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.
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."
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