George Dunn's 2003 Expeditions
A big thank you to everyone who climbed with me in 2003!
I am a goal-oriented individual, so I am always looking ahead to the next exciting program. Here is a hint: check for the programs I'll be attending personally. I don't have time in my life anymore for boring or run of the mill climbs. I only go on the programs that have real appeal either due to the quality of the climbing or the especially unique experience. Here is what has me excited for 2004:
Ouray CO Ice Climbing - Ice climbing in Ouray is hard to beat. It is a great way to gain some skills on ice and confidence on steeper terrain, and the most fun you can possible imagine in the middle of winter. Combining the trip with a bit of downhill skiing in Telluride makes this the perfect winter getaway. I always go to Ouray every year. It is a terrific experience. Trust me. We have regularly scheduled 3 and 5-day programs. The 5-day programs are the best, they allow time to develop your skills, then put them to use on fun climbs. If our schedule doesn't work for you, then make up your own. The cost is the same for a private trip if you have 2 or more climbers. Choose the dates you want to come, and we will set up a program that suits you! Any time from January through February is the best.
Valdez, AK Veteran's Ice Climbing - Last year's trip was a great success, and leaders Jeff Ward and Chris Booher will be returning in 2004. I hope to go along with them this year to see this unique area and do some fun multi pitch ice climbs in Keystone Canyon. This is for past ice climbing participants only. You need to be comfortable following Grade III and IV climbs. March 1-5, 2004.
Mt. Hayes, AK - I have had my eye on Mt. Hayes for a couple of years now. You can see it on the eastern edge of the Alaska Range from Mt. Sanford and Blackburn. I haven't heard of anyone guiding this before, and it sounds like a climb right up my alley - a bit more challenging, moderately steep slopes and the total Alaskan experience! We'll be heading to Mt. Hayes the last two weeks of April. You need to have been on a past expedition and have some steeper climbing under your belt to participate in this one.
Mt. Whitney, CA, winter snow climb via the Mountaineer's Route - I go on two of the Whitney climbs every year. It is a great escape to a sunnier, more scenic climate, and the climb of Whitney is a wonderful experience. It has all the ingredients of a classic snow climb - a great next step for those who want to get some more climbing under their belts. I like to do a Whitney climb then spend a couple of days skiing at Mammoth Ski Area. I contract the Whitney climbs with friend and fellow Rainier guide, Kurt Wedberg of Sierra Mountaineering. Kurt operates under permit in Inyo National Forest.
Mt. Bona, AK - We had an excellent trip to the seldom visited Russell Glacier on Bona two years ago, but missed the summit on our last day. I feel like this is unfinished business and I am going back one last time to this remote side of the mountain to top it off. The Bona trip is the last two weeks of May. This is a great first time to Alaska expedition, with good exposure to glacier travel and expedition life.
Mt. Logan - Mt. Logan is back on the roster for 2004 in mid-May. I'd be leading the trip except for my Hayes and Bona trips. The expedition will be led once more by the very competent Vince Anderson. This three-week expedition requires strong backcountry skiing skills.
Mt. Adams Seminars - I have taken over leadership of IMG's Adams Glacier Seminars on Mt. Adams in Washington State. I wanted to create the perfect 5-day glacier training seminar to use as a basis for training future climbers in the fundamentals of glacier travel. Another plus is we get to climb the more remote side of Mt. Adams via the North Ridge or the Adams Glacier. The plan to use this program to school climbers prior to expeditions to Alaska, South America and the Himalayas. June 14-18 and June 28-July 2, 2004.
The Alps - We have some big changes in store for the Alps programs in 2004. I decided to break my normal routine of visiting every other year and go back in 2004 to see these take shape. We'll be offering a new "standard" program - a Mont Blanc and Monte Rosa Alpine Tour - visiting the two most famous massifs in the Alps. We'll spend 10 days in July traversing glaciers out of Chamonix and Zermatt, moving from hut to hut training in rock climbing and glacier climbing skills as we climb peaks along the way.
The ever popular, Classic Climbs in the Alps, starting the last week of July, will take on a slightly more advanced nature as it tackles the classic climbs: the Jungfrau; a traverse of the Mont Blanc Massif via the Cosmiques Hut; and Monte Rosa's highest summit, the Dufourspitz. These climbs require 2:1 guiding. Finally, the season will end with the classic Matterhorn program in August. It alone remains essentially unchanged. If you haven't visited Italy and the Dolomites yet, then this is the time to do so. The area is beautiful and the rock climbs are fun, athletic adventures with no previous rock experience necessary. This program runs in mid-July.
Alpamayo - This is one of the classically beautiful alpine faces in the world. You'll need the whole arsenal of climbing skills to attempt this one, excellent fitness, previous experience at high altitude, and the ability to follow ice of Grade III to IV for multiple pitches. Set for August 14-29, 2004 and led by the ever popular Jeff Ward.
As always, I will be spending a part of the summer guiding on Mt. Rainier for Rainier Mountaineering, Inc. I'll start the season in early June with a climb of Liberty Ridge (May 30-June 2), followed by a first-ever guided climb of the Ptarmigan Ridge (June 6-9). I'll be leading a Camp Muir Seminar later in the summer, (September 27 to October 1) which I feel is the best place and time to really learn glacier travel skills, crevasse rescue and good cramponing practice. Come visit me on Rainier on one of these programs, or better yet, set up a private climb of Rainier with me.
Joshua Tree Rock Climbing in October is a new MUST for me. In 2003 I attended the program for the first time, and got hooked. The area is one of the best rock climbing centers of the world, the Park is high desert, warm, sunny and picturesque. The easy, relaxed camping is a pleasant way to wind up the summer. Joshua Tree gets my nod for Best Unsung Trip of 2003. I'll definitely be returning next year!
Come climb with me in 2004. If you have a unique group, or an interesting climb in mind, drop me a note. Let's put something interesting together.
Looking ahead to 2005
I already have some great programs in mind for 2005: Ice climbing in the Banff, Lake Louse area of Canada in February; a trip to the North Ridge of Universty Peak in Alaska, and a return to the Himalayas to lead a trek into Everest Base Camp and climb Island Peak in the spring. Plus, as always, I have a couple of secret projects in mind I can't reveal at this time. Drop me a note if you want to find out more!
2003 was definitely a stellar year. One of my best ever, but I always say that. I always mean it, too. Highlights include too many memories to list, but all of you who participated in programs know what I am talking about:
Ouray Ice Climbing, January and February 2003
This program just keeps building in interest. About half of our participants are now repeats from previous years, so it must be a good thing! Thanks to everyone who participated. There are so many, I'll just list you all in one group, but all of our programs consist of small groups of individuals, 2 to 6 in total.
Congratulations to Charles Allen, David Andrews, Donald Atkinson, Gail Bredis, Clif Cassidy, John Clark, Diana Connors, David Cullen, Dan Cummiskey, Cole Hanley, Charles Hill, Michael Hueser, Sam Insalaco, Joshua Knox, Ray Kopcinski Sr., Ray Kopcinski II, Elizabeth Krebs, Joe Ladowski, Paul Later, Greg Meyering, Dan Nemoto, Matthew Nofziger, Karen Northcutt, Jackie Paulson, Mark Reitman, Julie Rogers, Robert Roos, Marc Sargis, Dale Schmidt, Dori Schmidt, Doug Steakley, Sherry Steel, Nicholas Subashi, Xander Subashi, Catherine Thach, David Thompson, Steven Tooley, Ronald Verde Rose, Richard Villalobos, Carl Werts, Jimmie Worrell and Gregory Wuller.
Thanks to my crack team of guides as well, Jeff Ward, Chris Booher, Ben Marshall, Jake Norton and Mark Cionek.
Valdez, AK Ice Climbing, March 2003
Congratulations to the first participants of this new program. A good time was had by all and some hard climbs were done including Keystone Greensteps, a substantial Grade V climb.
Nola Royce, Greg Fowler, Jeff Johnson, Steve Bomar and guides Jeff Ward and Chris Booher.
Mt. Sanford, AK, April 2003
This turned out to be my most enjoyable climb in Alaska this year. We had a fun group, and held out during some windy conditions. The weather abated, and we went for the summit! The climbing afterwards was almost more fun than the summit.
Thanks to Charlie Larnard, Tim Burch, Bob Austin, Fred Mauren, Catherine Jablonsky, Bill Gibson and Mark O'Day. I was ably assisted by John Race and Olivia Cussen. Thank you, Olivia, for keeping John on his medication.
Mt. Whitney, CA, late April and May 2003
A great year with a series of successful climbs. This program is contracted with Sierra Mountaineering International, who operates under permit in Inyo National Forest.
Thanks to all the participants. Dennis Tweedy, Dale Gentle, Thomas Edelmann, Steven Pernerewski, Allen Sansano, Rita Simonitch, Thomas Odell, Sheldon Gilchrist, Josiah Garrison, Ken Klug, Gail Bredis, Paul Torrence, Michael Buerk, James Parell, Todd Cornelius, Peter Carney, Dale Carley, Jackie Paulson, Bob Larock. And hats off to the SMI guides, Neil Satterfield, Chris Ecklund and Kurt Wedberg.
Mt. Blackburn, AK, May 2003
Well, you can't win them all. A major storm dumped huge snow on the route just prior to our arrival. After three attempts shoveling our way up through head height snow, we called it quits and did some fun climbing on surrounding points. After 4 unsuccessful attempts, I'll never go back to Mt. Blackburn. I mean it! Don't try to talk me into it!
Thanks, however, to a great group who never gave up, never got mentally down and who built the best snowcave/entertainment complex I have ever seen (well, ok, the guides did most of it). Roger Pedigo, Gary Gurizzian, Kevin Vinnes, Timothy Jung, Perry "metalneck" Julien, and Pat Luke. Thanks to the great guides who helped lead the way, Jeff Ward and Casey Grom. Oh, and thanks for the pecans, Pat. I am still enjoying them. Gary, I still have your ski pole part. I'll send it soon, I promise!
Italy and the Dolomites, July 2003
This is the unsung gem of the European Programs. Brent Okita, who has done them all, says this is the best program he has ever done in Europe. Spectacular scenery, fun and enjoyable climbing, and great hospitality and cuisine. The Dolomites have it all.
Thanks to Jim and Katy Swetnam who joined Brent and Julie Okita in Italy last year.
Classic Climbs in the Alps I, July 2003
I added an extra Classics trip last year to meet demand. This first program was for some past participants and friends. Thanks to Bill Snyder, Steve Townsend, Jeff and Shari Roberts, Dennis and Kathleen Tyree, James Gardner and Rachel Baskette. Special thanks to Howie Schwartz, AMGA certified guide for leading the way for us. Despite a record dry summer and heat wave in the Alps, I feel we accomplished quite a bit and had a super time doing it. Congratulations to Steve Townsend who hung around after the trip and summited the Matterhorn with Howie.
Classic Climbs in the Alps II, August 2003
We made some changes for this program based on our experiences on the previous trip. This formed the idea for my new program changes for 2004.
Congratulations to Gail Bredis, Monica Rimai, Stacey Ries, Cynthia Williams, DeLane Frutiger and Walter Clark for being the experiment. Thanks to Vince Anderson, AMGA certified guide for coming up with all the good solutions. Thanks also to all of you for helping me to celebrate my 50th birthday in Europe! It was one of the best I can ever remember. Special congratulations go to Cindy Williams for staying on and summiting the Matterhorn with Vince.
The Matterhorn, August 2003
This program is always a tough one, but this year's team climbed and trained hard in anticipation of a long, fast, crowded rock climb up the Matterhorn. Everyone made it most of the way up, and half of the group summitted the Matterhorn. I salute Jill Jones, Deborah Maddox, Glenn Beaton and Allison Clark. Thanks to guides Vince Anderson and Howie Schwartz for leading the way.
Alpamayo, Peru, August 2003
I envisioned the Alpamayo climb to be a final challenge for past participants of IMG programs who have mastered ice climbing and completed some serious alpine routes. It is not an easy climb. This year proved to be no exception, as the mountain was not in good shape and no attempts were being made on it when the group arrived. The team focused on the neighboring Quitarahu, and succeeded in climbing a 15 pitch ice route up its face in a marathon summit day. Congratulations are indeed in order for Chris Nichols, Tad Linn and ace ice guide Jeff Ward.
Joshua Tree, October 2003
After a busy summer guiding in Europe and then finishing up on Rainier, it was a true joy to head down to the Joshua Tree rock climbing seminar in October. I really enjoyed myself and the group I shared the trip with. Thanks everyone for a great experience. Michael Claes, Dwight Oneil, Johnathan Felten, Matt Lancto, Cindy Williams and Bob LaRock. A hearty round a thanks too, for guide Jeff Ward. Thanks for having me along!OK, all you veterans. I am rested up from last year, spent all of November in the office, and now I want to get out and CLIMB! Let's make 2004 a memorable year. I'll bet we can do it.