International Mountain Guides Climbing and Mountaineering Expeditions

2004 Annual Report

Looking Back on a Year of Climbing and Trekking

 

Eric Simonson's 2004 Expeditions

Another year is almost gone, and I'm pleased to look back on another safe and successful season. We had some great trips, we got to climb with some first class people, and our business continues to thrive. Who would have thought, over 30 years ago, when Phil, Geo, and I started guiding together on Rainier, that we would still be climbing the world and still be such close friends after all these years. Amazing!

I wanted to say thanks to all of you who came out to one of the shows I did this past autumn on my lecture tour for Recreational Equipment Inc. Thanks for stopping by, I appreciate it!

Coming Up in 2005

I'd like to start by taking a quick look forward to the 2005 climbs that I am currently working on. We kick off the year with our great winter Kilimanjaro programs, during the January-February season, to be led by Adam Angel, and another Kilimanjaro climb in June to be led by Craig John. In March we will return to Mt. Everest with two expedition teams to the Nepal side of the mountain, under the leadership of Mark Tucker and Ang Jangbu. We will also be conducting programs to Khumbu Icefall, Island Peak, and Everest BC Trek. From the Tibet side, Justin Merle will lead the ABC trek. We already have a nice group forming up for this team, which will travel from Beijing to Lhasa, then to Tingri and on to Rongbuk Base Camp, then continue all the way up to Advanced Base Camp (over 21,000 feet, the highest point on earth that can be reached non-technically). Also in Tibet, we'll have a group of climbers going back to Cho Oyu in August, marking IMG's 14th expedition to the world's sixth highest peak.

For the summer, I'm looking forward to our 9th season conducting summit climbs on Rainier's Emmons Glacier with our guide service Mt. Rainier Alpine Guides www.rainierguides.com

Kilimanjaro Climb and Safari 2004

2004 was another good year for Kilimanjaro. This is a great trip, and we are proud of the fact that IMG has now run almost 200 Kili trips and has always made the top!! For 2004 I put together four groups, and personally joined two of them. Thanks to guides Craig John and Adam Angel for doing a terrific job keeping everyone safe. My June trip was notable in that I led a group of 20 boys and girls and adult leaders from BSA Venture Crew 53 in Lakewood, WA with my old friend Alan Billingsley (we were Eagle Scouts together back in the 1960's!), and we all made the summit: 14 youth and 6 adult leaders.

Congrats to everyone:

January Kili Team: Al and Linda DiOrio, Lars Fasel, Michael and Patrick Gahan, Charles Garcia, Justin Holmes, Leigh Hudgins, Brian Iwashnya, Sam and Karen Schroyer, Marc Tabereaux, and Edith Wilson, and Adam Angel (guide).

June Kili Team 1: Glen and Sherri Wright, David and Michael Paxton, Gary and Sydney Engle, Denise David, Adam Angel (guide).

June Kili Team 2: Nathan Blanchard; Thomas Blanchard; Andrew Reid-Munro; Isaiah Billingsley; Ellen Billingsley; Raheem Billingsley; Ian Billingsley; Valerie Turentine; Steven Ryan; Alan Billingsley; Debbie Billingsley; Mark Blanchard; Scott Billingsley, Linn Larsen, Sabrina Robison; Jenny Foster; Christopher Carr; Wyatt Larsen, Mark Hilliard, Eric Simonson (guide).

September private group: Brent Heffron; Andrew Gamble; Douglas Aldridge; Thomas Wilson; Robert Jones; John Culver; Richard Moore; Edwin Dalrymple; William McClean III; Brian Simpson; George Hart; Lewis Semones; William McClean IV; Roger Owens; Brad Bradley; John Cedarholm; Eric Simonson (guide).

Mt. Everest

Our 2004 expeditions on both the North and South sides in March-May marked the fifteenth and sixteenth Everest trips that I have been associated with. Like every years Everest climbs, these trips were again unique. About the only thing I can say for certain about Everest is that every time you go there, it will be a surprise! On the North Side our IMG ABC trekkers and North Col climbers, led by Jake Norton and Ang Jangbu, had a great trip with everyone making ABC. The "under the radar" search expedition that Jake and Dave Hahn subsequently accomplished is the stuff of legend! On the South side, the non-guided climbing team, led by Mark Tucker had another very successful trip, with seven successful summiters.

Congratulations to all the climbers and trekkers associated with the 2004 IMG Everest Expeditions:

Tibet side climbers: Dave Hahn, Jake Norton, Robert Eagle (producer), Michael Carling (cameraman), Deirdre Galbraith (doctor).

Tibet side ABC Trekkers and North Col climbers: Robert Rhoads, Andrew Davies, Elizabeth Lyman, Jeff Lyman, Jonathan Calvert, Ken Ruebush, Tom Ritchie, Steven Matz, Wendy Valentine, Jake Norton and Ang Jangbu (leaders).

Nepal side climbers: Kevin Flynn, Dan Barter, Brien Sheedy, Bruce Bramhill, Ron Hoglin, Swee Choiw, Willian Cross, John Matthews, Mike Dunnahoo, Brad Clement, Jason Tanguay, Mark Tucker (leader).

Nepal Base Camp trekkers and Island Peak Climbers: Kathleen O'Toole, Kelly Stewart, Richard Ripple, William Holbrook, Mark and Shelley Damm, Susan Ershler, Phil Ershler (leader)

Cho Oyu

We conducted Cho Oyu in the autumn season in 2004, our thirteenth expedition to the world's sixth highest mountain. This year marked our tenth consecutive year running Cho Oyu. Like Everest, Cho Oyu is different every year…that is what keeps it interesting! I'm pleased to report that under the leadership of Mike Hamill, Kami Sherpa, Ang Passang, Ang Jangbu Sherpa and Robert Goh from the Singapore Mountaineers/National University of Singapore team, that we had 23 summits this year, pushing our total in the last 10 years to over 125 Cho Oyu summiters.

Congratualations to:
Ang Jangbu Sherpa, Michael Hamill, David Schlimme, Nicholas Rice, Bruce Dailey, Larry Boersma, Ang Chhiring (Kami) Sherpa, Mingma Chhiring Sherpa, Dorjee Lama, Karma Rita Sherpa, Da Nuru Sherpa, Tashi Tseri Sherpa, Ang Pasang Sherpa, Kaji Sherpa, Mingma Tenjing Sherpa, Pemba Tshiri Sherpa, Robert Goh, Lim Kim Boon, Lulin Reutens, Shaffique Aljoofri, Lindley Zerbe, Chow E Fung, Ee Khong Lean, Ernest Quah, Teo Yen Kai

Cholatse

We ran a reconnaissance trip to Cholatse in autumn 2004. Congrats to guides Jess Roskelley and Adam Clark for climbing the peak and getting the beta on the route that Jess' dad John first climbed back in 1982. We are going to conduct this trip in 2006. If you are a good climber and want to do a difficult climb in Khumbu (something other than Ama Dablam…which is also good climb but is getting quite popular) please contact Eric or more info!

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 2004 Expeditions

Another great year has come and gone. I did some wonderful climbs with great people in unique and exciting parts of the world. A big thank you to each of you who participated in programs with me this year!

At the end of each year I like to reflect back on what made the past year especially successful and use that information to build and improve my programs for the following year. I believe I'm on the right track for some first rate trips in 2005. Input from each of you and your repeat attendance with me on new programs makes this an easy and rewarding task. Thank you!

Here's what I am looking forward to in 2005:

Any aspiring climber needs solid skills in the basics. IMG has some great new training programs. The real difference lies in a simple truth: They are as much fun as they are instructional.

My favorite new glacier training program is the Adams Glacier Seminar in June. What a great environment to train in! No crowds, a beautiful hike through forest clearing to alpine terrain with the mountain looming directly over us. On the secondseminar this year we watched a small herd of mountain goats migrate around our camp every day. Perfect training for future climbs like Denali or the Alps, with the added bonus of a challenging ascent via the Adams Glacier or the North Ridge. I'll be leading both trips again this year along with my repeat staff of guides, Kevin Slotterbeck, Mason Stafford and John Race.

Another great option for those interested in a first time trip to Alaska is the Marcus Baker Seminar in the Chugach Range near Anchorage. This is a great option if you wish to visit a pristine area yet have limited vacation time. The seminar runs 8 days round trip from Anchorage. Learn all the skills you will need for a future climb of Denali! This program is led by premiere guide, John Race.

Ok, so now you have some basic skills and you want to improve on them and expand your climbing horizon. Here are two fun ways to achieve some new skills and have the time of your life doing so:

Ouray Colorado is the finest ice training area in the world. Yes, it's true! The weather is usually sunny and not too cold; there are endless climbs to do in a concentrated area; and the picturesque former mining town of Ouray is a great environment to visit and hang out in the evenings. Climb all day, learn solid skills, soak in the hot tub, go out to dinner with your group in the evening, and then top it off with a real bed. My favorite winter program! I'll be there in late January joining the best and most consistent team of guides I've ever worked with: Jeff Ward, Chris Booher, Ben Marshall and Jake Norton. This is an elite team of who return every year. This year one new guide managed to squeak in: Matt Farmer. Matt will fit in very easily.

Is there life after Ouray? What could possibly top it? Banff Alberta. Once your skills are honed, it is time to take them up north to the Canadian Rockies, home of some of the best ice climbs in the world. This new program, set for March, 2005 spends 5 days near Banff and Lake Louise climbing area classics such as Professor Falls, Louise Falls and the Weeping Wall. Led by UIAGM/AFMGA certified guides Jeff Ward and John Kear. (Please call for more information on this limited enrollment program: 360-569-2609)

Every alpine climber needs a basic skills set for climbing rock. You don't need to be a 5.10 rock climber, but you do need to have confidence moving over rock in balance in boots or rock shoes, and this is easier said than done. Joshua Tree is one of the best rock climbing destinations in the world. This is a fantastic site… high desert, picturesque rock and perfect weather. A tremendous place to spend 5 days next October. I hope to return in 2005 with lead guide Jeff Ward.

OK, so you have done your homework and training and now you want to put it all to work with some closer to home, extended weekend climbs here in the states:

The best next step is a climb with IMG on Mt. Whitney in the spring. In early April we ascend the Mountaineer's Route up the East side of the mountain. This isn't the walkup via the trail! We snowshoe up to a base camp at 11,000 feet over two days. The climb involves steeper slopes and then practice on a fixed rope ascending the final 300 feet to the summit. A tremendous experience in the beautiful Eastern Sierrra. This program is contracted through Sierra Mountaineering, who holds a permit to guide in Inyo National Forest. The SMI staff is most capable and I enjoy climbing with them every year.

Another great option is to participate in IMG's North Cascades Program. With as few as one or two other friends, you can set up your own private climb in the North Cascades of Washington State. My recommendations include a 4-day ascent of picturesque Mt. Shuksan, working on your alpine skills, or a moderate level rock climb of the West Ridge of Forbidden Peak. You set the date and pick the peak; we'll provide the expert guide to help you realize your goal.

Ready for the big time? Without a doubt, Alaska is my destination of choice for North American climbers. It is easily accessible, reasonable in cost, and allows access to some of the best and more remote climbs in the entire world.

Mt. Sanford in April is a good first expedition. At over 16,000 feet, it is a BIG mountain, but not overly technical. We have managed to summit Sanford on both of our past attempts of this peak, so success is not elusive. However, we have experienced some pretty wild weather, and the summit has always been well earned. John Race will head this program up once again.

I always try to offer one unique climb each year in the Wrangell St. Elias Range, and this year it is the first guided attempt on the West Ridge of University Peak in May. This is a grade III climb, not unlike Liberty Ridge on Mt. Rainier, and will be a real challenge for our team. I can't wait.

Just across the border in the Yukon, Mt. Logan, 19,500', overshadows all other peaks in Canada. This is a classic expedition, everything Denali is excepting the crowds. Jeff Ward, UIAGM/AFMGA certified guide will head up this year's Logan expedition.

I like to offer new climbs every year, because I want to go on them! This year is no exception with a couple of new additions to the menu. I have always said I don't want to do "hiking peaks" until I get older. Well I'm older, and I still don't want to do them! Unless they are really spectacular and unique. I've actually done a couple already which I am even willing to admit to. These include a crossing of South Georgia Island with Dave Hahn and crew in 2003 and a trek into Island Peak and Everest Base Camp in 2002. Both were trips to remember and experiences of a life time.

So maybe I'll try a couple more. One that intrigues me a lot is a new program offered this year. A trek and exploration trip to Cuzco, Peru and Machu Picchu this August. This is not a new program; it has been developed and run in past years by the ever capable Jason Edwards. IMG will take over this program in 2005 for the first time and I want to go soon!

Machu Picchu not challenging enough for you? OK then, try Alpamayo on for size. This is a high mountain; with a technical ice climbing summit day. You won't find a more spectacular peak in the world!

And finally we get to the Alps. What a fun trip. I have gone as many years as I can since our programs started in 1987. It is always a great experience in every aspect. The Classics program is the quintessential climbing vacation and the Matterhorn, well, it's the Matterhorn. What else can you say about it? Just go to Zermatt if you have not been there yet, and look up at it looming over the town. It is awe inspiring.

Am I done yet? Not quite. I always have one great thing planned each year... Something to keep me training and focused on. This year it will be an expedition to Ama Dablam. One of the classic peaks in the world, it definitely is not overshadowed by its neighbor, Everest. Well, maybe a little. I dreamed this up last winter in Ouray watching Chris Booher's slide show of the trip he helped guide for IMG in 2003. Right then and there Jeff Ward and I signed on board with him. We already have some good team members lined up, Perry Julien, Pat Luke and Carl Werts. MG, Jay, Mark are you in? We'll take 6 climbers, 3 guides and IMG's unmatched team of Sherpas and do it right.

That's it, and I am excited about 2005. Come join me and my indomitable team of guides. We'll share a life experience.

—Geo Dunn

Looking back to 2004:

Ouray Ice Climbing December 2003 to February 2004
Thanks to ALL of the participants and the ever capable guides, Jeff Ward, Chris Booher, Ben Marshall, Jake Norton and Mark Cionek.

Dec. 4-6 private, Carl Werts and Joe Morales

Dec. 27-29 private, Nick and Xander Subashi

Jan. 9-11 Robb Maher and Peter Schnopp

Jan. 12-16 Veterans Program, Rex Schaberg, Bobby Green, Dan Nemoto, Cindy Williams, Gail Bredis and Marc Sargis

Jan. 26-30 Rachel Landon, David Thompson, Bob Austin, Charlie Larnard and Richard Keidan

Jan. 30-Feb.2 private, Dori and Dale Schmidt

Jan. 31-Feb. 2, Ken Klug, Thomas (TJ) Johnson, Jim Swetnam, Jay Riley and Marc Guttman

Feb. 3-4 private, Ken Klug and Marilyn (MG) Geninatti

Feb. 4-6, David McMillan, Craig Colvin, Clif Cassidy, Larua Van Puymbrouck, and Cary Myers

Feb. 16-18 private, Dan Cummiskey, Joe Ladowski, Kevin Kelly, Bill Pond, Paul Later and Mike Flynn

Feb. 21-22 private, Jonathan Calvert

Valdez Ice Climbing Seminar, March 1-5, 2004
Thanks to hardcore climbers Gail Bredis, Nola Royce, Cindy Williams, Dale Schmidt and Dori Schmidt. Guides Jeff Ward and Chris Booher.

Mt. Whitney Programs
Mt. Whitney programs are contracted with Sierra Mountaineering International under permit in the Inyo National Forest.
March 19-22, 2004, Thanks to Kevin Hart, Chris Crosby, Andrew Schildiner, Tim Jones, Keith Maslowski , and Dan Wilson

March 21-24, 2004, Thanks to Eric Fehrnstrom, Ken Fehrnstrom and Rafael Gomez

March 26-29, 2004, Thanks to Rick Howden, Keith Culver, Peter Diana, Russ Thoman and Jeffrey Allen

March 28-31, 2004, Thanks to Andrew Greenwell, Eric Schmidley, Matt Zetumer , Steve Lampert, David Bonnouvrier, Nathaniel Goldberg

April 2-5, 2004, Thanks to Emry McAlear, David Stieber, John Gregory, Steve Foleta and Peter Kraemer

Mt. Hayes, April 18-29, 2004
Thanks to Mark O'Day, Josh Knox, Bill Gibson, Laird Swensen, Laura Reymann and Dori Schmidt. Guides Geo Dunn, Chas Day and Dan Mann

Here's a trip report from Josh Knox:
"Webster's defines success as a favorable or prosperous course... or termination of anything attempted. Mt. Hayes expedition, April 18-29th, 2004 was then, a success by definition.

A spectacular flight over the Wrangell range by our bush pilot, Paul Claus, gave us high expectations for the following ten days. Unfortunately, poor winter snow conditions forced us to land on the glacier below the South face of Hayes instead of the intended objective of the east ridge. The team forged ahead and warm, sunny days allowed for almost t-shirt conditions while placing two lower camps prior to attempting the summit. George went on to win 1st place in the first ever and hotly contested, Mt. Hayes adventure race back from the upper camp. Reminding him that he was first on the rope team did not dissuade him from dancing the Macharena that night over the brown meal. Reconnoitering the lower slopes of the South face, George and the guides determined that the face above was ripe for avalanching. Disappointed but still optimistic, we wisely turned our objective to the south, towards the unclimbed and previously unnamed escarpment, Mt. Dan Mann pre-memorial peak. We made a valiant attempt to reach the col above our camp but a severe spring storm was brewing. High gusting winds and bitterly cold temperatures turned us around before the summit. The storm kept the team hunkered down in our tents for three days while Dan Mann lectured us extensively about the long-term health benefits of eating yellow snow. A short break in the weather allowed us to dash back to base camp in one strenuous push. Low cloud cover made a timely escape in question until the last moment. Ultimately, Paul was able to snatch us away in the turbo otter for another amazing flight back to Chitina. Many thanks to our fantastic guides; the indefatigable George Dunn, the erudite Dr. Dan Mann and the tough as nails, Chas Day. Congratulations and thanks to my compatriots for a wonderful trip; Bill Gibson, (Ang)Dori Schmidt, Dr. Laird Swensen, Laura Reymann and Mark O'Day."

—Josh Knox

Mt. Bona May 16-27, 2005
Thanks to Dan Backer, Gail Bredis, Dale Schmidt, Skip Reindollar, Bob Misasi, Norm Rosensweig, Joel Schenk, Paul Torrence, and Chris Wilocki. Guides Geo Dunn, John Race and Chris Booher

Alps Private August 18-24
Thanks to Tom Westervelt and Megan Westervelt. Guide Howie Schwartz

Classic Alps August 4-15, 2004
Thanks to Mike Conrath, Terry Monroe, Larry Bates, Kit Kilgour, Cindy Williams, and
Rodrigo Montanez . Guides Jeff Ward and Vince Anderson

The Matterhorn August 20-27, 2004
Thaks to Stacey Ries, Dan Kearns, Bill Borland and Steve Bridges. Guides Vince Anderson and Howie Schwartz

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 2004 Expeditions

Going back to Nepal in the spring of 2004 with my wife, Sue, brought back so many great memories of climbs and time spent with our Sherpa friends. It reminded me of the wealth of experiences we've been able to accumulate throughout the years. Hard to place a value on that.

As I write this, I'm preparing personally for trips to Mexico and Antarctica prior to year's end. It seems like I never tire of visiting these places. Having great friends in all the regions we travel infinitely enhances the experience.

Great guides worked with me again this year. Mark Tucker and Kent Wagner headed up the January Aconcagua trip while Mike Haugen was with me on Aconcagua in February.

My good friends Romulo Cardenas and Julian Larea were with me in Ecuador. Romulo also guided with Chris Booher on the same trip later in the year. We put both Mark Tucker and Chris Booher to work later in the year leading trips to Africa and Russia. Highly successful, I might add. Mr. Haugen joined me during to summer to take a group to the summit of Mt. McKinley and will join me next month for a trip to Vinson in Antarctica. Lindsay Reither will guide with us on that trip and in Mexico, as well.

Guides from Russia, Africa and Mexico help on all our trips there. Having great local partners is a key component to any good guide service. Thanks Igor, Michael and Oso.

I'm particularly excited about going to Bhutan in the fall of 2005. Nawang Gombu will be joining us. In case you don't know Gombu, he was the first man to climb Everest twice. Once with Jim Whittaker in 1963 and again in 1965 with an Indian expedition. He resides in Darjeeling and is an old friend. He knows Bhutan well and is going to introduce our team and me to that exotic country.

Where will you be in 2005?

ECUADOR

I was there in January and Chris Booher headed up the June expedition. Romulo Cardenas, Julian Larea and Jorge Anhalzer take good care of us when we visit Ecuador. Want to know anything about Ecuador? Just ask one of these guys.

Chimborazo still isn't in the best of condition but climbing has been just fine on Cotopaxi and Cayambe. Cotopaxi, in particular, was quite exciting climbing this past year. You know where I'll be in January 2005.

Congratulations to our January group: Donna Childress, Richard Etling, Allen Birmingham, Mary Hannon, James Fisfis and Jackie Paulson.

Congratulations to our June team: Paul Torrence, Natale Lapriore, Justin Holmes and Thomas Settle.

ACONCAGUA

Two groups visited Argentina in 2004 and we expect to have three groups on the mountain this coming winter. Thanks to Mark Tucker and Kent Wagner for taking good care of the January team and showing them the summit. Mike Haugen and I got turned just short of the summit in February. We had to answer that important question of just how far can you push and still maintain reasonable margins of safety, considering the weather, time of day and how each team member is feeling. We pulled the plug just short of the summit because we thought it was the right thing to do. There will be a rematch.

Congratulations to our January team: Chip Johnson, Ed Cebulko, Ralph Rydell, Daniel Garst, Eric Peterson and Kurt Buchwald.

Congratulations to our February team: Jackie Paulson, Stewart Fleming, Ben Browne, Trent Carey, Howard Putter, Jeffrey Quam and Todd Eichhorn.

MT. McKINLEY

Mike Huagen joined 5 customers and me on McKinley in July 2004. Slow, steady progress and patience up high were the keys. Our first summit attempt ended at 18,500 ft. Too cold and windy to take a chance. But, short term set backs don't have to equal failure if you just don't quit. Our team hung in with us and we were able to take another shot and summit a day later. Persistence won the day.

Congratulations to Sam Weidermann, Kent McClelland, Chris Burrows, Peter Hendrycks and Jordan Roderick.

ELBRUS

This has been a VERY popular trip the last few years. Chris Booher and Igor Tsarouk led our full group to the top of Elbrus and showed everyone a good bit of St. Petersburg and Moscow, in addition. Great local contacts make the difference in Russia and we've known Igor for over 10 years. You may never go back to Russia so it makes sense to see and experience as much as possible while you're there.

Congratulations to Raoul De Sota, Robin De Sota, Nancy Norris, Warren Alpern, Jennifer Alpern, William Burd, Stephen Wilson, Richard Aharonian, Katherine Foss, Wayne Miller and Erin Bell.

KILIMANJARO

Mark Tucker headed off to Kilimanjaro in August and Chris Booher headed over in September. Both kept the unbroken IMG string of summits on Kilimanjaro intact. The summit day is long but we're well prepared and acclimated at that point. With a qualified IMG and a great Chagga guide like Michael Nelson with each group, the team is in very good hands. And, watching the sun rise from high on the slopes of Kilimanjaro shouldn't be missed. It really is hard not to have fun on this trip. Finishing off a great climb with an exciting safari is just the frosting on the cake.

IMG has numerous departure dates. Find one that works for you and a friend and make it happen.

Congratulations to our August team: Janet Vail, Jason Sanjawa, Cris Pond, Ray Smith, David More house, Pirjo DeHart, Larry DeHart, Bonnie Todd and James Todd.

Congratulations also to our September team: Eleanor Pryor, Sarah Hoehn, Denice Scott, Lynn Bidlake, Sharon Hayman, Renee Mitchell, Barbara Lewis, David Jantzen, Elizabeth Sestak, Patricia Sestak and Mark Greenlee.

MEXICO

I always enjoy going down to Mexico in November. It's a great escape from the rainy and windy Northwest. And, since only a week away from the office is required, why not? I doubt any currently operating guide service has been conducting trips to Mexico longer than IMG. Those who have looked into climbing in Mexico have read about the Reyes family. They are our logistics provider while there and have been friends for over 30 years. Wow!

The peak climbing season in Mexico normally begins sometime in October and continues into March. We normally have a group there in early November and also in February.

Senior guide, John Race led our February 2004 trip and I leave on October 30, 2004 with IMG guide Lindsay Reither with another full group. My wife, Susan is also joining the team. She's already done the trip 3 times but is anxious to return. I'm ready for some sun, a good climbing experience and a bit of tequila. It's too late to sign up for the November but space still exists on the February 2005 trip.

Congratulations to our February group: Rob Ross, Christopher Ross, Devin Smith, Jonathan Mirsky and Burnell Gump.

Congratulations in advance to our November team: Alana Erickson, Chad Sageser, Jeffrey Johnson, Howard Galligan, Michael Lakotish, Julia Debold, Terry Belden, Bradford Estabrooke, Kevin Ramundo and Alistair Heritage.

VINSON MASSIF

It's cold in Antarctica. I can be tough waiting for the right weather and flying conditions to even get there. So, why bother? Besides being one of the Seven Summits, Vinson and all of Antarctica are simply amazing. I still figure it's as close as you can get to another planet without leaving this one.

We'll be there in November 2004 with another full group. Mike Haugen and Lindsay Reither will join me and our IMG customers on another exciting expedition to the Ice. We've been going down since 1988 and we look forward to each opportunity to see the place again.

Flying to the continent hasn't gotten any less expensive but it keeps getting more dependable. The big Ilushan 76 cargo jet now used for the flight from Chile to 80 degrees South actually has wider flight parameters than even the Hercules planes we used just a couple of years ago. Weather still determines when we fly. Nothing worthwhile is easy but every IMG team has reached the summit of Vinson since we first began leading trips to THE ICE.

Congratulations, in advance to: Dan Jones, Alistair Sutcliff, Robert Lowry, Michael Schiller, Paul Pender, Dennis Kellner and Jonathan Chastney.

Thanks to all of you who joined us in 2004 and welcome to everyone joining us in 2005. Now's the time.

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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