International Mountain Guides Climbing and Mountaineering Expeditions

2006 Annual Report

Looking Back on a Year of Climbing and Trekking

 

Introductory Comments by George Dunn

How to sum up 2006? That's a tough one. Watershed year? Major landmark in the history of IMG? Pivotal point in our growth as a guide service? YES! 2006 was all of this and more.

After years of preparation and planning, the National Park Service issued a prospectus for two new guiding concessions on Mt. Rainier. This went out to bid in February, and we put in three very long months working on our submission. In November, our efforts came to fruition and IMG was awarded one of the new permits.

We are very, very happy and now very, very busy getting ready to run a full service guiding operation on Mt. Rainier. We'll be ready to go in early spring and will be running a full spectrum of new and innovative programs. We promise to continue to hold our Rainier trips to the same high standards, guided by the same great guides who lead climbs for us around the world. Most important for us, we are now back home, guiding on the mountain where we all started our guiding careers over 30 years ago.

Yep, I think I WILL reach 500 successes on Mt. Rainier after all. I figure it will be towards the end of the summer of 2008 if all goes well. I'm at 483 right now. Don't wait for two years to come climb with us, though. Help us kick off 2007 in a big way by visiting our new facility at the base of Rainier in Ashford, WA and participating in one of our climbs on The Mountain. We have GREAT guides, we guide at a ratio of one guide for every 2 climbers on ALL our Rainier trips, and we offer a wide assortment of programs to give you more options to best fit your needs.

So, now I have two full time jobs. Working on the new Rainier business doesn't mean I gave up climbing around the world. 2006 was a very busy and successful year of climbs and programs for me. Highlights include the Machu Picchu Trek in Peru with my 16 year old son, Jimmy, in July and August; a new route on a never before tried side of 16,000 foot Mt. Bona in Alaska in May; great climbing in the Pacific Northwest on Rainier, Mt. Adams and the North Cascades; the ever popular Ouray Ice Climbing; Mt. Whitney via the Mountaineer's Route; rock climbing programs to Joshua Tree and Smith Rocks and lots more.

I'll be Chief Guide on Rainier this coming summer, but I'll be returning to my favorite haunts plus a new trip or two. I'll hope to see you on Mt. Whitney this March; Alaska in April or May; and Rainier, Mt. Adams or the North Cascades this summer. Let's hook up for a climb!

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
 

Introductory Comments by Eric Simonson

2006 was an excellent year for the programs that I personally organize, and I am very proud of our successes on Everest, Cho Oyu, Gurla Mandata, Ama Dablam, Carstensz Pyramid and with our Kilimanjaro programs (which I direct with Phil Ershler). Thanks to all the people who worked hard to make these trips successful!

On the home front, after years of hard work, our persistence finally paid off with the new Rainier concession permit. In particular, I want say thanks to my wife Erin for her support and assistance making this dream of mine finally a reality. Now that the dust has settled a bit, it is time to focus on executing our strategy for building the best Mt. Rainier guide service, period.

The single most important thing that has set IMG apart from our competitors for the past 20 years is the IMG owners' long personal involvement in every aspect of our programs, and our personal accountability for providing a quality experience to our customers. We impart our philosophy of customer service to every member of our IMG team, from the entry level guide to our most senior staff. Rainier will be no different from what we have been doing for over 20 years on our international programs--- we hire the best people we can, we treat them well, and we put our customers first. I'll look forward to climbing with you again internationally on the world's great mountains, and on Rainier ("The Mountain" to those of us in Washington State)!

Eric Simonson International Mountain Guides Director
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.
 

Introductory Comments by Phil Ershler

Writing this year's annual report less than a week after returning from Ecuador. Another incredible team of climbers and another incredible trip. However, I'll be giving you the rundown on those climbs in the 2007 annual report. Don't want to get ahead of myself.

Plus, there's more than enough to talk about in 2006. I'm sure each of the IMG partners will be mentioning the bit of good news we had regarding Mt. Rainier in 2006. As a bit of background — in 1998, Congress mandated to the National Park Service (NPS) that competition was needed in concession systems in all the Parks. A process began which eventually led to the release of a Prospectus by the NPS in February 2006 for the awarding of two new concession contracts to guide climbing trips in Mt. Rainier National Park. IMG had 3 months to respond to the best of our ability for this long-anticipated, new concession contract. After long, long deliberation by the NPS, IMG was selected in November 2006 as one of the guide services to be awarded a new contract. We are delighted to see over 30 years of commitment to Rainier rewarded with this new opportunity. So, above all, join us in 2007 as we climb Rainier under the IMG banner.

Check out our new Rainier web site pages. When you climb with IMG, you'll climb Rainier with IMG guides (second to none!) and at a 2:1 ratio. We intend to set a new, higher bar regarding safety, success and ENJOYMENT on Mt. Rainier.

We also added to the strength of IMG with the addition of Mike Schiller to our staff. Mike is a three-time IMG client with a long business resume and we're pleased that he agreed to join the IMG team. Mike's business skills will add immeasurably to the IMG office. He joins Tammy Gorman down in our new headquarters in Ashford. Tammy keeps all the partners on the straight and narrow and even joined us on Kili in September. We're sure all of you have appreciated her help as you registered for an IMG program.

The international climbs I oversee also had great success. I led some climbs, and guides from our incredible IMG staff led others. I wouldn't want to be in this business if I couldn't continue to get out and climb personally with our customers. McKinley, Rainier, Elbrus, Kilimanjaro and Sikkim were climbs I was able to lead personally in 2006. There will be more in 2007.

Let me mention one additional highlight for the Ershler family. In 2002, my wife, Sue, and I completed the Seven Summits together. With her drive and determination, we signed a contract with Warner Publishing in 2005 to write a book detailing that experience and the back story which has not yet been told. In April 2006, Warner Publishing accepted our manuscript and the finished product will hit the book stores April 2, 2007. Click here to go to Amazon.com where you can now order the book »

Let's rope up together in 2007. Maybe Rainier?

Or, how about trekking with me in Bhutan in October?

Or, Vinson Massif in November?

Too many adventures and not enough time. Let's go NOW!

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.
Susan and Phil Ershler's book Together on Top of the World
 

Introductory Comments by Paul Baugher

Well, it may have been close to 10 years in the making but I am proud to say that IMG now has a new concession contract on Mt. Rainier! We, of course, had to celebrate that success. Lynn and I hosted our guides, advisors, friends and supporters at our Enumclaw home when we heard the news. To all who attended — none of this would have happened without your support. Now our challenge is to provide the quality of experience on Rainier that our customers deserve and have come to expect. The quality and attitude of the IMG guide staff will make all the difference!

Our close association with John Kircher and the Crystal Mountain Ski Resort continues. IMG will base all our Emmons Glacier programs out of Crystal Mountain and the Alpine Inn. Have you ever seen the view of Rainier from the top of the Resort? It has to be one of the most spectacular views from any ski area in the world. We're having a great snow winter and my days have been more than a little busy as a result. But hey, that's all good. Makes for incredible skiing at a great ski resort and it bodes well for climbing conditions on Rainier this coming summer.

The IMG Level I-III avalanche training, which I direct, are run out of Crystal Mountain and Mt. Rainier itself. If you're a climber or backcountry skier, make sure you've completed this essential training. Let's make our mountain experience as safe as we can. So, if I don't see you up at Crystal this winter skiing or in an avalanche course, I'll look for you this summer up on Rainier. Drop by our new Ashford headquarters. Join our guides for a truly enjoyable Rainier experience. How can anyone live in Seattle and not want to climb Rainier? Make this the summer!

Paul Baugher International Mountain Guides Director
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
 

Aconcagua
Phil Ershler, Program Director

Two climbs - two summits! Both led successfully by IMG Senior Guide Mike Hamill. The January trip followed the Guanacos Valley and the February trip went via Plaza Argentina. And, not a scratch — good job all! IMG continues to climb Aconcagua as it should be climbed. We are trying hard to not make Aconcagua into a glorified trekking trip. This is a serious climb and should be respected as such. When you're ready to CLIMB Aconcagua, call us. Our successful members can look back on their trip knowing that they were contributing team members, sharing the work, the chores and the rewards. They truly earned their summits!

Congratulations to our January 2006 team — guides Mike Hamill, Anne Keller and Eric Stevenson, climbers Chip and Sharon Allen, Chris Burrows, Craig Dean, David Ferreira, John Thompson, Michael Dunbar and Ted Fairhurst.

Congratulations to our February 2006 team — guides Mike Hamill and Olivia Cussen, climbers Al Hancock, Alan Pace, Dan Jones, Patrick Gahan, Tom Hartley, Tim Medvetz and Timothy Warren.

Please click here for more information on our Aconcagua trips »

IMG Avalanche Training Programs
Paul Baugher, Program Director

IMG conducted both an Avalanche Level I and a Level II course, in mid and late January at Crystal Mountain. The field sessions required realistic snow stability evaluation and route selection in true high hazard avalanche conditions. The perfect way to get hands on experience! Both courses were very well attended.

Level 1 — Avalanche Hazard Evaluation

Lead instructors were Paul Baugher and Mark Moore, meteorologist and Director with the Northwest Avalanche Center and Chet Mowbray, Avalanche Forecaster with Crystal Mountain.

Congratulations to our participants: Chhuldim Sherpa, Monica Morin, Jordan Roderick, Wendy Pabich, Ann Stover, Wesley Watts, Paul Campbell, Helen Arntson, David Gordon, Jennifer Miller, Craig Adams, Alicia Sullivan and Marc Hartung.

Level II — Avalanche Forecasting Workshop

Lead instructors were Paul Baugher and Mark Moore and Knox Williams, meteorologists with the Northwest Avalanche Center, Chet Mowbray and Doug Blanchard, Avalanche Forecaster with Crystal Mountain. This instructor staff brought over 85 years of professional avalanche forecasting experience to the training. Congratulations to our participants: Donald Thompson, Mindy Roberts, Mark Hallman, Johnny Williams, Jeff Owen, Kari Pederson, Andrew Toyota, Mason White, Andrea Johnson, Monica Morin, Justin Litzer, Jamie Flanagan, Catherine Davidson, Matthew Cline, Jeremy Ellison, Martin Babare, Mark Weeks, Kenneth Puhn, Matthew Bedrin, Christopher Meder, Mark McDuff, Tobae McDuff, Donald Peterson, Joseph Elsholz, Maria Lee, David Gordon, Paul Campbell, Wendy Pabich, Chhuldim Sherpa, Joshua Frazier, Gavin Cummings, Andrew Nicholls and Brad Urban.

The challenge to this group is to apply your training as you climb and ski with other professionals or friends. Share this knowledge and help raise the standard of decision-making in avalanche terrain this year. Please click here for more information on our Avalanche Training programs »

Ouray Ice Climbing, Colorado
George Dunn, Program Director

The year always starts off with Ice Climbing Programs in Ouray Colorado, running throughout the months of January and February. Check out the fun at Ouray, CO. We now see as many repeat climbers as we do first time climbers, a sure sign that this program is a winner from start to finish. Special mention needs to go to my main crew of guides in Ouray: Jeff Ward, Jake Norton, Ben Marshall, Matt Farmer, Chris Booher and Justin Merle. Cameo appearances were put in by guides Charley Mace and Zoe Hart. There isn't a better team of guides to be found than these veterans. They make learning a new sport downright fun and returning again a priority.

Congratulations to the participants and guides on all of the Ouray programs last year:

Ouray private January 2-6: Kirk Allen, David Golden, guide Jake Norton.

Ouray private January 3-5: Nick Subashi, Xander Subashi, guide Matt Farmer

Ouray Veteran's program January 9-13: Stacey Ries, James Ries, Robert Roos, Marc Sargis, Stephen Maxwell, Alan Cook, guides Jake Norton, Matt Farmer, Justin Merle

Ouray private January 16-19: Thomas "TJ" Johnson, Skip Reindollar, Ken Klug, Robert Austin, guide Ben Marshall

Ouray 3-day program January 20-22: Sheila Howard, Clif Cassidy, David McMillan, Branning McBee, James Patterson, Michael Williamson, guides George Dunn, Ben Marshall

Ouray 5-day program January 23-27: Guy Orangio, Nola Royce, Joel Schenk, Martin Storey, Colin Bailey, Pat Luke, guides George Dunn, Ben Marshall, Matt Farmer

Ouray 3-day program January 28-30: Roger Burleigh, Hank Garrett, Mary Robins, David Schlimme, guides Matt Farmer, Justin Merle

Ouray Private January 28-30: Carl Werts, guide Ben Marshall

Oury 3-day program February 3-5: Greg Meyering, Thomas Hruby, Jennifer Salbino, Nicholas Mullan, guides Jeff Ward, Justin Merle

Ouray 5-day program February 6-10: Patricia Walker, Kathleen Sisler, Sumitera Ghate, Robert Green, Rex Schaberg, Rodrigo Montanez, guides Jeff Ward, Matt Farmer, Justin Merle

Ouray private February 7-9: Joe Ladowski, Dan Cummiskey, Kevin Kelly, Ed Webber, Geof Anspach, Steve Durbin, guides, Ben Marshall, Charley Mace

Ouray private February 10-13: Ben Schmidt, Joshua Schmidt, Dori Schmidt, Dale Schmidt, guide Ben Marshall

Ouray private February 21-22: Renee Stevens, guide Matt Farmer

Thanks so very much for the GREAT climb with Jeff, Justin, and Farmer this past week. It was my first experience ice climbing and their professionalism, expertise, and instruction really helped me reach beyond my expectations. I'm hooked and hope to make it back next year!
~Patricia W.
Thanks for one hell of a trip! Your three-day program was just superb and having accommodations so close to the park was an added bonus! From my vantage point, Matt Farmer and Justin Merle were the most experienced people in the park, bar none. I cannot say enough great things about these two guys...
~David S.

Ecuador Volcanoes
Phil Ershler, Program Director

What a trip! Really. Don't miss this one. No other guide service has the personal connections in Ecuador as does IMG. This trip is so much more than just a couple of climbs. You'll know what I mean after you've been with us. Of course the January 2006 was successful. Summits of both Cotopaxi and Chimborazo. But it was so much more. We see a ton and we do a ton. Whatever you do, don't miss this program. For more information, see: Ecuador Volcanoes »

Ask any of our past customers about Ecuadorian guide and friend, Romulo Cardenas. They'll tell you that our association with him makes this trip. There's nothing about his country which he doesn't know and he takes great pleasure in showing our teams more of Ecuador than just summits.

This is a perfect trip to bring along a non-climbing spouse or partner. This trip consistently fills so sign up early.

Congratulations to our January 2006 team — guides Phil Ershler, Romulo Cardenas and Julian Larea, climbers Mike Schiller, Robert Lowry, Brett Merrell, Doug Littrel, Craig Warner, Darrell Fryer, John Knight, Kurt Bauer, Ken Poniewaz, Mark Garland and Mike Lakotish.

Mount Whitney, California
George Dunn, Program Director

I've been going to Mt. Whitney for over 10 years now. I never miss doing two of these climbs. Whitney in the spring via the Mountaineer's Route is a great climb from start to finish. All snow, getting steep near the top. It is a great challenge and a nice program that makes for a short getaway in late March and early April. Check out the photos from Mt. Whitney. Yes, it really is that spectacular and that exciting.

Congratulations to the participants and guides on all of the Mt. Whitney programs last year:

Mt. Whitney March 31-April 3: Yusuf Osmani, Ken Klug, Don Gray, Chris Heiberg, Peter Spiess, Scott Little, guides George Dunn and Bernd Zeugswetter

Mt. Whitney April 6-9: John Delury, Colin Anglin, Jay Beaudoin, Mirjam Reiser, Rodney Mann, Robert Herrera, guides George Dunn and Greg Vernovage

Mt. Whitney April 8-11: Kenneth Curchin, Rod Fontenot, Catherine Smith, Murray McDonough, guides Chris Ecklund and Deb Leyh

(All Mt Whitney programs are contracted with Sierra Mountaineering International, which guides under permit in Inyo National Forest.)

Kilimanjaro
Eric Simonson and Phil Ershler, Program Directors

It gives us great pleasure to continuously say that since our first trip in 1989, we have never, NEVER missed the summit. And, that's with no serious accidents! You simply can't not enjoy this climb. It has everything — an exotic location, one of the Seven Summits, open to most skill levels and, it's followed with a GREAT safari as our reward. Check out this report from one of our September 2006 team members.  If this doesn't get you excited, we give up.

This program is a great value as compared with programs you might find offered elsewhere. Each trip is led by an IMG Senior Guide. We carry a Gamow bag, pulse oximeter, emergency oxygen bottle, radios, and a sat phone on the climb and we take a full SEVEN days for the climb, allowing plenty of time for acclimatization. All Park fees are included in the price as well as the flight to begin or end our safari.

Congratulations to all our 2006 climbers. And, thanks for keeping our record of successes intact.

January/February — guides Jake and Wende Norton, climbers Lori Loberg, Jeff King, Lani-Kai Swanhart, Kevin Russell, Jennifer Pharr, Martha Noerr, Rodney Nelson, Jeffrey Keane, John Howell, Derek Frank, Benjamin Foust, Jim Causey, Nicole Areson, and Arthur Adams.

June — guide Adam Angel, climbers John Paul Bertinet, Lisa Biffen, Eric Brunt, Michael Brunt, Elisabeth Carrillo, Fred Hrenchuk, David Kaercher, Daniel and Theodore Keyport, Michael Kline, Kristine Lombardi and Maria Roa.

July — guides Jason and Karina Tanguay, climbers Cricket Wardein, Gregory Hirsch, James Clark, Jeffrey Rand, John Finley, Meg Garlinghouse, Michael Samuelson, Thomas Conneely and the Kent McClelland family with Kent, Devon, Chandra and Kera.

August — guide Lindsay Reither, climbers Bonnie Chase, Sam, Samantha, Spencer, Molly and Susan Reckford.

September — guide Phil Ershler, climbers Alpana Arora and Bhavesh Pavel, Robyn Garrison, Kim and John Kircher, Tammy Gorman, Lynda Wallin, Lynnette Payne, Paul Lucky, Robert Lowry, Terry Snowden, Walter Flood, Laura Ritchie, Robert and Kerry Perissi.

December — guide Mark Tucker, climbers Kurt Bonhamer, Darrah Horgan, Glenn Jarstad, Dyana Marlett, Nadera Osmani, Kathleen O'Toole, Dineshkumar Patel, Silver Wilkie, Brooke Wilson, Jennifer Wolfe and Hunter, Megan, Magee, Tara and Casey Land.

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.

Alaskan Ascents
George Dunn, Program Director

I have long said that Wrangell/St. Elias National Park in Alaska is one of my favorite places in the entire world. I have never taken that statement back, and I have continued to visit this place almost every year since 1988. I'll keep on returning as long as I have new climbs to do and fun people with whom to go. Looks like I am already on the right track for 2007 — I've got two great climbs set for this spring including my long delayed rematch with the mighty Mt. St. Elias »

Congratulations to the participants and guides on the expedition to Mt. Bona via a new route on the north side of the mountain:

Mt. Bona May 14-25: Jonathan Mirsky, Christopher Ross, Douglas Evertz, Matthew Zetumer, Steven Lampert, Graham Barnes, David Bonnouvrier, Norman Rosensweig, Nathaniel Goldberg, guides George Dunn, Olivia Cussen and Ben Marshall. We didn't manage to summit due to poor weather at the end of the trip, but I'll be back in May of 2007!

We ran a second program to Mt. Bona May 26-June 6. Due to the small size of the group and crevasse concerns on the lower glacier, the team opted for the normal route via the Klutlan Glacer. Unfortunately, they were turned back early. Congratulations to the participants and guide: Timothy Boggs, Gene Pelizzoni, Ryan Pelizzoni, guide Ben Marshall

Everest 2006
Eric Simonson, Program Director

Since 1991, we have conducted thirty-seven 8000 meter expeditions and have seen over 260 climbers reach the summit of these peaks, including 95 on Everest. Our 2006 Everest Expedition was the nineteenth Everest expedition that I have personally organized and this was the most successful trip yet, with THIRTY climbers reaching the summit on five separate summit bids between May 17-24. The expedition was exceptionally led once again by Mark Tucker and Ang Jangbu Sherpa, two of the finest leaders on the mountain. Of special note, three women reached the top on this trip — congrats to Brenda Walsh, Fiona Adler, and Sophia Danenberg (who becomes the first woman of African heritage to reach the summit).

We also had a very successful trek team accompany the climbers to Everest Base Camp, where they stayed for a couple days celebrate the puja ceremony with the team of climbers and Sherpas, which is the traditional "kick-off" to the climbing. After visiting Base Camp, some of the trekkers extended their trek by another week to allow them to climb 20,305 ft Island Peak, a beautiful climb located up the adjacent Imja Khola Valley. Finally, after acclimatizing on Island Peak, our Khumbu Icefall climbers came back up to take a shot at making it up to Camp 2 in the Western Cwm, over 21,000 feet.

You can read more about the 2006 Everest expedition here »

Congrats and thanks to the entire IMG 2006 Everest team:

Leaders Mark Tucker and Ang Jangbu and "coaches" Dave Hahn and Justin Merle.

Non-guided summit climbers: Dennis Kellner, James Gagne, Jean-Francois Carrey, Fiona Adler, Paul Adler, Bud Allen, John Turner, Brenda Walsh, Walter Laserer, Markus Buel, Karl Flock, Sofia Danenberg, Daniel Griffith, Jack Gerstein.

Everest Base Camp Trekkers: Sunny Harris, Terri Allen, Jennifer Parr, Kennette Hayter

Island Peak Climbers: Juerg Bandle, Dena Lasater, Michelle Piro, Mona Ching,

Khumbu Icefall Climbers: Greg Hollum, Richard Strekal

IMG Sherpa Team: With 210 Everest Expeditions, 58 Everest Summits, 128 8000m Summits, and 333 8000m Expeditions between them, the IMG Sherpa team are THE BEST. Thanks once again to all of them for their loyalty and dedication to making the IMG Everest the "class act" on the mountain each year: Ang Passang (Sirdar); Passang Rinji; Tashi Dorjee; Mingma Tenzing; Mingma Chiring; Ang Karma; Pemba Dorjee; Ang Namgya; Danuru; Kami Passang; Samduk Dorje; Karma Rita; Nima Karma; Cheppi Bhote; Dorjee Lama; Phinjo; Phunuru; Da Sona; Danuru (Dawa); Mingma Ongel; Ang Chhiring (Kami); Panuru; Tashi Tshering; Mingmar (ABC Cook); Lakpa Bhote (ABC Assistant Cook); Ang Chhering (BC Sherpa Cook); Da Nuru (BC Assist Sherpa Cook); Pemba Tshiri (BC Member Cook); Nima Tashi (BC Assist Member Cook); Nawang (BC Assist Member Cook); Padam Limbu (BC Assist Member Cook)

We put a lot of effort and research into choosing the right way to go for Everest, and I left the mountain without a doubt that we chose and were with the best organization and people on the hill. I think most of the rest of base camp knew it too...
~Jeff

Tibet ABC Trek
Eric Simonson, Program Director

The highest and hardest trek in the world is to Advanced Base Camp on the Tibet side of Mt. Everest. IMG was one of the very first companies to conduct this program (in 1991) and since then we have demonstrated year after year what a difference a top IMG guide and crack Sherpa team make in terms of the safety and enjoyment of our customers. This is a challenging trip, and the 2006 team encountered some cold and snowy days as well as spectacular sun and magnificent sights on the north side of Everest. Under the guidance of IMG's Adam Angel the team members were successful in reaching ABC at over 21,000 feet. You can read more about this expedition and see photos in the trip report »

Congrats to the team: Guide Adam Angel, Elizabeth Schoellkopf, Carrie Pascal, Dale Main, Carol Overdahl, Kimel Fisher

Gurla Mandata, Tibet
Eric Simonson, Program Director

Have you ever wanted to make the first American ascent of a remote and rarely climbed 25,502 ft (7728m) mountain in Western Tibet, and get to it by trekking across the border from Nepal? Well, that is exactly what Dave Golden, Kirk Allen, Stuart Sloat, Cynthia Dodson, and Jake Norton had in mind when they approached me with the idea of putting this trip together. Their success is a credit to their strength and determination and the great work of IMG sherpas Panuru, Karma Rita, Mingma Chirring, Pemba Tshiri, and Bal Bahardur. Click here to read more about the Gurla Mandata climb »

Autumn Everest Trek and Island Peak Climb
Eric Simonson, Program Director

IMG guide Justin Merle led the autumn trekking trip to the Khumbu, along with our IMG Sherpas, prior to going to Ama Dablam. The team started in Kathmandu and flew to Lukla on October 12. After visits to Namche (for the famous Saturday market) and Tengboche Monastery, trekkers Anya (IMG webmaster extraordinaire), Nancy, and Zach made a pre-planned early departure while the rest of the group moved up to Dingboche for acclimatization. Then, trekkers Julie, Laurie, David, and Stephanie headed on up to Kala Pattar and Everest Base Camp and Justin and the climbers headed to Island Peak, which they climbed on October 20. Thanks to all the climbers and trekkers on the trip, including Gary Conrad and his friends from Kansas! Guide Justin Merle and climbers and trekkers Gary and Abigail Conrad, Brad Seabourn, Brian Ioerger, Daniel Walker, Kevin Fateley, John Tatarko, Zachary Conrad, Nancy Herbert, Anya Zolotusky, Julie McHenry, Laurie Griffith, David and Stephanie Cowin. Please click here for more info on our Nepal treks and Island Peak climbs »

Cho Oyu, Tibet
Eric Simonson, Program Director

The world's sixth highest peak is IMG's specialty. Since our first trip in 1995 we have seen 153 climbers reach the summit of Cho Oyu with our IMG teams on the 16 expeditions that we have conducted via the original 1954 route from Tibet. We invite you to compare our program with any other on the market, and we challenge you to find a better led and better supported trip, at ANY price tag! We are confident that the more you shop around, and truly understand what you are buying with your hard earned money, the more you will appreciate the amazing service that IMG offers on Cho Oyu.

Our 2006 trip was marked by storms and heavy snow early in the expedition. Many teams were ready to throw in the towel and go home, but not IMG. Under the leadership of Mike Hamill and Ang Jangbu, IMG organized a team of Sherpas to go back up, break open the route and finish fixing ropes in the Yellow Band. This made it possible, when the weather finally broke, to have a spectacular summit day! This is the kind of leadership that IMG is known for, and we are proud to run a top-notch program on Cho Oyu. You can see photos and follow the team's progress in the archived 2006 expedition updates »

Congrats to the team: Martin Jonson, Agnes Sauvage, James Patterson, Carlos Vallejo, William Considine, Phil Desjardins, Nicole Messner, Gary Kellund, James Harter, Peter Vaream, William Borland, and Steve Bridges.

Also, a big thanks to Cho Oyu Trekkers, Shannon Smith, Greg Messner, and Shelly Bloom who traveled with the team across Tibet, trekked all the way to 18,500 foot Advanced Base Camp, and then visited Everest BC at Rongbuk on their way home.

Thanks again to the IMG Nepal and Tibetan Sherpas: Ang Passang (sirdar), Tashi Tshering (Nepal), Tashi Tshering (Tibet), Mingma Tenzing, Danuru, Phunuru, Tshering, Tenzing, Tsheten, Ang Chhiring (Kami), Kaji (cook), Ngima (assist cook)

All-in-all, your planning, logistics, and Mike's leadership on the mountain contributed to an excellent experience from start to finish. I cannot express how satisfied I was with the entire trip. My history with you dates back to Rainier in the mid-1980's, so I'm speaking quite sincerely from experience. You run a great program, thank you!
~Peter V.

Carstensz Pyramid
Eric Simonson, Program Director

Running this Carstensz expedition has been a moving target for several years due to all the issues with respect to getting legal permits and then all the problems getting the helicopter support to Base Camp. Our IMG team, led by the peripatetic Mark Tucker, managed to deal with every obstacle. After more than a week of delays and finally managing to finagle a flight to Base Camp on the last possible day, they made it to the summit in a rainstorm. For shear uncertainty, this ascent ranks right up there with the 8000m peaks in terms of difficulties---in this case just getting to Base Camp! Congrats to the IMG team: Guide Mark Tucker and climbers Charlotte Fox, Nancy Norris, Bill Burd, Charlie Hyde, and Darrell Lindgren. Please click here for more info on Carstensz Pyramid »

Machu Picchu Trek, Peru
George Dunn, Program Director

I took over the Peru division at IMG recently and decided to personally check out the country with a visit this year. I was most fortunate to hook up with a great group of Venture Scouts and their families from Tacoma, WA. Most enjoyable of all for me was bringing my oldest son, Jimmy, along. A great time was had by all! Yes, Machu Picchu is one of the modern marvels of the world, and yes, you must go see it once in your lifetime »

Congratulations to all the participants:

Machu Picchu private trek, July 25-August 10: James Billingsley, Debra Billingsley, Ian Billingsley, Isaiah Billingsley, Ellen Billingsley, Raheem Billingsley, Scott Billingsley, Thomas Blanchard, Nathan Blanchard, Mark Blanchard, Joan Blanchard, Jennifer Foster, James Foster, Nathan Ip, Colin Ip, Andrew Ried-Munro, Nicole Lux, Christopher Carr, Morgan Reisdorfer, Nathan Reisdorfer, James Gause, Hunter Larsen, Wyatt Larsen, Linn Larsen, Sarah Merrell, Sabrina Robinson and Jimmy Dunn.

Mt. Rainier Alpine Guides
Phil Ershler, George Dunn, Eric Simonson and Paul Baugher, Program Directors

2006 was the end of era for Mt. Rainier Alpine Guides. Started in 1997 by Eric Simonson and Paul Baugher and acquired by IMG in 2005, MRAG set a standard for 2:1 client:guide climbing on the Emmons Glacier and popularized the Rainier Circumnavigation. MRAG, as a company and as a name, is now gone, but 2:1 guiding on the Emmons will carry forward under the IMG banner. And, the tremendous association established with the Crystal Mountain Ski Resort also carries forward. IMG continues to base all Emmons programs out of Crystal Mountain and the Alpine Inn. However, IMG will no longer be able to conduct MRAG's famous Circumnavigation. Mt. Rainier National Park has placed all the west side of Rainier off limits to commercial activity. So, congratulations to all who have done this trip through MRAG in the past. It may be a while before we're able to conduct the next.

2006 was another great year in a succession of great years on the Emmons. Our safety and success record remained intact. As we have done in past years, we worked with the Washington's National Parks Fund on one of our climbs to raise dollars to support projects in Mt. Rainier, North Cascades and Olympic National Parks. IMG will continue to do so in the future.

2007 will see IMG conducting climbs on many Rainier routes including the Emmons, Kautz and Muir Corridor. And, we'll be able to do Liberty Ridge and other selected climbs. We can't tell you how excited we are about the future on Rainier. You HAVE to join us soon. Just imagine what it's going to be like climbing Rainier with IMG guides and at a 2:1 ratio? Pretty darn exciting.

Browse IMG's Rainier programs here »

Thanks to all who climbed with us in 2006. Thanks for your teamwork and your spirit. You made each 2006 climb a great one!

Emmons Route June 3-7 — guides George Dunn, Jason Tanguay, Anne Keller and Eric Stevenson, climbers Ian Olgeirson, Michael Bellamy, Sr., Michael Bellamy, Jr., Yussuf Osmani, Giovanni de Luca, Rebecca Jacobsen, Tony Burtt and Mark Pressley.

Emmons Route-WNPF/Microsoft June 17-21 — guides George Dunn, Phil Ershler and Anne Keller, climbers Daniel Odievich, Jeffrey Stamerjohn, Jeffrey Hamblin, Benjamin Glenn, James Waletzky, Scott Jensen, Gregory Chappell and Rebecca Hjorten.

Emmons Route July 9-13 — guides George Dunn, Jason Edwards, Ang Dorje and Aaron Mainer, climbers David Rubin, Mark McConnell, Patrick Quartes, Joseph Tanner, Kirk Heyne and Chris Reilly.

Emmons Route-Special Private August 6-10 — guides Phil Ershler, Tap Richards and Mark Tucker, climbers Ernesto Cruz and Susan Ershler.

Rainier Circumnavigation June 9-15 — guides Anne Keller, Eric Stevenson, Kevin Slotterbeck and Aaron Mainer, climbers Stephen Maxwell, Wayne Simpson, Brian Simpson and Thompson Walton.

The experience was everything I was hoping it would be. The guides were knowledgeable and helpful without being patronizing. They pretty much kept to the schedule without being over-bearing. I would absolutely travel with you again and have already recommended you to a number of my friends. Thanks for a fantastic experience!
~Becky J.

Mt. Adams Glacier Seminar, Washington
George Dunn, Program Director

It's not ALL about Mt. Rainier during the summer months. My favorite glacier training program is still the Mt. Adams Glacier Seminar. Congratulations to the participants and guides on all of the Mt. Adams seminars last year:

Mt. Adams July 17-21: Ed Abell, Paul Dorothy, Richard Etling, Joe Hooper, Jeff Johnson, Michael Lakotish, Randy Todd, Jeff Baker, guides

Mt. Adams Team Survivor NW July 25-28: Beatrice Wells, Dawn Mueller, Dena Lasater, Judith Turchin, Kristine Rinn, Paula Tomlinson, Scott Shafer, Guido Ronge, Philip Townsend, guides Brenda Walsh, Kevin Slotterbeck, Mike Hamill

Mt. Adams July 30-August 6: Tom Reinhardt, Orion Doyle, guide Mike Hamill

Mt. Adams August 14-18: Guy Schmitz, James Bradley, Timothy Pulliam, John Knight, Richard Schmidt, Douglas Littrel, Margret Walter, Kurt Bauer, guide George Dunn,

Mt. Shuksan and Cascade Custom Climbs, North Cascades, Washington
George Dunn, Program Director

The North Cascades contain some of the best alpine peaks in the States. If you have never been there before, start with Mt. Shuksan, the most often photographed peak in the US.

Congratulations to the participants and guides on all of the Mt. Shuksan climbs last year:

Mt. Shuksan August 19-2: Jeff Mueller, Bruce Garbaccio, guides Eric Stevenson and Aaron Mainer

Mt. Shuksan private August 28-September 1: Steven Katz, David Aller, guide Anne Keller

Then try some of the many other classic routes on our Cascade Custom climbs. Congratulations to last year's participants on our Cascade Custom Climb July 30-August 4: David Paxton, Michael Paxton, guide Justin Merle

The Alps in France and Switzerland
George Dunn, Program Director

The Alps remain one of my all time favorite places to climb and visit. These programs have it all, from beautiful scenery to spectacular peaks to great accommodations in picturesque villages. No, I'm not throwing these adjectives out just to make it sound good, this is the way it is!

The Alps Classics program remains the gold standard in this series.

The Matterhorn is a tough rock climb, dependent on good weather for success, but remains one of the big goals world wide for alpine climbers.

Our returning climbers all agree that Chamonix is the alpine climber's Disneyland. There is so much quality climbing to be done right out of the town, you could spend years here and never run out of world-class options. This program was designed for and by our veteran Alps climbers and was an instant success.

Congratulations to the participants and guides on all of the Alps programs:

Matterhorn private July 30-August 4: James Davidson, Julia Davidson, guide John Race

Alps Classic Climbs program August 2-13: Mary Stephens, Duane Simmons, John Williams, Susan Williams, David Fine, Robert Austin, guides Jeff Ward, Howie Schwartz, Matt Farmer

Matterhorn program August 16-23: Gary Meggs, Scott Kreider, Paul White, Hank Garrett, Katherine Bredis, guides Jeff Ward, Howie Schwartz, Matt Farmer

Chamonix Alpine Climbs, August 25-September 1: Thomas "TJ" Johnson, Stacey Ries, Cindy Williams, Matthew Hoffman, guides Jeff Ward and Howie Schwartz

Joshua Tree Rock Climbing
George Dunn, Program Director

I love rock climbing in the later summer and fall. It is a great way to wrap up the summer months, and you never have to carry a heavy pack!

Joshua Tree is without question one of the world's great rock climbing destinations. The high desert environment is beautiful and the weather is warm and conducive to great training and climbing opportunities.

Congratulations to the participants and guides on the Joshua Tree program: Ken Klug, Tim Burch and guide John Race

Mt. Elbrus
Phil Ershler, Program Director

As with so many of our international programs, IMG has simply unmatched local relationships. They are so much more than business partnerships. These are close friendships which have been built over years of working and climbing together. Russia is no different. Our great Russian partner, Igor Tsarouk, was just visiting us when we were in Ecuador in January 2007. Talk about an 'international' relationship! These great IMG friends add immeasurably to our trips. And note, IMG visits both St. Petersburg and Moscow. Many other guide services now duplicate our plans. When visiting Russia, you want to see as much as possible. Plus, you want to climb Elbrus. Our July trip nailed the summit under the leadership of Jason Edwards. Can't say the same thing for the August trip. Don't know whether to blame lead guide, Phil Ershler, or our customers John Whetzell and Jim Keyes. All have been on the only two trips in IMG Elbrus history to not summit. Hmmm...

Congratulations to our July 2006 team — guides Jason Edwards and Igor Tsarouk, climbers Brenda Gordon, Chipper Johnson, David Carlin, Edward Amdahl, Edward Cebulko, Pat and Rob Hart, Jodie Edwards, John Barton, Leo McLean, Peter Diana, Reggie Vaden and Terri Franklin.

Congratulations (or is that condolences) to our August 2006 team — guides Phil Ershler and Igor Tsarouk, climbers Bill Harper, Jim Keyes, John Whetzell, Ed Lyon, Howard Galligan, Jeff Rollins, Joe Lawson, Kevin Ramundo, Mathew Pattison, Paul Kent-Snowsell, TA Loeffler and Tony Pierce.

For more information on our Elbrus trips, see: Elbrus Expeditions »

Machu Picchu Peru
Eric Simonson, Program Director

I had always hoped to get a chance to do the famous Inca Trail and visit Machu Picchu. In September 2006, I finally got the chance with a group I organized with friends Lew Semones and Bob Jones from Charlotte, North Carolina. We had a great trip, visiting Cusco and the archeological sites in the area, then hiking the classic 4-day Inca Trail route. Finally, we made a climb of the steep sentinel peak adjacent to Machu Picchu, known as Huayna Picchu, which involves hand and footholds carved into the rocks. Thanks to the team for a great trip: Lew Semones, Bob Jones, Alan Simonini, Blair Bryan, Paul Donohue, William McClean IV, William McClean III, Raymond Jones, William Whitley, Thomas Edgerton, George Mackie IV, Garrett McAvoy, Andrew Gamble, George Hart, Charles Bradley, Thomas Wilson. Please click here for more info on our Machu Picchu trips »

Smith Rocks Rock Climbing
George Dunn, Program Director

Smith Rocks in eastern Oregon is an equally attractive rock-climbing destination.

Last fall it was the scene of IMG's 2005 Ama Dablam expedition reunion.

This wasn't a guided program, just a fun reunion of friends. A good time was definitely had by all, thanks to Carl Werts, Mark Ursino, Pat Luke, Robin Desota, Lauren Desota, Cameron Ceglia, ace rock star Marilyn "MG" Geninatti, chief rock guide Jeff Ward and me. Thanks guys for a great end to a fabulous year. See you next year — where to this time?

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

Ama Dablam Climb
Eric Simonson, Program Director

After the Island Peak climb wrapped up, IMG guide Justin Merle led the Ama Dablam climbers to Ama Dablam, where they were joined by IMG Sherpas Ang Passang and Ang Chirring (Kami) for the ascent. They enjoyed good weather for their climb and reached the summit on October 31. Thanks to Ama Dablam climbers Agnes Sauvage, Brook Mancinelli, Stephen Wilson, Kami Sherpa, Ang Passang, and guide Justin Merle. Please click here for the 2006 expedition trip report »

Sikkim Trek
Phil Ershler, Program Director

Great trek. Simply a great trek. And, can you believe, our team had lunch in the home of Nawang Gombu in Darjeeling! Our host, Nawang Gombu, has been a close friend for 35 years. Gombu is the first man in history to climb Everest twice! Unbelievable! Our IMG team shared lunch with Gombu in his house and listened to his stories for over 2 hours. The house is like a museum, with photos of Gombu with various other famous climbers and dignitaries and his numerous awards and medals. It was our great privilege and our great honor to share time with our old friend.

The trek wasn't bad, either. The weather was flawless as we approached our goal and high point, Goencha La. We had perfect unobstructed views of Kanchenjunga, which I first climbed in 1989, just five kilometers away. Don't worry — we'll be back. Maybe in 2008.

When we go back, we'll definitely be accompanied by our great Sherpa crew from Darjeeling, including leader Dawa Tenjee and cook, Raj Komar. In fact, both men will join me in Bhutan in October 2007 for our trek there. I'm not going anywhere without those guys!

Congratulations to our October 2006 team — guides Phil Ershler and Dawa Tenjee, trekkers John and Gerlinde Whetzell, Mike Schiller, Anne Wallace, Kristin Hill, Eric Warren, Patterson Kraber, Stewart Fleming, Susan Cahill and William Warnke.

Mexico Volcanoes
Phil Ershler, Program Director

IMG Senior Guide, Tap Richards, did a great job of leading another full IMG group to the summits of both Ixta and Orizaba in Mexico. It's hard to believe that we've been going down to those mountains since the mid 70's. The trip showcases another great IMG relationship abroad, with two great benefits. First, we leave the cold fall and winter seasons and head into Mexican sunshine. Second, you can leave home on a Saturday and be back in your house the following Sunday. Only one week away from the office. See the details here: Mexico Volcanoes »

The November 2006 team did a great job, especially on Orizaba. As our group descended after reaching the summit, they watched as others had to turn back without the summit. We also want to acknowledge the work of guides JF Carrey, an Everest summiter from Canada, and our old Mexican friend, Oso (the bear).

Congratulations to our November 2006 team — guides Tap Richards, JF Carrey and Oso, climbers Amanda McCoy, Edward McCord, Glen Archer, James Hasse, Michael Hasse, Michael Worel, Paul LaPierre, Paul Weatherall, Thomas Pelland and Won-Gil Woolley.

Vinson Massif
Phil Ershler, Program Director

Vinson Massif is a tough expedition from a logistics standpoint. In 2005, all three IMG groups got in and out on schedule and all three were successful. Wasn't quite so easy in 2006. Flights were delayed on the way in due to weather and the team faced delays on the return, also due to weather. But, that's to be expected. After all, it's Antarctica! All our team members know where they're heading and are even excited by the uncertainties.

But, all delays are easy to accept when you've stood on top of the bottom of the world. And, that's exactly what the November 2006 IMG team did! IMG Senior Guides, Mark Tucker and Mike Hamill, did a simply sensational job in getting our group of climbers up, off and out safely. Four guided groups left for the summit on the same day. The IMG was one of those teams. One team reached the summit. That was the IMG team! Incredible! We even took a member from another team along to the summit. This is a big deal. Climbers invest a large sum of money and a good chunk of time in this attempt and we're proud that the IMG team pulled it off. Safety can never be compromised but we also understand that we're in business to provide the opportunity to reach the top, when we can. Mark, Mike and the entire team did just that and the results speak for themselves. WOW!

You'll find us down on the Ice again next season. Check out the details Vinson Massif. Don't wait. Prices for the flight are going up about $1000 a year right now. Let's get down there while we all still can! November or December 2007? I plan on personally going down to lead the November 2007 trip. Coming?

Congratulations to our November 2006 team — guides Mark Tucker and Mike Hamill, climbers Dan Griffith, Rex Pemberton, Roger Burleigh, Karyn Ohlsen, Trent Carey, Joe Lawson, Sylvia Moser and Jaroslaw Hawrylewicz.

 
top of pageRequest more infoRead client comments