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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!

Dec. 15th Vinson Team is at Low Camp

By: Mountain Trip

Lloyd called in, but unfortunately, the low flying satellites at 78 degrees south latitude dropped his call much too soon…

The team packed up and hiked for about 5.5 hours to arrive at Low Camp, the first of two they will employ whilst climbing Mount Vinson.

Branscomb Glacier and MT Vinson

Looking up the Branscomb Glacier toward Low Camp

The team just finished dinner about 30 minutes ago and they are snuggled in for the night.  If tomorrow dawns clear, the plan is to carry a load of supplies up the next section of the route, to both move their kit as well as help their bodies acclimatize to the altitude.  Jacob checked in with us this evening and said everyone is doing great and spirits are high.

Let’s think warm thoughts for our friends as they burrow in their bags for a night with temperatures dipping down near -30 degrees!

Here’s Lloyd:

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Posted in 2014 Vinson - Dec 15 Team | Tagged | No Comments

Dec. 16 Aconcagua Team is at Casa De Piedra

By: Mountain Trip

Rene called in a very nice post from the second camp on the approach to Aconcagua.  Casa de Piedra is so named for a stone shelter that was built decades ago alongside a monstrous boulder, as the name so aptly translates to: “House of Stone.”

Aconcagua

Looking back down the Vacas Valley from the Casa de Piedra camp

Today’s hike took the team to an elevation of about 10,000′, and about a kilometer before camp, they had their first views of their objective, with a stunning view up the perpendicular Relinchos Valley of the impressive Polish Glacier, winding its way to the summit, a mere 13,000′ above their position in the Vacas!

Here’s Rene:

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Posted in 2014 Aconcagua - Dec 16 Team, International | Tagged | No Comments

DECEMBER 16TH ACONCAGUA TEAM AT PAMPA DE LENAS

By: Mountain Trip

Yesterday, after a short drive to the trail head, the team set out from the mouth of the Vacas Valley. The team hiked approximately six hours  through a desert valley (reminiscent of parts of the Grand Canyon) to “Pampas de Lenas,” the first camp on the approach, located at about 9,000 ft (2750 m). Nigel, Rene and Fermin dined in true gaucho style, with food prepared over an open fire by our arrieros. And cake for desert! Fermin reports that everyone is happy, and doing well. The plan is to move to Casa Piedra today.

 

Posted in 2014 Aconcagua - Dec 16 Team, International | Tagged | No Comments

MEET THE DECEMBER 16 ACONCAGUA TEAM!

By: Mountain Trip

As the days grow shorter in the northern hemisphere, why not chase the sun and head south?!?  Mountain Trip guide Fermin Avila and Nigel & Rene Cleaver are headed to the western edge of Argentina to attempt to climb the highest peak in all of the Americas, Cerro Aconcagua. Rising to almost 7000 meters, this peak is known as the Stone Sentinel and the moniker makes sense to this climber, as you can gaze all the way to the Pacific Ocean from the top of the mountain.  The team will climb a variation of the classic route known as the Polish Traverse, which approaches the peak from the southeast, ascends the east side and drops down the the west after summit day.  The climbing is not technical, but the high altitude and the notoriously windy weather make the route very challenging.

Nigel and Rene met Fermin in Mendoza, Argentina on December 16th for Mountain Trip’s first Aconcagua expedition of the season.   The team members ran through the final gear check, then went out to dinner to enjoy the steak and wine that Mendoza is famous for.   Yesterday morning they headed down to the Aconcagua Provincial Park offices to pick up their permits, then they departed for the mountains.  Last night the team stayed the night in Penitentes, a small resort area located at 9,000 feet, and this morning they began the journey up the Vacas Valley.

We will endeavor to post daily updates while the team is on the mountain, but please understand that, due to the complexities of communicating from such rugged terrain, this is not always possible.  Feel free to contact our office for the latest news, but if a day or so passes without an update, hold onto the age-old axiom of, “No News is Good News,” because less than good news always finds a way to get communicated.

Please post comments to support your friends and family members.  We cannot always convey those comments to climbers on the mountain, but they will really enjoy reading them once they are back down in “civilization.”

Enjoy!

Posted in 2014 Aconcagua - Dec 16 Team, International | Tagged | No Comments

DECEMBER 15TH VINSON TEAM AT UNION GLACIER

By: Mountain Trip

Guide Jacob Schmitz called to report that Atanas and Lloyd have arrived at Union Glacier. The plan is to fly to Vinson Base Camp tonight, weather permitting.

Union Glacier Camp

The busy Union Glacier Camp, which is the staging area for many Antarctic ventures

Posted in 2014 Vinson - Dec 15 Team, International | Tagged | No Comments

DECEMBER 15TH VINSON TEAM AT BASE CAMP

By: Mountain Trip

Jacob called in to report that the team arrived safe and sound at Vinson Base Camp. It’s a beautiful 40 minute flight from Union Glacier to Base Camp, and it sounds like the weather was perfect for the short flight. The team set up camp and they will spend the remainder of the day resting and relaxing. The plan is to move to Low Camp in the next day or two.

Two of our Hilleberg tents at Vinson Base Camp, with the mountain in the background.

Two of our Hilleberg tents at Vinson Base Camp, with the mountain in the background.

Here’s Jacob:

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Posted in 2014 Vinson - Dec 15 Team, International | Tagged | No Comments

Photo from Coto (paxi!)

By: Mountain Trip

Our guide Pablo sent the photo below of Seba, Helmut and Pablo on the summit of Cotopaxi.  Great job guys!

cotopaxi

Posted in 2014 Ecuador - Dec 6 Team | Tagged | No Comments

DEC 4TH VINSON TEAM BACK AT CAMP

By: Mountain Trip

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!

Posted in 2014 Vinson - Dec 4 Team, International | Tagged | 4 Comments

DECEMBER 4TH VINSON TEAM ON THE SUMMIT!

By: Mountain Trip

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:

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Posted in 2014 Vinson - Dec 4 Team, International | Tagged | 4 Comments

DEC 4TH VINSON TEAM MAKING THEIR WAY UP!

By: Mountain Trip

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.

Here’s Jacob:

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Posted in 2014 Vinson - Dec 4 Team, International | Tagged | 2 Comments

TEAM ECUADOR DOWN SAFE

By: Mountain Trip

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!

Here’s Seba:

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Posted in 2014 Ecuador - Dec 6 Team, International | Tagged | No Comments

Ecuador Team Calls From the Summit Of Cotopaxi

By: Mountain Trip

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:

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The summit crater of Cotopaxi

Looking across the steaming crater of Cotopaxi

Posted in 2014 Ecuador - Dec 6 Team, International | Tagged | No Comments

December 4th Vinson Team – SUMMIT BOUND!!!!

By: Mountain Trip

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!!!

Here’s Jacob:

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Posted in 2014 Vinson - Dec 4 Team | Tagged | 1 Comment

December 15 Mount Vinson Team – Meet the team!

By: Mountain Trip

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.

Vinson expedition

Lloyd Hudson, happy to be in Punta Arenas!

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!

Posted in 2014 Vinson - Dec 15 Team | Tagged | No Comments

December 4th Vinson Team – Tashi calls from High Camp!

By: Mountain Trip

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:

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Posted in 2014 Vinson - Dec 4 Team | Tagged | 3 Comments

Vinson December 4th Team – Weather day at low camp

By: Mountain Trip

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:

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Posted in 2014 Vinson - Dec 4 Team | Tagged | 2 Comments

Ecuador Team is back from Chimborazo

By: Mountain Trip

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.

Chimborazo

Chimborazo on a relatively rare, clear day, as seen from the trailhead parking lot.

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!

Ecuador

Scott and the team, unloading for the short hike to the new climbing hut on Chimborazo.

Whymper Hut

The old Whymper Hut has been replaced by a very. very nice upgrade!

Chimborazo hut

The new Refugio Estrella del Chimborazo climber’s hut.

Chimborazo

Inside the very nice new hut on Chimborazo. The old hut was functional, but not a place in which you’d want to spend a lot of time…

 

 

 

Posted in 2014 Ecuador - Dec 6 Team | Tagged | No Comments

Vinson December 4th Team – Acclimatization Day at Low Camp

By: Mountain Trip

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.

Posted in 2014 Vinson - Dec 4 Team | Tagged | 3 Comments

Ecuador Team is Headed Up Chimborazo!

By: Mountain Trip

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:

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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.

Ecuador

The Whymper Hut on Chimborazo. The hut is named after the British climber, Edward Whymper, who made the first ascent of Chimborazo with Louis and Jean-Antoine Carrel in 1880.

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!).

Chimborazo

Looking up towards the summit from the Whymper Hut. The route climbs under the rocky bands and zig zags up to gain the low point of the skyline ridge.

Let’s hope that the weather cooperates and that the team has a clear, beautiful day to climb to the summit!

Posted in 2014 Ecuador - Dec 6 Team | Tagged | No Comments

December 4 Vinson Team is at Low Camp!!

By: Mountain Trip

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.

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Low Camp

Low camp on Mount Vinson

Branscomb Glacier and MT Vinson

Looking up the Branscomb Glacier. Low camp is just out of view behind the icefall.

Posted in 2014 Vinson - Dec 4 Team, International | Tagged | 2 Comments

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