International Mountain Guides Climbing and Mountaineering Expeditions

2001 Annual Report

Looking Back on a Year of Climbing and Trekking

 

Eric Simonson's 2001 Expeditions

I'd like to start by taking a quick look forward to my 2002 climbs. We kick off the year with our great winter Kilimanjaro programs, with 3 trips slated for the January-February season, another climb in June and a private, non-profit fundraising expedition in September for the Webb-Waring Institute of Boulder, CO. While the winter Kilimanjaro climbs are in full swing, I personally will head down to Antarctica to lead a private geological research expedition that will probably include a quick attempt on Mt. Vinson during our days off. In March I will return to Mt. Everest to lead an expedition on the South Col route in Nepal. Our program will include Base Camp treks with an option to climb Island Peak. A few climbers will also join the team setting the Khumbu Icefall as their goal.

While we are on Everest, I will field another team on Shishapangma on both a guided and non-guided basis, joined by trekkers who will tour Tibet and go to the mountain with the climbers (trekking up to ABC or Camp 1) before heading off on their own adventure to Everest Rongbuk Base Camp. In June I will send another team south to Bolivia. We have changed our Bolivia itinerary for 2002 to replace Alpamayo Chico with Huayna Potosi (17,618'), where intermediate climbing conditions can be good, before tackling Illimani. We will also offer a 6-day extension for those interested in climbing Bolivia's highest peak, Sajama (21,486'), located well off the beaten path. After a summer on Mt. Rainier I'll be sending another team to Cho Oyu in August, marking IMG's 11th consecutive expedition there. Once they are safely back I'll spend the rest of my year at home planning the 2003 programs!

Kilimanjaro Climb & Safari


2001 was a fine year for the five Africa expeditions I organized. Thanks to guides Craig John, Alex Van Steen, Tap Richards, Paul Maier and Greg Wilson for a terrific job keeping everyone safe and leading most of the climbers all the way to the top.

Congrats to all of our 2001 Kili team members:

  • January 2: Michael Bleiman, Marcia Chan, Thomas Chan, Susan Fong, Betsy Gosselin, Michael Gosselin, Mauricio Jaramillo, John Kulin, Shirley Lau, Cheryl McVey, Michelle McVey, Amy Meredith, Mark Meredith, Sharon Vaillancourt.
  • January 15: Paul Coffeen, Dale Gentle, Meredith Hennessey, Jay Petersen, Katharine Petersen, Martin Rothberg, Allen Sansano.
  • February 3: Denver Collins, Matthew Davis, Belinda Eichel, Steven Eichel, Marc Faucher, Peggy Faucher, Patrick Filyk, Susan Filyk, Ken Gomez, Rodney Hahn, Laura Kosbar, David Lindsey, Nancy Norris, Jon Opper, Adair Prall, David Triplett, John Widly.
  • June 24: Tereza Baumann, Jodi Meunier, James Powers, Jason Vaughan, Joan Vaughan, Mark Winter.
  • August 11 private climb: Ro Fallon, Joanne Fallon, Alexandra Fallon, Lindsay Fallon, Timothy Fallon, Rebecca Bowen, Lawrence Fish, Atsuko Fish, Leah Fish, Edward Fish, Emily Fish.

Everest 2001


We had very successful programs on the North Side of Everest in Tibet in conjunction with our 2001 Mallory & Irvine Research Expedition. Heather Macdonald led two treks all the way from Tingri up to the 21,300' Advanced Base Camp, truly a memorable and unique trip. Himalayan veterans Craig John, Heidi Eichner and Jason Tanguay led our North Col / 8000 meter programs (Heidi and Jason stayed around after everyone left to join the search/summit climbers). Thanks for the great job, guides! Super congrats go to Mike Otis from Phoenix, AZ and Terry LaFrance from Albany, NY along with terrific climbing Sherpas Kami, Danuru, Lhapka Nuru, and Mingma Ongel. These guys reached the top of the world on May 19, the first Everest ascent of 2001 by any route!

Thanks to all our Everest climbers and trekkers:

  • ABC trekkers: Lawrence Welk, Roger Scoville, Peter Scoville, Ken Sageser, Edward Ryan, Rick Richards, John Proulx, Carlos Porto, Ed Norton, Nancy Norris, Robert Nordhaus, Greg Milliken, Steven McClung, Laura Howat, Aaron Hamilton, John Hall, Maggie Gross, William Goss, Jonathan Gilstrom, Sally Gilpin, Thomas Gibbons, Peter Gargiulo, Karen Balaban, Dick Dickerson.
  • North Col climbers: David Smith, Lanta Olito, Nancy Houdeshell.
  • 8000m climbers: Ted Wheeler, Jim Waldron, Chris Shiver, Timothy Ramey, Richard Martinez, Timothy Lapham, Jerry Gross.
  • Non-guided Summit Climbers: David Lim , Tok Beng Cheong, Wong Ting Sern, Mohd Rozani bin Maarof, Gil Piekarz, Michael Otis, Terry LaFrance.

2001 Mallory and Irvine Research Expedition


Hopefully you followed our expedition coverage online. I really appreciated the chance to study the exploits of the pioneer climbers with historians Jochen Hemmleb and Larry Johnson and watch our research climbers do battle with Chomolungma. The team did a heck of a job finding old camps and artifacts. The final tally included the 1922 ABC, 1924 C6, 1933 C6, 1960 and 1975 Chinese C6, and 1960 Chinese C7.

In addition to spending over 21 man days at over 26,000 feet actively searching, our team also made headlines by performing the highest rescue in mountaineering history. Dave, Tap, Jason, Andy, John and Jake gave up summit bids to instead save the lives of six climbers.

After the expedition, Jochen and I traveled to Beijing to interview some of the old 1960 and 1975 Chinese climbers. Our 2001 expedition story, Detectives on Everest, will be published by Mountaineers Books in 2002. We have some juicy new info for all the Mallory and Irvine buffs out there!

Great job done and thanks again to this awesome group of individuals. Research Expedition Team: Eric Simonson, Dave Hahn, Tapley Richards, John Race, Andy Politz, Brent Okita, Jake Norton, Riley Morton (video technician), Lee Meyers (expedition doctor), Jochen Hemmleb and Larry Johnson (historians.)

Bolivia

The 2001 IMG Bolivia expedition, led by veteran guide Craig Van Hoy, was a very exciting trip. The team's first climb, Alpamayo Chico (17,618'), was turned back due too poor conditions up high. After resting and regrouping, Craig and team successfully summited Illimani (21,200'). This beautiful mountain and interesting route offered sections of steep snow and ice which required fixed rope and solid climbing skills.

Great job, team: Edward Huber, Robert Lowry, Rob Mackay, Jason Van Dalen, Ronald Rose, James Whitbread.

Cho Oyu 2001


Both the Spring and Autumn 2001 Cho Oyu teams were successful and team members returned home better for their experience together. IMG has now conducted ten expeditions to Cho Oyu and we have put climbers on the summit on nine of them, the best batting average in the league!

In the Spring, guides Kurt Wedburg and Ben Marshall reached the top with Tom Romary, Lynn Prebble and Ang Kami on their second try (the first attempt turned the team back at Camp 3 the previous week due to bad weather). Dave Hahn, at 27,500 feet in the Yellow Band above Camp 6 on Everest, spoke to Kurt and the team on the summit of Cho Oyu and relayed to them our best wishes. This was the first time we've been able to talk to one of our Cho Oyu teams from Everest!

Congrats to the Spring Cho Oyu climbers: Alan Agle, Claudia Berryman-Shafer, Stephen Gladbach, Ben Marshall, Garry Porter, Lynn Prebble, Thomas Romary, George Shaw, Kurt Wedberg, and Stuart Young.

The Autumn Oyu climb, led by John Race, saw Olivia Cussen reach the top with Sherpas Phunuru and Danuru. Non-guided climbers Steve House, Reid Carter, Mike Bell, and Sherpa Kami lso also made the summit of the world's sixth highest peak. We conducted a Tibet trek in conjunction with this expedition.

Congrats to the Autumn Cho Oyu team: John Race, Michael Bell, Reid Carter, Olivia Cussen, Steve House, Scott Johnson, Chris Nichols, Slate Stern, Gavin Symonds, and Bruce Turner.

Mt. Carstensz

I finally made it to this mountain (one of the Seven Summits, depending on how you figure it) on my third try (the first two expeditions were cancelled due to political unrest in Indonesia). It pays to be persistent, because we were lucky and able to get a permit to go in via the Grasberg Mine (truly a world class wonder in and of itself.) Anyway, what a wild trip! All I can say is that this climb is in the league of Mt. Vinson in terms of uniqueness. It was a privilege to climb to the summit with my friend and fellow guide, Greg Wilson. This was the last of the Seven Summits for both Greg and I (I also climbed Kosciusko in 2000 just to cover all the bases!) We were joined by great teammates Ro Fallon, Anthony Nightingale and Jay Wilson, who were instrumental in helping to arrange this climb. They were the best of travel companions and they successfully made the top, too. Thanks for making it happen, you guys!

Eric Simonson International Mountain Guides Director
I had a great time trekking from Cho Oyu BC to Rongbuk and Everest BC... I appreciate all the organizing and work you and your staff put into the Cho Oyu Autumn Expedition. The fact that there were no major missed dates, show up times, missing yaks, missing equipment or major problems, is a direct result of your team's successful efforts. Plus we had fun.
~Kurt W.
I also found that Eric Simonson's reputation and experience in the Himalaya has given IMG leaders greater ease in dealing with the Chinese government, in choosing more experienced climbing Sherpas, and in interacting with the leaders of the other expeditions. It was this kind of experience, or lack of it, that determined which expeditions were successful and which were not...
~Greg Y.
I want to inform you that I really was a bit surprised, that all the logistics and work on the mountain was as perfect as clock work. I thought that with so many people and so much stuff there could be also a small mistake or something, but nothing... all worked really perfect.
~Walter
 

George Dunn's 2001 Expeditions

In looking back over the year 2001, the attacks of September 11 overshadow all other events. My sincerest sympathies to all whom lost family, friends and co-workers.

I anticipate a return to better times this coming year. If you are looking for a short getaway here in the states this winter or spring, I have some good options for you. In January and February I will be running my ever-popular Ice Climbing Seminars in Ouray, Colorado. This is always a great time for first time climbers and veterans alike. Ouray holds some of the most scenic and reliable ice climbing in the country. If you are looking for a shorter duration alpine climb in early spring, then Mt. Whitney is the ticket. Similar in difficulty to Mt. Rainier, we leave the crowds behind in late March and April on this challenging and spectacular ascent of the highest peak in the lower 48.

As usual, I will be heading up to Alaska in April to do another 16,000' ascent in the Wrangels, and Canada in May for an expedition to Mt. Logan. In July and August I will run a full series of programs in Europe: Northern Italy and the Dolomites in July, Classic Climbs in the Alps and The Matterhorn programs through the month of August. Come join IMG and me on one of these classic programs and make 2002 a year to remember!

Ouray, Colorado Ice Climbing Seminars


My climbing programs in Ouray continue to be the very best option for winter adventure. My staff of guides are tremendous instructors, the ice is always in shape, and we have a great time in the picturesque mining town of Ouray. If you have never tried ice climbing, then you are in for a fantastic experience. We are seeing more and more repeat participants each year as people try out the sport. With a small student/instructor ratio you will develop skills rapidly.

Many thanks to all of the participants of the Ouray courses in 2001:

  • Guides Jeff Ward, Jake Norton, Chris Booher, Ben Marshall and Mark Cionek.
  • Veterans trip Jan.4-8, Steve Bomar, Alan Dale, Greg Fowler and Jeff Johnson.
  • Jan. 8-10 private, Jeff Barefoot and Doug Peterman
  • Jan. 25-29, Heather Hammond, Dan Nemoto, Guy Orangio, Nola Royce, Marc Sargis and Ed Steele.
  • Feb. 2-4, Bob Gerchen, Jana Hoyer, Ray Kopcinski, Ray Kopcinski Jr., Andrew Land, Dale Nance.
  • Feb. 9-11, Greg Bensch, Dee Connors, Adam Connors, Travis Parigi, Melissa Liska and Roy Lewis.
  • Feb. 12-14 private, Dan Cummiskey, Keith Cummiskey, Mark Erickson, Paul Later, Joe Ladowski and Eric White.
  • Feb. 16-18 private, Rob Richards, Sam Quigley and Justin Quigley.
  • Feb. 22-26, Tim Barber, Clif Cassidy, Clinton Cavett, Peter Schmaltz, Jayashree Srinivasan and Carl Werts.
  • Feb. 27-Mar. 1, Bill Cossaboom, Susan Lansil, Jeff Wells and Peter Zuzga.

George Dunn and IMG guide in specific areas surrounding the town of Ouray located on the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison National Forests under special use permit from the Forest Service, USDA.

Mt. Whitney, California

Whitney is a great climb. Whether you are seeking exposure to snowshoeing and winter camping, an introduction to ascending fixed rope, or just the highest summit in the contiguous U.S., an ascent of Whitney is a terrific experience. We make it even better by tackling it in the spring as a snow climb via the Mountaineers Route.


The winter of 2001 was snowy in the Sierra, and we approached the start of our programs with concern about all of the snow and previous bad weather. As luck would have it, the first two programs I led turned out clear and sunny. We had no problem summiting. Unfortunately, the third program did not fare so well. I had a previous commitment in Alaska, and left just as nasty weather moved in. As it was recounted to me, the group experienced some very high winds and lots of snowfall. They had to beat their way back down from high camp without a shot at the summit and were just glad to get back down off the mountain in one piece. We have only missed summiting on two climbs since 1996, so I will keep my fingers crossed for 2002!

I contract the Whitney program with my friend and fellow Rainier guide, Kurt Wedberg. Kurt guides on Whitney under permit with the Inyo National Forest.

Many thanks to all of the participants of the Mt. Whitney climbs in 2001:

  • Guides, Neil Satterfield, Paul Maier, Chris Ecklund and Bill Ossofsky.
  • March 23-26, Dan Backer, Scott Durcanin, Michel Etchebarne, Robert Friedman, Mark Goodman, Jack Goodman, Michael Kisska, Thomas Manett, Steve Russell, Chris Tschinkel, and Tim Ulrich.
  • March 30-April 2, Terry Belden, Julia DeBold, Ted Brown, Andrew Buerger, Mark Cole, Stanford Crane Jr., Ray Kopcinski, Jerry Mills, Jeff Rollins, and Robert Roos.
  • April 5-8, Terry Freeman, Jack Hibbard, Randy Homes, David Pippen, Julie Pippen and Gordon Reiter.

High Alaskan Ascents, Wrangell/St. Elias National Park


I love W/St.E National Park and will continue to visit and climb there for as long as I can. This is a part of Alaska that everyone should visit at least once in his or her life. It is an incredibly beautiful place to climb. We did two trips in 2001. Unfortunately, the weather was not the best in Alaska last year during the month of April. I lead a trip to Mt. Blackburn (16,200'), a spectacular Liberty Ridge type of climb and had a bit of luck with the weather. In fact we made it up to high camp thinking we were going to summit only to be beaten back down by a storm our last couple of days. The second trip was a repeat visit to Mt. Bona (16,421') and the group failed to summit as well. The weather was poor just when it needed to be good, and ruled out a summit day for the group. I don't plan to revisit Mt. Blackburn again until 2003, but hope to do a new route on Bona in April of 2002.

Many thanks to all of the participants of the Alaskan trips:

  • Mt. Blackburn, April 17-28: Steve Bomar, Perry Julien, Matthew Lancto and Pat luke. Guides George Dunn and Chris Booher.
  • Mt. Bona, April 24-May 5: Jeanette DeBar, Joseph Cohen, Charlie Conatser and Stanford Crane, Jr. Guides Chas Day and Jay Pape.

Mt. Logan

Mt. Logan is the Canadian equivalent of Denali. Only it is a bigger massif than Denali, more remote and with relatively few visitors. My kind of mountain! I wasn't able to fit in going myself last year, but the trip was capably led by Swiss-American guide Freddie Grossniklaus and Chas Day (his fourth visit to Logan now). The group moved along pretty well all and all and made it to high camp. The guides were quite worried about the winds and cold temperatures on the upper mountain and decided that there would only be a summit bid if conditions were reasonable. As luck would have it, conditions were not the best. The group descended from high camp and all returned home safely. Some would call the trip a failure, I would call it a success.

Many thanks to all of the participants of the Mt. Logan expedition:
Tom Burch, Robert Friedman, Barb Gurtler, Bill Hanlon, Jack Jakobczyk, Mark Sproles, and guides Freddie Grossniklaus and Chas Day.

Northern Italy and the Dolomites

This program is developing into one of my classic trips. Beautiful scenery, a lovely tour of Northern Italy, a nice mix of glacier climbing and rock peaks and great food! What more can you ask for?

Many thanks to all of the participants of the Dolomites trip in 2001:
Bob Glazner, Leba Shallenberger, Carston and Peggy Johannsen, Larry and Dorothea Smith, Tim and Janet Wiglesworth. Guides Brent Okita and Paul Maier.

Classic Climbs in the Alps

I never fail to have a spectacular experience in the Alps. Part of it is being able to climb in one of the most beautiful mountain ranges in the world. Another big draw is the pleasant contrast between the French and Swiss cultures. The best part of the trip for me is the fun group of engaging people this trip never fails to attract. 2001 was no exception. I will look back with pleasure on the great experience we shared for many years to come.

Many thanks to all of the participants of the Alps program in 2001:
Steve and Marti Davis, Richard and Sylvie Hill, Mark O Day, Jay Riley and Jim Swetnam. Guides George Dunn and Dave Hahn.

The Matterhorn


Well, it all came together this year on the Matterhorn program. We wore ourselves out climbing 4,000 meter peaks around the Zermatt area. The group was able to summit the Breithorn, Castor, Pollux and the Central Breithorn. When it came time to climb the Matterhorn, the weather and conditions were perfect. Our group didn't have great success, only one of six climbers actually summited the Matterhorn. However, all members gave it their best and climbed as high as they could while still maintaining a margin of safety. A special commendation to Chris Fragakis and Dave Hahn for actually summiting the Matterhorn. An extra special thanks goes to Johan Sandstrom who turned back with me at the Solvay Hut. Johan was climbing very strongly, but accepted my decision to turn back with the rest of the group for safety reasons.

Thanks guys, you were the best!
Stan and Mary Erickson, Chris Fragakis and Allison Sarubin-Fragakis, Monie Lindsey, Jeff and Shari Roberts, Johan and Marci Sandstrom. Guides, George Dunn, Dave Hahn and Jake Norton.

I figure by the end of my newsletter only friends, interested past participants and Mom are reading. So here is an update on my own schedule if you would like to join me in person on a trip in 2002. I underwent successful back surgery (a micro diskectomy) on October 23,2001. I should be all rehabbed by the end of December and ready to go again. It is a great relief to get rid of that nagging back pain!

I continue to work as a guide for Rainier Mountaineering, Inc. and I am director of their winter expedition seminars. I'll be leading some of those programs in late December, January and February on Mt. Rainier. This is great exposure to cold weather, high altitude expedition training, all right here in the States.

I'll be spending a limited time in Ouray CO, this winter and will be leading programs at least from Jan. 24 through Feb. 1, perhaps longer if my schedule will allow it. I'll be on two of the Whitney programs myself, April 4-7 and April 11-14. I will go to Mt. Bona this year, April 18-29 to try a new line on the 16,000' mountain and currently plan to lead the Logan expedition in May. I won't be leading the Alps programs this year, Paul Maier is slated to head them up, but hope to attend the Dolomites trip with Brent Okita. I will be on Rainier working for RMI for the rest of the summer, my one Liberty Ridge climb will be the first weekend of June, and I'll be doing a limited number of private trips June through September. Be sure to contact RMI directly with any questions about Mt. Rainier. Whatever your plans are for 2002, I wish you success and happiness, and I'll hope to be able to hook up with you sometime, somewhere for another adventure.

New programs: As this newsletter goes to press I am working on two new programs: We hope to organize a climb of the classic peak, Alpamayo in Peru for May 15-30, 2002. Jeff Ward will lead this trip. We are also working on a shorter program in Alaska, 8-10 days in the Chugach Range or the Wrangells. This trip will be focusing on glacier travel, route finding and advanced alpine climbing skills. It will attempt to fill a skills void for those who have done Mt. Rainier but want more detailed and extensive training before they go on to some of the steeper and higher alpine climbs. Drop me a note if you have any questions.

I'll hope to see you in the mountains this coming year!

George Dunn International Mountain Guides Director
George is simply the best at what he does. Hands down. George's trips are well planned, he doesn't miss any details. George puts the safety of each person first and foremost. If you want to learn from the best, climb with George Dunn.
~Bruce G
I have to say, in my opinion, IMG ran one excellent expedition! I have done and do many sports that can get very dangerous very quickly if they are not managed correctly or respected accordingly. You nailed it!
~Mark
 

Phil Ershler's 2001 Expeditions

Our annual newsletters have always served as a fun way for us to recap last year's adventures and to thanks our friends for joining us and sharing the challenges and rewards. I'll do that, again, in this newsletter but first want to express my sympathies to all those who lost family and friends during the attacks on September 11, 2001. Let's all stay strong, take care of each other and help America and the world get through this current challenge.

Vinson Massif, Antarctica

Shortly after writing last year's newsletter, I took off for Antarctica with a group of four climbers. I always enjoy heading back to Antarctica and Vinson Massif. My team always seems to be made up of climbers with whom I've done many other expeditions and who have become good friends over the years. Combine that with the excitement of going to "The Ice" and you've got the making of a hell of a trip.

Phil Ershler

We were 100% successful. All of us reached the summit and came down without a scratch. The only problem was that it took us a month to get the job done. The climb was straight forward - seven days up and down. It was the flying that caused the problems. We had weather delays on every leg of the trip. We did get very good at playing 'hearts'. I won a large amount of money. We actually returned to the States on December 23rd and, as a Christmas present to the team, I forgave their gambling debts. A long trip but any time we shake hands with the entire team on the summit, I'm happy.

I'll be going back to the Ice in November 2002. It's not an inexpensive trip but I've never had anyone regret going down and experiencing that amazing continent. Will you be going with me?

My congratulations to David Whitney, Frank Howington, Andrew Lufkin and John Waechter.

Ecuador

I didn't have much time to rest up after the Vinson trip before leaving for Ecuador. Ecuador is not a tourist destination for most Americans and boy, are they making a big mistake. What an incredible country. Everything from the ocean, to the jungle, to mountains over 20,000 ft. high. All is a fairly small geographic area. Cotopaxi and Cayambe were the peaks we climbed during the January 2001 expedition. Chimborazo wasn't in good condition and Cayambe makes a great alternative.


The climbing is only part of what makes this trip so much fun. We visit several great haciendas, markets and sightseeing venues. We also work and climb with some of Ecuador's best. Romulo Cardenas and Jorge Anhalzer make this trip a simply incredible two weeks.

My congratulations to Ephraim Ulmer, Raymond Kozloski, Stephen Hoffman, Cole Hanley, Dave Cowin, David Dittman, Tim O'Toole, Trent Carey and Annie Freter.

I like Ecuador so much that I went back again in June 2001. I literally, spent one day at home after returning from a spring Everest expedition before getting on a plane and joining my team in Ecuador. That shows how much I enjoy that trip.

We, once again, climbed Cotopaxi and Cayambe. We actually climbed Cotopaxi twice. The first attempt found the team just short of the summit. Snow/avalanche conditions, weather, etc. made the last hour questionable. We retreated and headed to the Hacienda La Cienega to relax. But, the next day the weather was so amazingly good that we couldn't resist. After an incredible dinner at the Hacienda San Augustin, we put on the boots and headed uphill. It wasn't easy, it may even have been a bit crazy, but we did it.

Cayambe was next and the hot springs of Papallacta were a welcome reward. Only a little beer was consumed while we enjoyed the baths.

My congratulations to David Pederson, Peter Hendrycks, Norman Beal, Ted Kilpatrick, Patrick Montoya, Jeffrey Quan, Twana Fox and the always amazing Jill Jones.

I'll be in Ecuador in December 2001 and February 2002 climbing with private groups. Putting a group of family and friends together is a great way to do a trip. We can put together a trip itinerary to meet your specific desires. Not a bad idea.

I'll also be leading the January 2002 group. Come with me and check this country out. You won't be disappointed.

Mount Aconcagua, South America

A lot of climbers think Aconcagua is a good warm up for a McKinley climb. I think it might be the other way around. Aconcagua is a serious challenge. It is a BIG mountain and that summit day is one of the most demanding you'll ever encounter. I admire the tenacity and perseverance of those who climb this mountain.

We had two group on Aconcagua this past year. Both teams were successful. Those who reached the summit should feel very proud. John Lucia and Adam Angel led the January 2001 team and Craig Van Hoy and Kent Wagner headed up the February 2002 expedition.

We'll be on the mountain again this winter. Pack your expedition down jacket and your hiking shorts and join us. You'll encounter a bit of everything on this Andean giant.

My congratulations to Gary Dietrich, Thomas Demerly, Rasa Poorman, Linda Elleson, Eric Larson, William Gibson and Charlie Hyde.

Mount Elbrus, Russia

We had the all time SWEET Elbrus expedition this summer. Every day was perfect. I'm not sure we'll ever see the weather this nice, again. We went in through St. Petersburg and spent a day and a half seeing the sights in that city before heading to the mountains. We had a great time seeing the Hermitage, St. Isaac's Cathedral, the Fortress of Peter and Paul, etc.


The weather continued to be flawless during our time in the Caucasus Mountains. We first did an acclimatization hike and followed that with a day of training on a nearby glacier. Then we headed for Elbrus and all twelve of us saw the summit. What a TEAM. Let me extend a special commendation to David Whitney. He wasn't feeling the greatest on the summit day but just wouldn't quit. He and I took a little extra time and nailed it. Way to go, Dave. He actually went with me to Kilimanjaro right after the Elbrus trip and coasted up that one, too. Dave climbed Vinson, Elbrus and Kilimanjaro with me in seven months. Dave is an official member of my 401K team.

We spent a day sightseeing and one day ice climbing before flying to Moscow. Most people don't have a chance to get back to Russia a second time so we try to see as much of the country as possible. We visited Moscow University, the Kremlin, Red Square, St. Basil's Cathedral, the GUM, etc. before heading home. You can bet that we'll be doing another trip to Elbrus in August 2002.

Just like in Ecuador, I work with some fantastic people in Russia. Igor Tsarouk is an old friend, a great climber and a super companion. These friendships add immeasurably to the quality of our programs. That, plus the fact that we had an amazing group of climbers on the team. Talk about 'bonding'. This group was a pleasure, albeit a little crazy. We've already got trips planned for Ecuador in February and Vinson in November. And, I think, that's just the beginning. Thanks, you guys.

My congratulations to Ben Browne, Peter Raphael, David Whitney, Brian Scantamburlo, Sam Wiedermann, Kevin McCall, Todd Eichhorn, Paul Pender and James Gardner.

Mount Kilimanjaro

Always successful and always enjoyable. That is the way to sum up Kilimanjaro trips. The combination of a fun climb and great game viewing is hard to beat. We've been doing the trip for twelve years now and I never tire of going. That kind of long term track record also allows us to establish great working relationships with our Chagga guides and porters, safari drivers and all the people who take care of us during the expedition.

We put together a trip for a private group in August. Craig Van Hoy led that trip for me since I was in Russia at the time. They did a great job, simply no problems. Again, this was a group of family and friends who got together for a great adventure.

My congratulations to Graeme Bell, Manami Hara, Patrick Gray, Justin Gray, John Pena and Helmut Grasberger.


After climbing Elbrus in early August, I flew to Africa and met our second Kilimanjaro team of the summer. We had another successful and enjoyable trip. We even had a newlywed couple on the team. Andrew Carafelli and Kristine Sharp figured that Kilimanjaro would make a great honeymoon. Actually, Andy figured it would make a great honeymoon. Kristine had other ideas but she was a trooper, climbed strong and got the job done. Andy just sent me some great photos from the trip and I may be posting a couple on the web site.

My congratulations to Andrew Carafelli, Kristine Sharp, Koby and Noam Ben-Zvi, Lee McClenaghan, Steve Wilson, Randy Mueller, David Whitney, Virginia Cummings, Janine Susan, Shari Lindsey and Lori Nyland.

Our last Kilimanjaro team just returned home on October 7, 2001. I was actually scheduled to leave for Kili with a private group when the attacks of September 11th occurred. We had another team that was scheduled to leave for Kilimanjaro on September 23rd, also. No one was interested in canceling. We just had to put a plan together to accommodate everyone. Flights were adjusted, vacation days moved and the groups got together and went to East Africa and climbed Kilimanjaro. Craig Van Hoy and Kent Wagner accompanied the team. I was impressed to see how committed everyone was and how willing they were to be flexible and just make things happen. Well done, gang.

My congratulations to Mike Goetz, Kristine Raymond, Paul Eklund, Jeffrey Price, Karen Price, Marc and Kimberlee Volluz, Gary Iverson, Linda Tanner, Kathryn Fink, Nathan Fink, Vickie and David Stiteler.

I'll be on Kilimanjaro again in August and September 2002. It's a great trip to do with friends, a spouse or one of your children. The August trip is always scheduled to be home before school starts. You've got to find time in your schedule to do this trip.

Bhutan

We had a special trip scheduled for this month in Bhutan. I had expected to be there right now. My good friend and legendary Sherpa, Nawang Gombu, was joining us for a three week trip to this remote and unique Himalayan Kingdom. The attacks on America on September 11th caused the team to rethink going this year. Some people had concerns and were uncertain, some were determined to go and some simply felt this was the wrong time. We talked a lot and tried to make the right decision. We ended up canceling the trip for this year but Gombu and I are already planning for October 2002. I have no intention of missing an opportunity to see Bhutan in the company of Nawang Gombu. How about you?

Everest

Many of you know that my wife, Susan, and I took a shot at Everest this past spring. I had always said that the worst possible scenario would be if we went over there, had a great trip, and didn't summit. Guess what happened? We went, had a super trip and missed the top by 1,400 ft. I was the one who had a problem on the summit morning. My corneas started to freeze and I couldn't see worth a hoot. So, you know where we'll be next spring. Anyone interested in joining us?


Susan and I stayed together but two of our team stayed with it and got to the summit. Congratulations to Greg Wilson and John Waechter. John has now completed the Seven Summits with us. This is a SUPER BIG DEAL. We started climbing together in the early 90's and now he's got all SEVEN. Everest was the last in John's quest for the Seven Summits. We very proud of John and of IMG for making it possible. Each of the climbs was successful on the first attempt. That's one heck of an accomplishment. Greg has climbed and guided with us for years and also has the Seven Summits. Kind of fun to be part of their success.

My congratulations to Greg Wilson, John Waechter, Charlie Peck and Susan Ershler.

We also had a group of friends who trekked with us to Everest base camp last spring. It was fun to share the adventure with them and we really appreciated their support and encouragement.

My congratulations to Bill Harper, Alan Worden, David Wolfe, John Whetzell, Wynne Leon, Mary Luhn, Statia Peakheart, Shawn Peck, Tony Whittemore and Julie Langslet.

We'll be doing trips to Mexico, Ecuador and Aconcagua this winter. Another Ecuador trip, a trip to Elbrus in Russia and two trips to Kilimanjaro will be going on next summer. Then it's Bhutan, Mexico and Vinson Massif in the fall of 2002. I hope you'll find the time to join me on another adventure.

Phil Ershler International Mountain Guides Director
You surpassed all my expectations as a guide and as a human being. You are one of the lucky individuals who make it possible for people like me to live their dreams. Thanks for a memorable adventure...
~Hank W.
I want to take a few minutes to write you and let you know that you have one happy customer!!! I've already started spreading the IMG word to folks who have dreamed of doing this. Hearing me talk about it they can see how easy it is: just a phone call away, and it's taken care of, all you have to do is show up — literally.
~Dolly K.
 
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