adventures with Jen Olson

Alpine Climbing

the Burkerts’ crush the Bugaboos

the tippy top

Raring to go

Maija, Ryan and I had a jam packed week of climbing this past August. We spent most of our days in the Bugaboos climbing Bugaboo (Kain route), Pigeon (West ridge), Crescent Towers (Lion’s way), Crescent Spire (McTech arete), and East Post Spire, all based out of the exotic Appleby campground (that I love!)

Near the end of our trip, we escaped some fresh snow, and went to the Rockies to climb exquisite quartzite at the Back of the Lake and on The Grand Sentinel.

Morning Sunrise climbing up the Bugaboo-Snowpatch col looking east

working hard with the mountain boots on – Kain Route, Bugaboo

miles of pristine granite ridges

keepin’ on movin!

Grand Success on the famous Gendarme crux

a perfect day to enjoy the rewards on the summit of Bugaboo

organic snausage and fried eggs for the paleos (thanks for the frying pan Matt and Will!)

the slow start is an essential part of camping at Appleby

the way of the Lion-ess

enroute to Pigeon, the Howers’ greeting us in the early morning

oh how I love the bugs…

Bad Weather weighing on my shoulders while we scamper up Pigeon

a new day on the Crescent Spire

Every day we feel the urge to jump in

then …. common sense kicks in
(ice on the upper lake, whoa!)

Time to head to the Rockies, a pair of happy campers

The Grand Sentinel. Small in a Big Landscape

The route has cracks, roofs, ledges and fantastic ‘grips’, and not a bad view either

about to cruise the crux

the chin/cheek jam gives a nice rest mid-crux ; )

the tippy top

A panoramic end to a full week of climbing. Thanks to Maija and Ryan for all the good climbs!


Climbing in Estes Park with the AAC and Iranian Female Climbers

I appreciate the folks at the American Alpine Club who believe in International Climbing Meets. I have now taken part in a few of these and they are such a great way to connect people from all over the world who love climbing in new magical venues. This past week I visited Estes Park, Colorado to join up with about twenty ladies who all love climbing.
The wonderful and generous host climbers were: Mary Ann, Chris, Tracy, Casey, Melissa, MG, Yasmeen and Kammie. These women were so talented and caring. They cooked, organized, chauffeured, translated, guided and made sure that almost no Iranian wish went unmet!

The host climbers brought some special male guests such as Jason, Chris and Arman to also help out.

Scheming Host climbers: Casey, MA, Chris, Melissa and Tracy. with my lasagnas on the oven  ; )

The Iranian climbers were: Nadia, Mahsa, Shahnaz, Sheima, Farideh, Dena, Parastoo, Shirin, Fatemeh, Afsar, Parvin, Masoumeh and  Farnoosh. These ladies were so motivated and determined to make the most of their trip to the USA.
(In a couple of the following photos their faces are blurred on purpose.)

Before coming to Colorado

In the nick of time

On our first day up in Estes, we stopped along the way, at Jurassic Park. We managed to climb 2 routes, including the super classic, Edge of Time, before the Daily Thunderstorm arrived.

Cruising a stiff 5.9 arcing crack at Hens and Chicks

The next couple days saw us at Lumpy’s ridge. In the following areas: Left Book, the Bookmark and Hens and Chicks Crag. Where we learned to jam cracks from 5.7-5.9 and enjoyed some multi-pitch adventures.

On Fantasy Crack. Everytime you were on slab…. you fantasized about a crack

Everyday we had to beat the thundershowers. They actually were quite enjoyable given the super hot temperatures we were experiencing, but tricky to climb in. I love the bellowing thunder. It was often quite threatening, but way more bark then bite.

The view of the diamond from lumpy’s

On our last day in Estes, a few of us host climbers went climbing, while the others went shopping and did laundry. We went to the magestic Hallet Peak in RMNP.

We approached in the dark, so this photo was taken on the way out…

a pro’s photo of Hallet, we were climbing on the steep mid-right hand side of the face on a popular 5.8++ route called, Culp-Bossier.

sweet morning light

This is an eight pitch route with lots of route-finding and short sections of run-outs between protection. Many fun edges to grab and endless small footholds.

Chris on the first pitch, still warming up

Chris and I were a team, as Tracy and Casey climbed together. Tracy graciously let us go first as it was our first time on the mountain. We actually got to the base of the climb before it got light out (thanks to Tracy for the blind-boulder-hopping route-finding). So we waited a little bit and I started up when I could just turn out my head lamp ; )

Nice pitches in the alpine granito

Great Exposure on this route with amazing views all around

I didn’t climb very fast as I spent a lot of time making sure we were on route and hunting for gear. We topped out around noon and found the east descent gully fairly easily.

Tracy, a very professional climbing guide, topping out on the Culp-Bossier

hobbling out from Emerald Lake

Once again, we beat the thunderstorms. We all had really sore feet from heat and many days of climbing/hiking. The highly groomed trail was a treat at the end of the day.

I hope the Iranian women have a very enjoyable stay in the USA and feel safe travelling and returning home.

I really enjoyed meeting everyone, hosts and Iranians, as well as sampling Estes Park. I especially enjoyed the little bit of Iranian dance we got to witness one evening. Thank You.


The Highest Biggest Baddest Mountain in Canada – Mt. Logan 2012

Kenneth, Juho (JS), Juho (JR), Gery and me

Thanks again to Mammut for enabling this incredible journey to the north of Canada, to climb Canada’s most wintery peak: Mt. Logan via the King’s trench. For more information on the Mammut website about the trip and all the individuals involved, please go here.

3 Finn’s, 1 Austrian and a canuck

We embarked on this journey by meeting in Whitehorse on May 23, 2012 at this fine establishment:

Good eats in the Yukon

Where we continued to ‘overeat’ in hopes of burning a few calories on the glacier. We also, supplied ourselves with lots of fuel and a few last minute groceries – the ‘heavy’ food like cheese, butter and expedition bread.

This evening also marks the change in our daily sleep patterns with the midnight sun keeping our energy high until at least 1 am for most of the rest of the trip.

We enjoyed watching a beaver play in the Yukon river after dinner whilst waiting for the sun to set……… we’re still waiting ; )

The next day we were taken in a 15 passenger van to Kluane Lake (courtesy of Up North Adventures) after registering with Parks Canada and getting a safety briefing on the hazards that are exceptional on Mt. Logan, like avalanches, weak snow bridges over crevasses and cornices.

you will never forget a trip to the North

We did get to know the road between Haines Junction and Kluane Lake a bit, as we ended up waiting a week to fly in due to either high winds or white skies.

a visual treat for us on one of our journeys to Haines Junction

We were very lucky during our first week of waiting because most days – it was obvious that we were not going to fly. This allowed us to explore the local environment. We went biking, hiking, fishing, explored the beach of Kluane Lake and used the sauna.

We had a nice day to hike to the top of Sheep Mountain.
Gery and Kenneth on the ascent.

Gery enjoying a steeper ridge on Sheep Mountain

Yes, we ACTUALLY saw LOTS of Dall Sheep on Sheep Mountain, and lots of new baby sheep too.

The amazing beach of Kluane Lake (just outside the Sauna)
During our entire trip we were able to observe the melting of the winter ice off of the lake.

We heard many different birds, but we really enjoyed watching the ravens hassle this Golden Eagle

We all really enjoyed meeting, Duncan (the cook at the research station), who graciously took us fishing…

and Duncan entertained us occasionally for our evening campfires where we made some amazing burgers, and learned the ‘canadian’ way of roasting marshmallows.

If you could stay up late enough, you could see some amazing sunsets (for hours)

We were psyched to meet our pilot Donjek and (my previous pilot) Andy Williams.

Finally, on June 1, on our second try of the day… Donjek managed to get Gery and I into basecamp on the King’s Trench on the Quintino Sella Glacier at 2750m.

Here is a little footage of our flight just before landing….

the glorious east ridge of logan on the flight in

our new home in the snow

Sooo, Gery and I flew in late on June 1, but JR and JS weren’t able to fly in until early on June 3. Kenneth decided that his time was better spent exploring the wilderness of the Yukon and Alaska before his family came to join him later in the month.

We had a nice progression up to King’s col (Camp 2) where we would carry one day and move camp the next day from Base Camp (2750m) to Camp 1 (3260m) to Camp 2 (4105m).

one of the steeper sections of the trip between camp 1 and camp 2 (king’s col)

We missed most of the teams that had flown in and out before we arrived, but we did get to spend a bit of time with Canada West Mountain school owner, Brian Jones and guides, Rich Prohaska and Tyler before they flew out. As well, we met a team of four, mostly from the Kootenays’, who summited (and got a bit of frostbite). The final team we met was from Alberta, when the four of them flew out, we were the only folks left on the mountain.

the carry to camp 3 (JS)

On about the fifth day of ‘work’, we decided to make a carry to camp 3 (4888m), as the weather was good and the next day was forecast to be ‘bad’. This was a difficult decision for JR, as he wasn’t feeling great, he was lower energy and suspected he might be getting sick. He chose to make the carry, and we moved at a very slow pace, but in hindsight, he probably got more sick due to the extra exertion and altitude.

We finally earned our ‘porridge’ and our rest day at King’s Col.

The mighty King’s Peak gave us hours of entertainment at King’s Col

We awoke the next day with the plan of moving to camp 3, if JR was ok. He wasn’t. He felt worse and his pulse oximeter reading was 65, (down from the 80′s). He didn’t feel well enough to ski down either (a common symptom of the man flue). So with our handy dandy sat phone, we managed to coordinate a rescue from King’s col with Parks Canada. (Thanks to Andrew, the park’s rescue specialist)

Due to the altitude and cloud, JR flew out, but without much of his gear. We decided to retrieve the carry from camp 3. This decision was based on the fact that we felt JR might be very sick and need assistance from JS ASAP.

The trip between King’s col and camp 3 is spectacular due to the seracs and King’s Peak. We enjoyed fresh powder skiing, as well. We did have a ‘visitor’ at camp 3. A solo raven, sampled much of our food. (He visited us again at basecamp at the end of the trip)

The following couple days were spent sitting in camp at King’s Col- waiting for weather. During this time, we found out that our dear friend, JR, was okay.  Thanks to Dr. Jeff Boyd, we had sent him off with the appropriate anti-biotics and he felt much better back at Kluane lake (after visiting the nursing station in Haines Jct.).

good times reading in the tent

Now, we had the tough decision of what to do next. There were many teams prior to us that waited many days to fly in or out of the Quintino Sella Glacier. Based on fear of missing future engagements, the team decided to head back to basecamp and catch the first available opportunity to fly out.

We didn’t have a great weather forecast in our future and we did have a lot of unused fuel, uneaten food, and JR’s extra gear to get off the mountain, as well.

down we go- with WAY too heavy loads : (

Gery and JS worked together to get 3 sleds full down the mountain whilst navigating in the WHITE!

On the way down we heard an avalanche of ice and snow on the King’s Peak side, it was a tough day with heavy loads while Gery lead us with his GPS back down the mountain.

Back at basecamp and time to break out the ‘backcountry oven’ treats like pizza and brownies

We ended up having to wait a few days back in basecamp. During this time, we exhausted our library (somethings were read twice) and Gery and JS enjoyed some ‘extreme’ couloir skiing close to camp.

Gery treated us to a workout facility in which we could work on our pullups.

JS cranking out a set. ‘Extreme’ couloirs in the background of photo. ; )

Finally, less than eight hours, before our flight out of Whitehorse, we were miraculously whisked out of base camp, by Doug (the heli pilot) and back to Kluane Lake at 10pm. We enjoyed a cold beer while swatting at mosquitoes and packing up our stuff.

Our taxi ( Woody’s Limo +1-867-668-1676 ) arrived after midnight to take us to the Whitehorse airport, where we were just in time for our 6 am flight to Calgary on June 16!

We feel so lucky to of had such an adventure in the wilderness of northern Canada.

We especially want to thank Sian and Lance of Kluane Lake and the Icefields Discovery Tours who enabled the best trip possible and were amazing hosts despite it being possibly the WORST weather in 40 years!

Sian waiting to fly in, too!

Lance, being patient and wise : )

Our pilot Doug


The Highest Height in Alberta: Mt. Columbia 3747m

Thanks again to Mammut for facilitating this fantastic adventure.

Image

Gery – our fearless leader

Gery Unterasinger organized us: myself and five strong men from Calgary who call themselves the White Clothed Peaks. We set off in a great weather window to summit the highest peak in Alberta. Mt. Columbia at 3747m.

off to the ‘races’

We started by meeting in Lake Louise at 6:30 am, which got us skiing by 10 am. After competing with the Brewster Ice buses at the Athabasca Glacier.

The graceful wilderness approach to the Athabasca glacier

We were happy to connect with Mark Klassen who showed us a ‘safer’ way to traverse through the three icefalls of the glacier- one of the cruxes of the route.

traversing through the icefalls

The rest of the trip had a lot of flatish glacier slogging. Where you could watch your dog run away ;)  I was grateful when I pulled up and saw the digging of our campsite — which meant I could unload the beast that was on my back.

your dog is in BC

We were blessed with some amazing weather, which made for fantastic cooking conditions and lifestyle photos at dawn and dusk.

oh, the light!

Unfortunately, there was some suffering. Ground meat surface around the feet, elephantitis around the face and one suspicious case of altitude sickness cause some vomitting:

NOT fun

This is an example of me ‘being comfortable’ winter camping in perfectly reasonable temperatures:

anyone have an extra layer or hot beverage?

The greatest rewards from this trip include: being with some quality folks who were giving it their ALL! and the amazing vistas to the west and to the north.

the vastness

I must say that I think the greatest joy of the trip, other than the fragrance of our clothes, was the relief felt when the ‘rental’ boots came off!

oh, please make it stop

I am very proud of these guys for enduring the suffering of rental equipment and naivety, but they survived a very physically challenging adventure and received the rewards of amazing scenery and a job ‘well done’!

sweet as


Aguja Guillaumet Squared

The crux pitch

I am grateful to Saule Zukauskaite, Arunas Kamandulis, and Gediminas Simutis for this fantastic opportunity to climb in Patagonia. Saule, Aras and Gedas proposed this trip to Mammut for the 150 year project and it was selected. Thanks to Mammut for choosing me to accompany this talented team of young climbers.

For more information on Aguja Guillaumet look here.

We climbed the routes: Brenner-Moschioni  350 m 6b and Comesaña-Fonrouge 350 meters 6b+

The view from my window at my posada, Inlandsis, the day of our departure

Buenos Dias and the waning Luna

Gedas, Saule and Aras... ready to giv'er

definitely 6 tons!

Starting the grind...

We started our march to the promised land on December 12th. We ended up camping in the valley at Piedra del Fraile after taking a load up to Piedra Negra. On December 13, we hiked from the valley at ~500m, changed up our loads at Piedra Negra (~1300m) and continued up to Paso Guillaumet where the rock climbing begins, a few pitches of quality rock climbing gets you to the aesthetic crux pitch.

At Piedre Negra, ready for action

The left summit is Guillaumet

The crux pitch on the Brenner-Moschioni

Saule on perfect alpine granite

loving the shadows and the cracks

Rising to the ridgeline

Looking back at the ridge we climbed

Summit Shot ~2579m

We gratefully summited at 8:30pm after ascending a little over 2000m from the valley.

starting the descent with fantastic views

the shadow of the aguja in the valley below

We rappelled the Guillot couloir into fading light.

Finishing the rappels, back to the Paso Guillaumet for a midnight snack

We arrived back at our tents around 3 am. We spend the next day resting, recovering and sheltering ourselves from the heat and the sun. Climbers say they haven’t seen it be so hot here in previous seasons.

On December 14, we decided to head back up Aguja Guillaumet–to minimize our time on the not so frozen snow. Aras, Gedas and Saule did a great job of leading us up the approach on snow, keeping the momentum on the route and up to the Amy couloir.

Crux Pitch of Comesaña-Fonrouge

Fitzroy group shadow on Pollone

a happy guida

Gedas leading the rappels

the last rappel

Racing down to beat the heat

Gratefully back at the trailhead, without our packs on our backs

crammed into the taxi


Team Lithuania in Patagonia

Gedis, Aras and Saule

Today we went for a 5 pitch rock climb. Bolts, around 5.10 or 6a. Very fun outing. A little bit windy– good training for us to get to know each other and get into thinking about alpine climbing.

Gedis on the 1st pitch

in the rhythm

enjoying the views

the wind picks up

our 1st summit - many more to come ; )

to rescue training...

So after a day of getting to know each other and some rescue review… we are off to the mountains. Tomorrow we will hike into Piedre Negra and hope to climb Guillomet and Aguja Pollone in the next couple days….


Classic Chamonix Climbs with fellow Canucks, Joanna and Tom

get your game face on for the Aiguille du Midi arete

the Cherie Couloir on the triangle du tacul... beside the trois mont route on mont blanc

the crux pitch ~ WI 3-4

Joanna cranking out the crux

Tom is happy not to be under Joanna or any other parties for that matter : )

the last pitch of perfect ice and stone

an impressive glacier and valley far below

riding the Helbronner to the Torino hut, a mountain guide's dream of transportation

Bonjourno Dent du Geante and Torino rifugio

"getting dressed" in the morning

Aiguille de Entrevs ridge traverse from right to left

So many great ridge photos!

Joanna coming to grips with her fear of exposed places! WOW! impressive...

great views from the Helbronner

OUT OF THE MONT BLANC MASSIF AND ONTO THE AIGUILLE ROUGE SIDE OF THE VALLEY TO APPRECIATE WHERE WE HAVE BEEN….

its all about the vistas

Traverse of the Crochues follows the ridge from left to right starting at the 'V' notch

a superb ridge traverse

Next stop... Lac Blanc

the popular Lac Blanc, well worth the hike

sit down, relax, eat and drink: croute, omlette, tart, beer, wine and rose!

a tipsy bumble back to the top of the Index lift

a sweet ride down before the evening storm


High Route from Chamonix to Zermatt

prepping for the glaciers

Great trails in all weather conditions

Amazing wildflowers this year

sometimes the bad weather makes for beautiful waterfalls and fog


The Mont Blanc

A photo story of climbing this prolific mountain from the Cosmiques Hut on the traverse of the three summits.

Mont Blanc from Lac des Cheserys

Early Morning Light on the Tacul du Mont Blanc

Weaving through the seracs on the Tacul du Mont Blanc

Perfect conditions despite the storm

the traverse from the tacul to the maudit

the technical cruxes of the route lie on the Mont Maudit

Pitched climbing on the Maudit

Amazing views of the Aiguille du Midi rising above the clouds

Castles in the Sky

SUMMIT! despite challenging winds, late start and adverse conditions ; )

descending the Gouter ridge

On the way down from the Tete Rousse hut in the morning

Walking the tracks when the train is under repair

On a recent trip, we summitted the Tacul du Mont Blanc under adverse conditions:

Walking out of the Aiguille du Midi requires full concentration

winds on the summit ridge

turn the volume down ; )

climbing to the summit of the tacul

a grateful summit without wind

rush hour on the aiguille du midi


Mt. Assiniboine in all its Glory

the mission

Michael and Jen

Barry Blanchard

Kai Larson

from the hind hut

perfect cramponing for the first third : )

Wakey Wakey, the sun is up and its a glorious day

takin a coffee break ; )

where the difficulties begin : )

Kai gettin busy

such a hard life, this mountain godding : )

Nearing the summit ridge

Yea! We made it... half way ; )

the spectacular east face beckons

you're faking it well, Michael ; )

A photo essay of an amazing trip to Mt. Assiniboine September 29, 2010. Unexpected good conditions and travel partners made this ascent serendipitous…..

A big thanks to Michael Penny who brought us up here, and my fellow mountain guide Barry and partner, Kai for blazing the path whilst entertaining us.

A big kudos to Sepp Renner and the lodge staff for all the support, including heli’s!

 


Chris, the Bugaboos and a Grizzly Bear

Chris and I recently went to the Bugaboos and had a great adventure involving lots of fresh snow and a hungry grizzly bear.

starting in the RAIN

It wasn’t too hot or too buggy on our rainy hike up to the Kain Hut : )

a rest before the final leg up to the hut

its not hard to get your pack on the hangar with a meter of snow under your feet

On July 3, we hike up to Eastpost Spire via Appleby campground where there was a meter of snow still! We had about 20cm foot pen in the new fresh snow. Very skiiable.

a wee bit of neige

Summit Photo!

I summitted too!

We decided to make a day of getting back to the car and so we headed over the Brenta-Cobalt Lake Sattelite Spire Col to Cobalt Lake.

Chris said he would of gone for a swim if it was warmer ; )

Then the Grizzly incident. He was not scared of us. There was no bluff charge. He just wanted what he smelled and it was coming from our direction and that was all.

hungry bear

After Chris scared the bear off we got ourselves up and over Black Forest ridge and onto the donkey trail back to the trailhead. Good times.

we hollered for bears all the way back to the trailhead ; )

Thanks for the trip Chris. A Grand Adventure.


Tantalus Range in July 2009

The clouds made for a interesting day, no boring blue sky :  )

The clouds made for a interesting day, no boring blue sky : )

I recently visited the Tantalus Range and the Jim Haberl Hut. What a fantastic place! We climbed Dione and Serratus. We had near perfect conditions and weather, as well as a working BBQ at the hut for a steak dinner.

Dave Thorburn joined me and we thoroughly enjoyed the views, the climbing and the luxury of the Jim Haberl Hut.

Sunrise on Serratus

Sunrise on Serratus
Steep snow Climbing

Steep snow Climbing

Tantalus and Dione in the background

Tantalus and Dione in the background

Jim Haberl Hut

Jim Haberl Hut


Welcome!

Jen hard at work

Jen hard at work

 

Welcome to my new website for advertising guided trips. Soon many cool adventures will be available for the 2009 summer season… stay tuned!


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