August 2, 2011
For all you Rainier climbers out there here are a few photos I snapped today. I’ll be the first to admit the quality is lacking, but the ipod is all I had so don’t judge too harshly. Enjoy!
August 1, 2011
There’s a great t-shirt for sale after a Kilimanjaro climb with “Just Done It” printed in bold letters. That’s the story for our most recent team on Kilimanjaro. All members, with Eric Remza at the helm, got to the top. Even better news is that they’re all in their bags and fast asleep at Mweka Camp, around 10,000 ft. It’s warm and they’re breathing some thicker air.
Tomorrow’s a fairly short day with the team reaching the trail head around noon. Showers, clean clothes and a hamburger await the team at the Keys Hotel. A well-deserved safari to the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater follows. Nice job, gang.
August 1, 2011
Wonder is a funny thing. Take a mountain for example – you can look at it a 1000 times and see one thing, but on that 1001st turn you notice something different. As mountain climbers & guides, we have the privilege of the constant renewal of wonder. And over a five day span this summer, a group of Japanese film makers showed myself and two friends a new mountain which we had all climbed many times before. We were to climb the Fuhrer Finger route and film as we went.
As we reached our camps higher on the mountain we started to look at the mountain through their lens. I found myself saying out-loud, “this is absolutely amazing.” The Wilson and Nisqually glaciers, as they churn down the mountain, make a person feel so incredibly small.
By the time we reached the summit on day 3 everyone was quite tired yet very excited. Our plan was to reach the summit, set up camp then attempt to get into the steam caves. After a short nap we shook ourselves awake once again and began exploring, looking for an access point into the caves. The documentary filmmakers really wanted to demonstrate that Mt. Rainier was an active volcano and more importantly that the mountain was alive. Once we found a possible access point I was lowered down into the cave. I was filled with a mixture of hesitation and excitement. I was worried about being lowered into what I felt was the bottom of the earth, but excited to see what might be down there.
The warmth of the steam was instant. We would end up spending two and half hours in the cave, everyone wearing fleeces and hard shells. Deep in the cave we found a nalgene bottle, unfrozen. We roughly gauged one of the steam vents at 45C! I have included a handful of pictures because the words won’t do it justice.
Check out the full photo album here, and while you’re on the facebook page go ahead and click that ‘like button’.
July 31, 2011 (2:00pm PST)
IMG Guide Eric Remza reports that the team is awake and ready to get after it this morning. It’s just after midnight at High Camp on Kilimanjaro and the team is putting their boots on and getting some calories & H20 on-board before setting off for the summit.
They’ll start walking in about an hour (1am Tanzanian time/3pm PST) and if all goes as planned they’ll get to the summit after about 8 hours of some high altitude hiking or at roughly 9am Tanzanian time or 11pm PST.
The weather is cooperating so it’s go time!
July 31, 2011
Eric Remza and crew reported in again yesterday. The team’s main objective was the Baranco Wall. Looks intimidating as can be from below, but once you get started, it’s not anywhere near as bad. In fact, it ends up being one of the more enjoyable days. There’s even a bit of easy rock scrambling and the rock is scattered with great handholds. Lots of fun.
Weather remains pretty much perfect and the group took advantage. They made camp yesterday evening at Karanga, just above the Karanga River. Altitude now is about 13,500’. Today’s goal is to get to high camp early and in good shape. “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time”. They’re doing just that.
July 31, 2011
IMG Guide Dustin Balderach reported 100% on top of Mt. Baker yesterday. The team climbed a day earlier than scheduled taking advantage of yesterday afternoon’s weather window and from the sounds of it, they had a heck of a climb. They made it back to camp for dinner and even an evening training session.
They’ll wake up (already having summited – nice) have a leisurely breakfast then jump into a short training session to round things out before making their way to the trailhead.
Nice work everbody!
July 30, 2011
Yesterday afternoon got word from IMG Guide Ty Gimenez, who is leading our team on Mt. Baker – “all is well”. They camped at 6500ft. and given the strength of the team and iffy weather forecast they were considering climbing today. We’ll know more on the teams decision & progress later this afternoon or tomorrow morning.
Good cell reception on the Easton Glacier allowed IMG Guide Dustin Balderach to sneak out a couple photos.
July 29, 2011
Jim and his friend Mike made the summit, but their subsequent descent of the Emmons Glacier ended in a terrible accident. It’s quite a story, and for those of you who have been on Lib Ridge or the Emmons, you will recognize the terrain. Check it out!
July 28, 2011
Eric Remza called in this morning, evening in Tanzania. Another stretch completed. The team is spending the night on the Shira Plateau, around 12,500’. Eric reports clear skies. The views of the mountain from Shira are pretty much unobstructed. Should be some serious star gazing going on.
Tomorrow’s a longer day. They’ll head pretty much straight up until they hit about 14,500’ at the Lava Tower. Then, it’s pretty much straight down to the Baranco Valley at about 13,000’. Let’s hope they have good weather for the 6-7 hour hike. ‘Climb high, sleep low’, perfect for acclimatization.
July 28, 2011
On July 27, guide Eric Remza phoned in to say that all members had reached Machame Camp. 5.5 hours is good time. Elevation gain is close to 4,000’ so that’s a good effort.
First day is always exciting. After arriving at the Park Entrance, all the members need to register with the Park and it’s fun to watch porter loads being made up, weighed and distributed. Regulations are in place to keep porter loads to a reasonable amount. That’s a good thing and one we strongly support.
Easier day today with camp on the Shira Plateau being the goal. Pole, pole – one step at a time.