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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!

New Audio Recording

By: Mountain Trip

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Spring 2015 Carstensz Team is On the Move

By: Mountain Trip

The lure of the most elusive of the Seven Summits is strong, and despite the numerous unpredictable challenges of attempting to climb Carstensz Pyramid, Mountain Trip is back in Indonesia for our 14th expedition up the mountain.  Michael Theologos and Oliver Wolff have joined our lead guide Scott Woolums on his attempted eigth summit of the peak.

The team arrived in Bali over the past couple of days and are now en route to the norther side of Paupa.  Air travel in a country comprised of thousands of islands can involve many connections, and the team is facing a rough itinerary of numerous flight legs in order to arrive in time to meet with our helicopter pilot.

We’ll keep you posted as the team makes its way across Indonesia and through the world’s largest virgin rainforest towards their objective.

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Everest 2015 – Acclimatization hike to 19,000 feet

By: Mountain Trip

Jacob called in from Camp 1 on Pumori, a stunning 7000m peak next to Everest.  They hiked up to 19,000′ to help their bodies adjust to the thin air they will encounter when they begin their ascent of Mount Everest.

The team is doing great and enjoyed a beautiful day with views of a lifetime of incredible peaks.  Our Sherpa team carried loads of supplies up to Camp 1 on Everest to support Scott and Jacob when they head high.

Here’s Jacob:

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Everest 2015 – Packing for the Upper Mountain

By: Mountain Trip

Our Sherpa friends are preparing to head up to the upper camps!  The depth and breadth of the logistics necessary for orchestrating an Everest ascent are pretty huge.  It’s like a symphony with many instruments that all need to be in concert if you’re going to actually make a memorable tune.  Our Sherpa team are maestros and today they packed up some food and supplies to make a run up to Camps 3 and 4 in the coming days.

everest 2015

Scott looking over some of the food that will head up to Camps 3 and 4 in the coming days.

Posted in 2015 Everest Expedition, Everest, International | Tagged | 1 Comment

Everest 2015 – Update from Base Camp

By: Mountain Trip

Hello from 17,600 feet!

Scott and I arrived at the Mountain Trip Mount Everest Base Camp on the 14th of April after hiking up the Khumbu for nine days. We stayed in Namche Bazaar, Dingboche and Lukla for two nights each, taking advantage of doing some fun “casual” day hikes.  This not only helps with acclimatizing, but they enabled us to get amazing views of some of the Himalaya giants including Everest, Makalu and Cho Oyu, as well as many other beautiful rugged peaks and hanging glaciers.
We had great weather until we reached Lobuche, where we woke up to a foot of new snow on a few inches of old rotten crud that is always fun to walk on..!  Since then, we’ve had light snow showers and a bit of wind in the afternoons. When the sun comes out in the morning, the snow quickly melts only to be replaced by fresh snow in the evening.

The snow has slowed the progress of rope and ladder fixing in the icefall and above Camp One.
Today the 18th of April is the one year anniversary of the tragic avalanche in the Khumbu Icefall that took 16 Sherpa lives, something about which we are all very conscious and respectful. Trying to avoid a similar accident, the Khumbu Ice Doctors (the Sherpas that maintain the fixed lines and ladders through the icefall) made a route on the right side of the icefall trying to avoid the seracs on the lower slopes of Everest, the side opposite of the one on which the avalanche hit last year.
Out of respect for the fallen Sherpas who worked hard to make it possible for many of us to achieve our dream of climbing Everest, no one is climbing above Base Camp today.

Tomorrow, only the Ice Doctors will climb up, as they affix ropes and replace ladders that might have broken due to the ever shifting ice in the icefall.  On the 20th, the plan is for our Sherpas to climb up, carrying loads to establish Camps One and Two.  On the 21st or 22nd, Scott and I will head up to spend three to four nights above 21,000 feet to acclimatize.  After that first rotation at Camp 1 and 2, we will rest at base camp for a few days before going up to Camp 2 once again before making a day trip to Camp 3 at 23,800 feet.

When not on the mountain, Scott and I spend the days walking around Base Camp socializing and meeting other climbers from around the world.  It’s truly an international crowd, with 300+ climbers from around the world. Some days we will climb up to Camp 1 on neighboring Pumori or work on our climbing skills in the lower icefall to prepare for the climb up to Camp 1.

Please check back as we will try to up date the blog as often as possible.

Cheers,

Jacob Schmitz, Everest Base Camp

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Everest Team in Kathmandu

By: Mountain Trip

Hello from Nepal!

The team is here and the bags have arrived!  We are excited to get going, but are trying to enjoy Kathmandu before flying up to the mountains and beginning the trek.

The team here is:

Scott Holder from California,  Everest Expedition

Alisha and David Germer from Alaska,  Everest Base Camp and Island Peak Climb.

Jacob Schmitz vagabond guide but most recently storing equipment in Bend, Oregon.  Expedition Leader.
We have been in Kathmandu for a few days sight seeing and enjoying the busy and culturally beautiful capital of Nepal.   After gear checks and an supplemental oxygen clinic from our mask supplier, Ted Atkins from TopOut. We are ready and excited to fly to Lukla tomorrow and start our trek to Everest!

Its going to take us around nine to ten days to acclimatize and arrive to EBC (Everest Base Camp) well rested. It’s an amazing hike up the Khumbu with incredible views of the Himalaya. One of my favorite hikes in the world.
We will be checking in often and updating the Dispatches to let all of our friends and loved ones back at home know of our progress.
Cheers,

Jacob Schmitz

Welcome to the Yak and Yeti Hotel!

Welcome to the Yak and Yeti Hotel!

Oxygen class from the man who invented the TopOut system.

Oxygen class from the man who invented the TopOut system.

photo

 

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Aconcagua Team is Back in Mendoza!

By: Mountain Trip

Howdy All!  We apologize for the delay in posting, but we had a server issue that kept us offline for a couple of days.

The team descended from high camp on the 12th and arrived at the Plaze de Mulas base camp a bit pooped, but happy after having stood on the summit on February 11th.  The descent is a whopper, dropping close to 6000′ from Camp Cholera to the warmth and thick air of the upper Horcones Valley on the west side of the mountain.

Today, the team sorted their equipment and packed loads for mules to carry out the Horcones.  They then started the long, dusty hike down the valley, hiking about 15 miles in about 7 hours, and descending another 5000′.  They arrived at the trailhead, where they were met by our friends from Fernando Grajales Expeditions, who picked up the group and facilitated their transfer back to Mendoza.

It is Carnival in Mendoza this weekend, which is one of the biggest parties and tourist weekends of the year.  We had challenging time finding accommodations, but the team is now showered and sleeping soundly at the Sheraton Hotel.

We will post some more details about their climb, along with some photos from the team in the next day or two.  Until then, we would like to once again extend a hearty “WELL DONE!”

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Aconcagua Summit!!!

By: Mountain Trip

Lisa called in from the summit of Aconcagua!

The team awoke early in the morning, and departed from high camp around 5:30 in the morning.  They worked their way up the north ridge of the mountain, first climbing directly up it, then along the east side, before cresting the ridge to make their way up the west side of the peak.  Snow fell lightly on the team, but the winds were also light, so they kept climbing.

Congratulations to everyone!!

Here’s Lisa, calling in from 22,841 feet above South America!

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aconcagua

Looking at Aconcagua from the southwest. The massive South Face is in the shade, with the summit being the right hand high point in the image.

Posted in 2015 Aconcagua Jan 27, International | Tagged | 5 Comments

January 27 Aconcagua Team is at High Camp!!

By: Mountain Trip

Lance called in a nice post from 20,000′ on Aconcagua.  The team decided to push up today in light snow, but moderate temperatures.  They packed up camp at Camp 2 and made the 4.5 hour hike up to Camp Cholera (aka White Rocks), on the north ridge of the mountain.  Climbers often tend to use rather dark humor, and the moniker Camp Cholera is a fine example!  This is the first camp on the mountain where they have to melt snow to get their water for drinking and cooking.  If you don’t put in the additional effort to get clean snow, which can often require that you hike a ways, then you could experience Cholera-like symptoms.

The forecast is for light to moderate winds, so the plan is to awaken early in the dark hours of the morning, eat, hydrate, and load up for a summit bid.

Best of luck to all the climbers!   Here’s Lance:

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January 27 Aconcagua – team waiting at Camp 2

By: Mountain Trip

Dave called in from 18,000′ as the team spent the evening hours in his and Fermin’s tent, while a bit of snow fell and the wind blew outside.  The wind that had been predicted has materialized, and the team is hunkered down, waiting for it to slacken.  I spoke with Fermin today and he said everyone is in good spirits, and they have plenty of food and fuel, so they are in no rush to move higher.

Tomorrow’s forecast looks better, so the team will awaken and watch to see how the day shapes up.  If it looks like the winds are lessening up high, they will probably move to high camp at some point during the day.  The 11th looks like it could be a fine summit day, so right now, the plan is to try for the top on Wednesday.

Here’s Dave!

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Jan 27 Aconcagua Team – Carries to High Camp

By: Mountain Trip

Sophie called in from Camp 2 on the Ameghino Valley Route of Aconcagua, after the team hiked up to 6000 meters today.  Camp 2 is on the east flank of the mountain, and is a fairly sheltered camp at an elevation of about 18,000′ (5490 meters).  The team has slowed their rate of ascent at this camp, in part because of a high wind event that had been forecasted for the upper mountain, with predicted wind speeds of over 60 mph.  They are in a great position at this camp, have plenty of food, fuel and time, so they decided to take their time and see how the weather shapes up, rather than move high and try to get ahead of the wind.

Today, they went for a hike up to the site of their next camp, located at just about 20,000′.  They moved well, and took their time so as not to overly tax their bodies at such high elevations.  The benefits of taking the hike are twofold: they could move some food and fuel up to the next camp and they pushed their bodies a bit by moving high, while allowing themselves the benefit of sleeping at an elevation at which they are largely acclimatized, back at Camp 2.

Aconcagua

Fermin Avila, hiking to High Camp in January 2014

aconcagua

Two teams hiking the last 30 minutes to high camp. located just over the craggy ridge line.ere i

Here is Sophie!

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Posted in 2015 Aconcagua Jan 27, International | Tagged | 2 Comments

Camp 2 Rest Day for Aconcagua Team

By: Mountain Trip

Lance called in this evening to report on their windy rest day at Camp 2 today.   The skies were clear, but the wind was blowing at Camp 2, but the team enjoyed beautiful views, and it sounds like they are still enjoying the food that our lead guide Fermin is cooking up.   They are doing great and will hope to climb to high camp tomorrow if the weather looks good.

Here’s Lance with the evening dispatch from Camp 2 on Aconcagua.

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Posted in 2015 Aconcagua Jan 27, International | Tagged | 2 Comments

Aconcagua Team at Camp 2

By: Mountain Trip

The team moved up to Camp 2 today and they are still moving strong and enjoying spectacular weather.   The weather may be changing a bit in the next few days, but this evening at camp 2 they are enjoying the views and eating steaks!   From Camp 2 they get the first really good views of the upper mountain, the Polish glacier, and are high enough to really see across the Andes.   They plan to acclimatize and recover tomorrow and strategize about moving to high camp in the next few days after looking at the weather.

Here’s Lisa with the evening dispatch from Camp 2.

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JANUARY 27TH ACONCAGUA TEAM CARRIES TO CAMP 2

By: Mountain Trip

The team enjoyed good weather for the carry to Camp 2. It’s a pretty big day, with over 1,500′ elevation gain (at altitude), and the team was rewarded with spectacular views. They woke up, packed up a load of food, fuel and supplies, and ascended the broad bowl of scree at the uppermost portion of the Relinchos Valley. From this point, the team headed north to follow the Ameghino Valley, that separates Cerro Ameghino from Aconcagua. They left the supplies in a sheltered spot in Camp 2, then turned around and descended to Camp 1.  The plan is to move to Camp 2 tomorrow, weather permitting.

 

Here’s Dave:

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Posted in 2015 Aconcagua Jan 27, International | Tagged | 2 Comments

JANUARY 27TH ACONCAGUA TEAM AT CAMP 1

By: Mountain Trip

Lance called in the team’s report today from Camp 1. It sounds like the team is doing great and eating lots of Fermin’s delicious cooking, fueling themselves for the ascent. The plan is to carry a load of equipment and supplies to Camp 2 tomorrow. Camp 2 is a beautiful camp, perched on the east flank of Aconcagua just shy of 18,000′.

Here’s Lance:

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Posted in 2015 Aconcagua Jan 27, International | Tagged | 1 Comment

Aconcagua Team Ready to Move to Camp 1 Tomorrow

By: Mountain Trip

Sophie called in tonight from the January 27th Aconcagua Team after a final day of acclimatizing and resting at base camp before pushing on up the mountain.   They had another beautiful day and enjoyed the last night of the luxuries of base camp, but it’s time to move on.   They are doing great and anxious to start the push on up to Camp 1 and beyond tomorrow.

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JANUARY 27TH ACONCAGUA TEAM CARRIES TO CAMP 1

By: Mountain Trip

Today they team ate a nice breakfast in the comfort of their Base Camp dining tent and then shouldered their packs to carry loads up to 16,400′.

The route up from the Plaza Argentina Base Camp starts by climbing up a rather steep bit of moraine, the rocky debris pushed ahead by the last glacier that carved the valley above Base Camp.  As they climbed up, they snaked their way between the remnants of the old glacier, now barely discernible under meters of rock, and the steep side of the valley wall to their south.

After about an hour of hiking, they arrived in the base of the hanging valley above BC.  They weaved their way along the valley floor, most of the time hiking on the old glacier, with a few spots where they could actually see the old, glacial ice.  After another hour and a half or so, they commenced another steep climb up to the site of their Camp 1, located at roughly 16,400′.  They deposited the loads of food, fuel and equipment and returned to Base Camp for the night.

Looking up the route from the site of our Camp 1.  The route is fairly easy to see above camp, as it climbs up from left to right.

Looking up the route from the site of our Camp 1. The route is fairly easy to see above camp, as it climbs up from left to right.

 

This process of “climbing high and sleeping low” is a proven strategy for climbing big, cold mountains.  It enables the team to move all their equipment up the mountain and also eases their bodies into each successive altitude, by giving them a taste of the next elevation, while letting them sleep at their previous camp.

Tomorrow is planned to be a rest and acclimatization day, giving the team time to better acclimatize before launching up the mountain.

Lisa reports that the team climbed well, and everyone is feeling strong and happy. Here’s Lisa:

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Posted in 2015 Aconcagua Jan 27, International | Tagged | 1 Comment

Aconcagua Team Enjoying a Rest Day at Base Camp

By: Mountain Trip

The team is enjoying a rest day at the Plaza Argentina base camp today.  This is an important day for them to acclimatize to the high altitude, and recover a bit before pushing on up the mountain.  They prepared their gear and food for the upper mountain, and had a chance to wander around the small base camp community today.  Everyone is doing well, the weather has been great, and they are excited to head up the mountain tomorrow.

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January 27 Aconcagua Team – Lisa Calls from BC

By: Mountain Trip

Lisa called in a fun update from the Plaza Argentina Base Camp, located at 13,800′ on the east side of Aconcagua.  The team is doing great and enjoying some really nice weather.  Base Camp is an interesting place, as Lisa hints at in her post.  There are often climbers from all parts of the globe milling about, acclimatizing and an equally high number of local support staff, porters and guides.  In a nutshell- it’s a fun place!

Below are some images of the terrain they climbed through en route to camp today.  But first, here’s Lisa!

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aconcagua mules

The crossing of the chilly Rio Vacas is best done without getting wet!

aconcagua hiking to bc

The trail follows some steep slopes as it ascends into the Relinchos Valley.

aconcagua relinchos valley

Higher in the Relinchos valley, the views expand, with Aconcagua dominating the skyline in front of climbers to the left and the 1000m lower Cerro Ameghino appearing nearly as tall to the right (it’s closer!).

Posted in 2015 Aconcagua Jan 27, International | Tagged | 1 Comment

Aconcagua Team Moving to Base Camp

By: Mountain Trip

Sophie and Dave called in to update us on the progress of the team.  They hiked another eight miles yesterday, arriving at the second camp on the approach in good time and with beautiful weather.

This morning, they crossed the Rio Vacas on horseback before the sun hit, which is a really good reason to use horses.  That water is chilly!!  Their route is taking a hard right turn today, heading west up the Relinchos Valley, which starts as a narrow defile deeply carved by the Relinchos River.  The trail follows steep side hills until it climbs up into the upper section of the valley, which is more of a “U” shaped, glacially carved valley and is much wider than its mouth.

About this point, the team will have spectacular views of Aconcagua and the neighboring Cerro Ameghino.  This view will dominate their western vista until they hike the past meters into the Plaza Argentina Base Camp.

Today is a tougher day than the first two on the trail.  The distance is similar, but they will climb up over 3,000′, and start to feel the altitude a bit more.  Fortunately, a comfortable dining tent, replete with table and chairs will await their arrival, and tomorrow is a planned rest and acclimatization day, which is generally welcomed after the tough hike up the Relinchos.

Sophie’s initial post is a bit garbled, a reminder that satellite communication in steep, mountainous terrain is not always perfect, but here’s the update:

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