One of the highlights of my trip to Norway was teaching over 2 weekends in Rjukan. I met very talented and experienced ice climbers from Scotland and Norway. We all learned a lot and had a blast exploring the frozen waterfalls of the Rjukan area.
I taught a lead climbing clinic to Lisa and Debbie from Scotland the previous weekend. We had perfect conditions and climbs for our objectives.
This was one of my most favorite trips ever. I was so inspired by the women and the local landscapes of Norway. I know I will be back next year.
I was fortunate to climb with Sara and Geoff in the Dolomites this past September. This trip allowed me to experience the magic of these historical mountains in the eastern Alps.
Unfortunately, we timed our trip perfectly with some of the worst weather of the summer. Every day, tough decisions were made, but we made the best of it and managed to climb some rocks!
Our trip started with a three hour traffic jam on a Saturday morning driving over Brenner Pass from Innsbruck. In the future I will try to get an earlier or much later start. We were chomping at the bit, but by the time we found a crag in the late afternoon, we found it seeping from recent rains.
The next day we awoke to rain and we ended up making a long trip to a dry sport climbing cliff, where we got in a really good workout!
We enjoyed the first half of the Vinatzer route on the 3rd Sella Tower and everyone enjoyed the crux pitch up a finger crack and through a roof, even though it was a little bit moist.
Then I made the tough decision to go down, as the weather wasn’t improving, and I was worried about some technical scrambling on the descent in the rain. So we rappelled from there and found our way into the descent gulley.
Getting a bit discouraged with the weather we packed up and headed from Val Gardenia to Cortina. On the way I managed to get a 170 euro speeding ticket for going 11km over the speed limit while trying to pass a dump truck. I was getting passed by locals all the time as I get car sick when I drive fast on windy roads! Nice italian hospitality.
When we got to Falzerego Pass it was raining so we headed up the cable car to the top of Lagazuoi
The tourist book told us to take the cable car up and hike down the tunnels to avoid going against the crowds, but on this rainy day–it wouldn’t of been an issue to hike up the tunnels (which i would of preferred).
ahhh, the relief of getting outside, scoping climbs and ski lines : )
The next day we through our hands up in the air and headed to Venice to escape another day of rain and indecision.
We had a good day out at the Cinqui Torri after this and really enjoyed the route called the NW corner on the Torre Barancio.
I want to thank Sara for being so adventurous and strong and trusting me on this trip. I want to thank Geoff for his patience and care of Sara and ability to be supportive through bad weather and help with the details of guiding. I appreciate them both for all the amazing wine and fantastic food we devoured!
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.
We embarked on this journey by meeting in Whitehorse on May 23, 2012 at this fine establishment:
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.
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.
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.
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.
Here is a little footage of our flight just before landing….
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).
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.
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.
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.).
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.
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.
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.
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!
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 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.
We gratefully summited at 8:30pm after ascending a little over 2000m from the valley.
We rappelled the Guillot couloir into fading light.
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.
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.
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….
OUT OF THE MONT BLANC MASSIF AND ONTO THE AIGUILLE ROUGE SIDE OF THE VALLEY TO APPRECIATE WHERE WE HAVE BEEN….
A photo story of climbing this prolific mountain from the Cosmiques Hut on the traverse of the three summits.
On a recent trip, we summitted the Tacul du Mont Blanc under adverse conditions:
turn the volume down ; )
Welcome to my new website for advertising guided trips. Soon many cool adventures will be available for the 2009 summer season… stay tuned!