterday we reviewed rock rescue and crevasse rescue techniques and got dialed in on our glacier travel.  We played hide and seek all that day with the weather.  We had an ever-changing mixture of rain, sun, drizzle, snow, and clouds.  We're glad we picked it as a rest day because we woke up today at 6 am to beautiful, clear skies and knew it was going to be an amazing day.

We got geared up and headed towards Pigeon Spire which is up and over the Bugaboo - Snowpatch Col.  As we approached the glacier, the sun was rising perfectly on time and it was a picturesque view.  The West Ridge of Pigeon Spire is an amazing route and we have tons of photos that we can't wait to share.  The experience and the climbing are both awesome.  There were a few other parties on the route but we never felt crowded.  There was even a group of climbers who were staying at a lodge nearby who were helicoptered in to the base of the ridge, climbed the route and then were helicoptered off the summit.  It was crazy to see, and I imagine it was really fun, but I bet we had a better experience than them overall with the beautiful hike in that we got and the amazing scenery!

On the way down we scoped out a possible route on Snowpatch Spire for tomorrow as we continue on our quest to tick off a route on every peak.  For dinner tonight we are looking forward to some thai peanut noodles in our gourmet "Applebee camp."   That's it for now, we'll talk to you again soon!

Bolivia Part 2 - July 28th - Aug. 6th - Dispatch #10

Guide: Alasdair Turner

Climbers: Walter & Reis Meanwell (Wisconsin), Robert French (Arizona), Neil Rosenberg (Illinois)

Robert is heading home as his condition is not improving. I'm feeling marginal which is an improvement but I'm still experiencing stomach cramps. Simply eating and walking today is a huge improvement.

I'm expecting Neil, Walter and Reis to return to La Paz tomorrow with Juan. We will then get a rest and head in Sunday to climb Huayna Potosi. I will call over the weekend to let you know our plan. I'll call from the summit on Monday if we get there. Things have mellowed out a little bit with the weather so hopefully conditions will shape up well for us as we set our sights on Huayna and Illimani.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Bugaboos Climbing - 7/30 - 8/7 - Dispatch #2

Guide: Andrew Yasso

Climber: John Holden Gibson III

Andrew called at 9:30pm PST with the following dispatch: Yesterday we climbed Crescent tower. The route is called "Ears Between" the direct route in 8 pitches, there are basically two granite donkey ears topping the route and we were able to summit the east ear. The route has a couple really cool airy spots where you have to step out over open air to transfer past a chimney or traverse to the next line, while mostly moderate in grade it was really exciting.
It was a great day the weather report was not great but it ended up being great weather. From the top we had a great view of Howser towers, pigeon spire and some of the other peaks in the area that you can't see from camp.

The descent took us as long the ascent. There was still snow on a lot of the rappel stations so we had to improvise some. We had a beautiful descent on the snow and passed several amazing glacial tarns. They were a stupendous deep blue color that you would never find anywhere else.

My favorite part of every trip is dinner though. Last night we had some excellent white and yellow cheddar Annie's mac and cheese. We added some Hempler's sausage with some salsa and a little carrot (because we care about our health up here!) Basically, I'm teaching Holden how to cook for college up here. No Ramen for us.

We also got a weather breakdown from the climbing ranger. As predicted today has been windy after rain all night last night and a little rain today. So, we're taking a rest day today and work on skills. Then the next four days we have a high pressure system forecast so we plan to hit it hard with full engines tomorrow.

We're going to try and tick off a route on each of the big towers. Pigeon, Snowpatch and Bugaboo. Our other goal is to eat everything we brought in here. Currently we are eating well and are the envy of all those around us. Our giant tent and solar panel and virtual multi-media center are keeping us pretty comfortable around camp.

Holden wants to say thank you to his parents and grandma for giving him this opportunity, and Andrew is likewise grateful for this opportunity to be spending time in such an epic place. It's actually really amazing to see granite in every direction. Surrounded by glaciers and incredible alpine terrain. 

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Bolivia Part 2 - July 28th - Aug. 6th - Dispatch #9

Guide: Alasdair Turner

Climbers: Walter & Reis Meanwell (Wisconsin), Robert French (Arizona), Neil Rosenberg (Illinois)

Alasdair called at 2:20pm PST on August 1st with the following dispatch: Robert and I are back in La Paz to recover from this terrible flu bug. The rest of the group, Walter Reis and Neil left at 4am to climb Pequeno Alpamayo with our second guide, Juan. They will climb a couple more things whatever looks good based on the snowfall we've had and then they will come out on Saturday. We hopefully will head back in to climb Hauyna Potosi, sometime after that. Assuming I'm recovered by then.

Bugaboos Climbing - 7/30 - 8/7 - Dispatch #1

Guide: Andrew Yasso

Climber: John Holden Gibson III

Andrew called at 7am PST on 8/1 with the following dispatch: On Monday we drove up the Trans-Canada highway which has to be one of the most beautiful. The highway parallels a river for a few hundred miles. It took us 10 hours to get to the Bugaboos trailhead from Bellingham. We had a luxurious sleep in the back of my truck. Tuesday morning, after wrapping my truck in chicken wire to protect the wires and brake lines from porcupines and critters that like to chew on them, we started with our plan to carry two loads in. We hiked in the gear first then came back and hiked in the food. We hiked in once and stopped in at the Conrad Kain hut and checked in with the area custodian. It’s about 3.5 miles to camp so it was a strenuous 10.5 mile day. We got our second load and then litterally got into our camp about 15 seconds after the rain started. Since we’re basically base camping for the next week we decided to plan on being comfortable so we have have a nice big Hilleberg tent that’s the envy of all the other climbers walking by.

We spared little on the food end too. Last night we made an awesome dinner; burritos with fresh avocado, salsa, and cheese. Last night it was an exciting night of wind, rain, and thunder. Today we are going to attempt crescent spire. It’s one of smaller peaks near camp. It’s still around 700 - 800 feet but it’s about 30 minutes from camp. So, with the potential for afternoon showers again staying close to camp on a route that’s more readily retreated is optimal.