Phil Ershler's 2002 Expeditions
Some years are better than others and some years are simply great. 2001/2002 was a very successful year for climbers on my programs and for me personally. Let's hope that 2003 can be just as successful.
I thoroughly enjoy climbing with our customers and do so every chance I get. That's one of the things that distinguish IMG programs from many others on the market today. George, Eric and I are out in the field with our teams as often as is possible. Hopefully, you'll be able to find the time to join us in 2003. Visit the web site and find a trip that looks interesting or give us a call with your ideas for a private group trip. We're anxious to help provide you with rewarding and enjoyable mountain experiences.
Our November 2002 Mexico trip went off without a hitch. But that seems to be the case with most of our Mexico programs. What a sweet way to climb two peaks around 18,000 feet, get some sun, drink a couple of beers and do it all within a one week period. Obviously I'm prejudice, but our Mexico Volcanoes itinerary has to be the best available. Very few groups go to the effort and expense that we do when we take our group up the Ayoloco Glacier route on Ixtacciuatl via a remote approach. But, it's a much more interesting and enjoyable way to climb Ixta.
One of our team members had to return home early because of some family issues but all the other climbers reached the summit of both peaks. I was assisted by Ed Leas and our wives, Melinda and Susan, also climbed with us. Ed and Melinda had so much fun that they went home and had a baby. Congratulations to them both.
Congratulations to Knox Kerr, Stephen King, Matthew Piedmonte, James Fifis, David Jantzen, David Thompson, Todd Eichhorn, Kevin McCall, Howard Putter, Melinda Leas and Susan Ershler
This trip is always fun and our 2002 programs were no exception. We conducted three Ecudor trips in 2002. All were highly successful and enjoyable experiences.
Our January 2002 trip had the best weather I've seen in years. Each day seemed to be better than the last.
Chimborazo has not been in good condition lately but Cayambe makes for a great alternative. I rarely miss an opportunity to go to this incredible country. Plus, we work with the best local guides and have done so since 1979. Without a doubt, the people with whom you're climbing make all the difference. Don't miss this trip. We'll be in Ecuador in January and June 2003. Visit the web site page, fill out the forms and join me.
Congratulations to Kent McClelland, Mike Bourdo, Glen Wright, Jack Palmer, Greg Hritchko, Daniel Federowicz, Paul Greenberg and James McGuire.
We do a second trip each year in June. There is typically another good weather window at that time. Chris Booher led the June trip for me as I had just returned from Mt. Everest. Chris is a strong technical climber and a great guide. The June 2002 team climbed both Cotopaxi and Cayambe and had a great time. Many are already scheduling a trip to Elbrus for next summer.
Congratulations to Ward Hendon, Julia Debold, Terry Belden, Gary Lee, Steven Larson and Ted Brown.
I also led two private group trips to Ecuador last winter. If you have a group of friends or family, this is a great way to climb on YOUR schedule and to customize YOUR program to best suit YOUR requirements. Tommy Harper put a group of his friends together and we went down to Ecuador in December 2001. I think it's fair to say that the team more than enjoyed Ecuador and I enjoyed sharing it with them.
Congratulations to Tommy Harper, Anthony Galluzo, Jerry Wise, Bracken Brown, Rob Shrieve and Jeff Swetnam.
We had another private group in February 2002. Most of these guys didn't know one another until we climbed together in Russia in August 2001. They all got along so well that they decided to do more climbs together. They still seem to like each other and are scheduling climbs to Antarctica this fall and McKinley next spring. I'll go with these guys anywhere.
Congratulations to Peter Raphael, Kevin McCall, Ben Browne, James Gardner, David Jantzen, Sam Wiedermann, Todd Eichhorn and Susan Ershler.
Cerro Aconcagua, Argentina
There is nothing easy about climbing Aconcagua. It's not like climbing Kilimanjaro and shouldn't be looked at that way. This is a demanding trip physically and remains a serious high altitude challenge.
We had a nice group of people on our February 2002 team. They successfully climbed Aconcagua under the leadership of Mark Tucker, Chip Madeley and Dave Hanning. It's never easy to summit Aconcagua but this team did a great job of taking care of each other and keeping their eye on the prize. Their efforts paid off with a great summit. I want to specifically commend Charlie Hyde. He attempted the mountain in 2001. Charlie didn't summit on that first attempt but stayed focused and went back this year and nailed it. You should be proud, Charlie.
Congratulations to Patrick Montoya, Alan Rebernik, Garfield Prebor, Charlie Hyde, Martin Rothberg, Christian Axel, Donna Moore, Ron Axel and Dan Byrne.
We'll be back on Aconcagua this winter as we have been since 1981. Will you be with us?
Mount Elbrus, Russia
I like trips when 100% of the team members reach the summit. That's exactly what happened on our August 2002 expedition.
We had 10 climbers on the team and 10 climbers reached the summit. Nice job, gang.
2003 will be the 300th anniversary of the city of St. Petersburg. There were numerous restoration project underway when we were there this summer and next summer should be a great time to see the city. One of the nice points of our Russia itinerary is the fact that we visit both St. Petersburg and Moscow. Most of us won't get to Russia on a regular basis and you'd be crazy not to take every advantage of the opportunity while you're there.
We'll have organized tours in both St. Petersburg and Moscow. We also have the opportunity to spend a couple of days doing technical training in the Caucasus prior to our Elbrus climb. It makes for a nice package. Combine that with the fact that we are able to climb with a great Russian friend, Igor Tsarouk. Let me emphasize that people like Igor make the difference between a good trip and a great trip. The people with whom you share your experiences are the single most important factor in your enjoyment of a climb.
The August 2003 trip is rapidly filling. Don't delay if you're serious about joining me next summer.
Congratulations to Dennis Honeychurch, Gary Lindberg, Lewis Nescott, George Bryce, Jeff Bryce, James Abend, John Newell, Robert Seeds, Richard Schmidt and the ever amazing Jill Jones.
Kilimanjaro Climb & Safari, Africa
It's almost impossible to not enjoy this trip. The climb is a good workout and loads of fun and the safari is the ultimate finale. Our current itinerary is better than ever.
We take a full 7 days to climb the Machame route and descend the mountain. That means you'll have plenty of time to acclimatize, get to high camp early in the day and have an excellent shot at the summit. We have never missed in all the trips we've conducted.
We fine tuned our safari schedule for 2002. It begins with a charter flight to the Serengeti and continues with game viewing at Ngorongo Crater and Tarangire, staying at some of the nicest lodges available. You really need to find the time to join us.
Our 2002 trips went off without a hitch. We have great, long-term relationships with our African outfitters and they do a consistently good job of taking good care of us while we're in Tanznia. The August 2002 team was led by the infamous Mark Tucker. I know people will have fun when Mark is at the helm.
Congratulations to David and Mary Schlimme, Adam and Sarah Schwartz, Stan Krzysik, Ishtaj Rahman, Gina Tringali, Eileen, Colin and William Golden and Jeff and Beth Killion.
Jeff Ward led all members of the September 2002 team to the summit. What a team! I want to especially commend Al Worden. Al is an old friend who did a super job getting into good shape for this trip and staying focused on taking care of himself and getting to Uhuru, the true summit of Kilimanjaro.
Congratulations to Alan Worden, David Wolf, Franc Roddam, David Nochimson, Larry and Jana Long, Thomas and Roberta Dunn, Stephen King, Alan Carnes, John McCoy and William Denk.
Our October 2002 is now home. With John Race leading the climb, I felt confident that the team would have no trouble reaching the summit and enjoy seeing lots of wildlife on safari. That was indeed the case.
Congratulations to Stephanie Hutchinson, Erin and Kevin Hart, Heather Neumann, Carla Chieffo, Chad Allen, Gail Bredis, Nicola Hunn and Stewart Fleming.
I always enjoy climbing with our customers but I also enjoy working towards personal climbing goals. As many of you know, my wife, Susan and I have been working towards completing the Seven Summits together as a married couple.
Not an easy project but one I wouldn't have missed for the world. There's an old saying about 'joy being doubled because it was shared'. It's true.
I want to thank my partner, Eric Simonson, for letting Susan and me tag along (he still charged us) on his successful 2002 Everest expedition in Nepal. On May 16, 2002, Susan and I reached the summit of Everest together.
Things worth doing aren't necessarily easy and Everest certainly wasn't for us. We first planned to go in 2000. I found myself in a hospital a couple of times in the fall of 1999, battling complications from a couple of major surgeries and then spending several months trying to recover. But, short term set backs don't have to result in failure. Not unless you quit. The spring of 2001 found us on Everest at 27,500 feet. An eye problem kept us from going further but we were very happy with our performance. I had always said that the worst thing that could happen on Everest that year was for us to go, do well, have a good experience and then not summit. If that happened, I knew where I would be spending the spring of 2002.
One of the difficulties with doing the Seven Summits together was that everything had to be 'right' on the summit day but it had to be 'right' for two people at the same time. Lots of room for error. However, sometimes you just get lucky. Remember the old saying about luck being when opportunity meets preparedness? That the way it was for us on May 16, 2002. The weather was great, our Sherpa crew was great and we were ready. We reached the summit, I turned to Susan and said, "you made it, baby". I had stood alone on the summit on October 20, 1984 after having climbed the North Side of Everest. That was a great day for me. This was better.
Susan and I wish to sincerely thank all of you who followed our progress. We carried your thoughts and good wishes with us to the summit.