Our guide Pablo sent the photo below of Seba, Helmut and Pablo on the summit of Cotopaxi. Great job guys!
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Expedition Dispatches From Around The Globe!
Posts for every team can be found under the drop-down menus at the right of this page. We have organized our expeditions into Denali, International and Mount Everest categories, with further organization by their Team Meeting Date. We try to post from each team on each day, but this is not always possible, due to communication challenges in mountainous regions, so keep in mind that “No News Is Good News!”
Click on the audio dispatch icons to hear phone calls from our climbers and guides, so that you can better enjoy the experience through their words, not ours. Click on a post’s title to open it in its own window to leave a comment for your favorite climber. Above all, have fun and dream big!
Jacob just called to let everyone know that the team is back at camp, settling in for the night. Sounds like they are going to have some hot drinks and a bite to eat, then hit the sack. The plan is to head back to base camp tomorrow, and hopefully fly to Union Glacier tomorrow evening.
Again, congratulations, team!
The team is on the summit! Congratulations to Chris, Tashi, and Nungshi for reaching the summit of Mount Vinson. Jacob reports that it’s a beautiful day—-clear and calm—-and the the team is enjoying beautiful views. Great work, team!
Here’s Jacob, Chris, Tashi & Nungshi:
Guide Jacob Schmitz just called to report that the team is making good time and moving well, and they are approximately 3 hours from the summit. They are enjoying great weather conditions, it’s a clear day with only a slight breeze, and it sounds like the views are fantastic. Jacob plans to check in again, later this afternoon.
The team is back at the trail head, safe and sound, after an early morning summit of Cotopaxi. Sounds like the climbers worked up an appetite on the descent, and they are headed to lunch!
Today is an auspicious day for our Ecuador team. Helmut Linzbichler is being awarded the lifetime honorary title of “Professor” back home in Austria, and award being presented to him by the President of his country. Helmut is unable to accept the award in person, however, as he is standing on the top of Cotopaxi, an iconic 19,348′ (5897m) volcano, with a stunning, steaming crater at the summit!
Congratulations to the team! It sounds like you had a great day of climbing and we look forward to sharing some photos from the day, when you get back to Quito.
Here’s Seba, calling from the summit:
The team had a good night last night and awoke to clear skies. Everyone is feeling great, so they packed up and are headed to the summit of Antarctica!!!
Our second Mount Vinson expedition of the season is assembling in Punta Arenas, Chile, finalizing their preparations for an attempt to climb the highest peak in Antarctica.
Lloyd Hudson is joining us from South Africa.
Atanas Skatov is joining us from Bulgaria.
Jacob Schmitz will meet the climbers at the Union Glacier airstrip and lead them up Mount Vinson. Our good friend Dan Elsberg met both climbers at the airport and will help them with the logistics of the days until they board the flight to the Ice.
The climbers will spend the next couple of days enjoying Punta Arenas and attending some meetings that are required of all climbers flying to Antarctica. Their flight south is scheduled for the morning of December 18th and we will keep everyone updated as their expedition unfolds.
Best of luck to the climbers and welcome to Punta Arenas!
Tashi Malik called in from high camp on Mount Vinson!
The team climbed up over 2,000′ of pretty steep terrain in order to get themselves established at high camp. Everyone did well and they moved up in good time. The day was relatively temperate by Antarctic standards, with temperatures just below freezing, but it still felt pretty cold to anyone not accustomed to being surrounded by snow and ice!
The weather was beautiful today, and as the team climbed higher, they were treated to ever expanding views. Once they climbed above the neighboring peaks, they could see a virtual sea of ice stretching white, off to the blue convergence with the sky at the horizon. What a treat!!
Here is Tashi:
Jacob called to let us know that the team couldn’t move up the route to high camp today, as the upper mountain was buffeted by high winds. The team enjoyed a relatively warm day in the sun, but they could see the wind howling up above. A couple of climbers did push up and radioed down that it was wholly unpleasant up at the next camp.
Everyone is in great spirits, and took advantage of the day to eat, hydrate and pare down their kits in preparation for the big day moving up to high camp. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that the winds slacken a bit so they can move up to a room with a new view tomorrow.
Here is Nungshi Malik, calling in from the Branscomb Glacier, in Antarctica:
Sebastian called, and speaking with a raspy voice, related the long night of climbing on Chimborazo. The team has been bothered by stomach and respiratory challenges, but yesterday evening looked clear, so they went to bed early in order to head out for the summit before midnight.
En route, two of the team were feeling very affected by some bugs that had been acquired in the previous days, and turned back. Sebastian and David continued on a rope, with Matt and an Ecuadorian guide friend of ours, Santiago, on another rope. David and Seba climbed to withing 30 minutes of the summit, before turning back, so as to not descend through a zone that becomes increasingly hazardous as the day warms up.
Matt and Santiago continued to the summit of Chimborazo, and enjoyed a clear view of the surrounding Andes!
Everyone descended to the Whymper Hut without incident and they were about to walk the short distance down to their awaiting van. Tonight, the team will stay in Quito and some of the team will fly back home. Helmut, Seba and Pablo are planning to head down to Cotopaxi on Monday, but we’ll see how Helmut’s cough is doing before making that decision.
Great job everyone!
The team spent the day at Low Camp, reviewing some skills that they’ll need to employ as they head high tomorrow, and letting their bodies acclimatize to the thinning air of over 3000 meters.
Tomorrow will be a big day, and the team will climb over 2000 feet up the steepest terrain of the route. Much of the route is “fixed,” meaning they will clip themselves into rope that is affixed to anchor points on the slope, providing the climbers security in the event of a fall on the steep terrain.
The team is at the Whymper Hut on the flank of Chimborazo. The weather is clear and they are excited to attempt the summit tonight!
Here is Seba, calling in from the hut:
At 20,564′ (6268m), Chimborazo was long thought to be the highest peak on the planet. The summit is actually the farthest point you can get from the center of the earth, due to the earth being somewhat … thick around the middle.
The team will select a rout tot he top based on what conditions look like this afternoon and evening. There are a couple of options, but in general, most teams climb up a trail through some scree fields and under the remnant of a dying glacier. Switchbacking up some steeper slopes lead them to the long glaciated slope that forms the left skyline of the peak in the photo below. After gaining the glaciated shoulder, it’s just 1000 meters of 35 degree snow and ice to the summit! (translation- ONE BIG DAY!).
Let’s hope that the weather cooperates and that the team has a clear, beautiful day to climb to the summit!
The team wasted no time to move up glacier and set up camp at what is known as “Low Camp.” They hiked up the Branscomb Glacier and set up their tents at just about 10,000′ (3050m) below the steep slope that will take them to their next camp on Mount Vinson. They had a clear day, with views of some of the neighboring peaks.
Chris Jentz called in the report tonight with the good news that the team was able to take advantage of a break in the weather, and they are now at Vinson Base Camp. They arrived at Base Camp quite early this morning, spent about an hour setting up camp, and then got some shut eye. The plan is to have a big breakfast, pack up and move to Camp 1 today.
Chris gives a nice shout out to his family back home. Here’s Chris:
The December 4th Vinson team is holding steady at Union Glacier Camp. Low clouds and a forecast of snow have prevented our air services provider from flying the team to Vinson Base Camp. The team is using their time at Union Glacier to learn more about Emperor Penguins, and they plan to go ice climbing this afternoon. Sounds fun! Fingers crossed for some better weather.
Team Ecuador began their summit attempt at 10:30 last night, making their way in the darkness up Volcan Cayambe. The team climbed through the night, and got very close to the summit, but the weather was fierce with windy conditions and snow and they made the decision to turn back. They are currently resting and drinking tea at the Bergé-Ruales-Oleas Refuge.
Seba called in to report that the team is resting at the Bergé-Ruales-Oleas Refuge (4.600 m/15,092 ft), on the western flanks of Volcan Cayambe, before they start their summit attempt of Cayambe. The plan is for the team to wake up and get going at 10 PM tonight. It’s snowing, so they will be monitoring the weather closely. Good luck, team!
The team called in from their camp on the Union Glacier where they landed yesterday after flying in from Chile. They are waiting now to fly to the Vinson Base Camp and will be on the ski planes as soon as the clouds lift.
Here’s the call from the team in Antarctica.