adventures with Jen Olson

Climbing Adventures in North America

Girls day out on Kitty Hawk

Claire and Sonja in front of Kitty Hawk

I am super grateful to Sarah Hueniken for a terrific day out ice climbing guiding on one of her phenomenal weekends for chicks. I got to climb with Sonja and Claire on an ultra-classic Canadian Rockies ice climb called Kitty Hawk.

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me enjoying a relaxed day out!

I thoroughly enjoyed the company of two skilled ice climbing women who I find interesting to chat to about their successful careers. We had low avalanche hazard, reasonable temperatures, just enough clouds, a well packed trail, lots of hooks and no other traffic. WOW! beat that. ; )

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The first belay at the base of the steep climbing. A well-protected alcove.

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Claire finishing the first steep pitch

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Sonja enjoying herself on one of her ‘dream climbs’

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me starting up the crux pitch looking down on the girls at the belay. the unicorn climb in the background

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the crux pitch

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yay, we crushed it! : )

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So beautiful : )

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the Burkerts’ crush the Bugaboos

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


Chicks with Picks in Ouray, Colorado

never enough jackets ; )

Nice form Beth!

Ya Maiija, rockin it

Diane showing us how its done : )

Kim and Angela are VIC's (very important chicks)another challenge

Good times


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!