International Mountain Guides Climbing and Mountaineering Expeditions

Dave Hahn

Dispatches from the Mountains


World renowned mountain guide, gifted writer, and accomplished wiseguy, Dave Hahn has been climbing professionally since 1986 and writing about his adventures for over a decade. He has been to the top of Mount Everest 11 times (which is more than any other non-Sherpa climber,) and on three Mallory & Irvine search expeditions including the 1999 team that found Mallory's body.

In the off-season from 17 Himalayan expeditions, Hahn has guided over 245 ascents of Mount Rainier and 25 attempts on Denali (with 18 summits.) He holds the world summit record of 25 on Vinson Massif, Antarctica's highest peak, and is internationally recognized for numerous, exceptional, high-altitude rescues. When home, he works as a ski patroler and EMT in his hometown, Taos, New Mexico.

Hahn has proven himself an eloquent and entertaining writer with a gift for making the world's great adventures accessible to everyone. Mostly typing in cold, damp tents and on cross-ocean flights, he has been published in Outside Magazine, contributed to several climbing books, and has become a specialist at detailing day to day life in the mountains. We dare you to not be amazed, amused, and often moved.

Dave Hahn's Dispatches and Columns

  • The Sheriff of Hunziker Bowl:
    Meditations on Being a Hard Ass

    January 2003   —   "I began to get a little worried by all the pastels and purples and yellows in their clothing. 'You guys know you were skiing in a closed area?' But when the one guy opened his mouth, my heart sank... 'Ve haf not so much English please.' All those colors confirmed my worst fears... Euros!"
  • Chopper Gumbo and the Midlife Crisis:
    Heli Crash on the way to a Rescue on Rainier

    September 2002   —   "It is almost cliche, when coming home from Everest and the land of Sherpas and karma, to integrate a little Buddhism into one's daily routine... When I packed the car for a summer of mountain guiding, crossed the Rio Grande and left the Land of Enchantment, my conscience was squeaky clean. And must surely be why I didn't get crunched in a crashing helicopter on Mount Rainier just a few days later..."
  • Strap on the Nitro:  Everest Icefall Collapse of Cinematic Proportions
    June 2002   —   "I didn't believe there was anywhere to run or any use in finding a way to run. By then we seemed to have our arms around one another. We were all saying things and stepping this way and that in our huddle on our little island as everything began to shake and quiver. All at once the ice slopes above us disintegrated, collapsed, disappeared and evaporated. This happened fast, but not so fast that there wasn't time to see it all and be a little scared..."
  • Everest: Emotional Rescue
    October 2001   —   "It probably sounds terrible to say that we were prepared for them to be dead, in which case our response would have been to go on to the summit. Get your head around it if you can, because we would have. And if they weren't so bad off, we'd have helped them to their feet, patted them on their backs as they proceeded down and we'd have still pressed on for the top. After all, they had their expedition goals, we had ours. The two were separate. But it had become apparent that we were into something far worse..."
  • What Did You Expect?
    Patience the Antarctic Storm Way

    February 2000   —   "The light for photos got better and better as the storm clouds grew with the passage of several days. Those clouds meant we had to get out of there, but we knew that the clouds had engulfed an area we needed clear for refueling at a cache of drums inland. It was a complicated situation, but still pretty. One day, Maxo and I woke up to find our tent flapping in a stiff wind. It was probably blowing about thirty, but it was early. I dozed, woke up and thought it had reached 40. But I might have been wrong on that, because when I looked out the tent, the one next to us had just snapped a few poles and was flapping furiously around its occupants..."
  • New Millennium New Year's Eve in Antarctica
    December 31, 1999   —   "I am not filled with loneliness. The gang over at Patriot Hills will give a call on the fancy sat-phone near midnight because they'll be a little worried for me. Nobody knows just how Y2K will effect the motion of these big glaciers, after all. I appreciate their concern, but I'll get by and I'll see them when the weather gets nice. I get lonely at big parties, and I get lonely driving around suburbia... but I don't get lonely in a place where there aren't any people."
  • Everest 1998 — Part I:
    Kathmandu to Advanced Base Camp

    April - June, 1998   —   These are excerpts from the dispatches that started it all. No one knew Dave could write like this (maybe not even Dave himself,) but he was leading the IMG North Side Everest climb and was asked to send a few updates to be posted online. No photos, no video, no big leadup, just these long emails that started showing up, and suddenly everyone was asking who is this Hahn guy and when is his next dispatch going up.
  • Everest 1998 — Part II:
    The Upper Mountain (Coming Soon)

    April - June, 1998   —   "None of the gully will impress a rock climber back home. It is like climbing onto the dining room table, then up onto the China cabinet, then over onto the thing that holds the table linen. With your crampons on, an axe in your hand and pulling rope around. (Don't try this at home, kids.) But none of that is impossible, even if you took away the carpet, the floor and 9,000' of the basement to simulate the drop to the Central Rongbuk Glacier. As the great climber George Dunn once said of the North Ridge route, 'It is tricky.' But also fun..."

Dave Hahn in "Outside Magazine"

Dave Hahn of International Mountain Guides leading on upper Everest
Dave Hahn breaks trail just below the Yellow Band on the upper north side of Everest. His team would choose to give up their summit climb to attempt the highest known rescue in Everest history.
When it blows 80mph, you don't need a weatherman to tell you which way it blows. When your beard hurts because eight or 10 pounds of ice are hanging from it, you seldom concern yourself with picking an aisle or window seat. A real storm gives great focus to an otherwise cluttered mind.
It was Andy Lapkass and Jaime Vinals sitting there on the rocks with a few empty oxygen bottles and some shreds of a space blanket. Two nice guys who'd spent the night out after making the top the previous day. Just sitting up where jets fly and people die and where I've now cried.
Zhangmu is not a good place to get stuck if a delay is to be endured. To be charitable, the town is vastly improved from 1991 when I first came through. To be less charitable, it is a good place to catch a disease nobody back home can diagnose.
Dave Hahn at work in Taos

Dave Hahn at work in Taos (zoom »)

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