Mt. Rainier: RMI Guide Brent Okita Checks In as the Seminar Ascends to Camp Muir

Posted by: Brent Okita, Zeb Blais, Ben Liken, Robby Young | April 15, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount Rainier
Elevation: 10,060'

We had a great day for making our way to Camp Muir yesterday. Blue skies and just enough wind to keep us from over heating. Everyone did well! 

Camp Muir will be home through Friday.  The next few days we’ll be training around Camp Muir.  It’s going to be a fantastic week!

RMI Guide Brent Okita

Taking a break on our way up the Muir Snowfield. Photo: Brent Okita Mt. Rainier seminar ascending to Camp Muir. Photo: Brent Okita Beautiful vast views on Mt. Rainier seminar. Photo: Brent Okita
1

RMI Guide Geoff Schellens Looks Back On AMGA Ice Instructor Course

Posted by: Geoff Schellens | April 15, 2014
Categories: *Guide News

With support from the Eddie Bauer - RMI Guide Grant, RMI Guide Geoff Schellens took part in an American Mountain Guides Association (AMGA) Ice Instructor Course this winter near Ouray, Colorado. Afterward, Geoff sat down and shared some stories from the course.

Ice climbing is a unique discipline of climbing, which poses specific challenges for the climber: ice fall, rock fall, specific equipment needs, over heating, becoming too cold, and avalanche hazards, just to name a few.  Guiding ice climbing requires quite a bit of preparation, awareness, and technique to mitigate these challenges. 

Ice Climbing on Dexter Falls (Geoff Schellens)

On the third day of my five-day AMGA Ice Instructor Course, we had planned to take two groups to Eureka, Colorado, to climb long multi-pitch ice routes.  Avalanches from large snow bowls above threaten many of these routes, like the classic Stairway to Heaven.  On this cold, crisp morning we encountered six inches of new snow, and after driving up to Red Mountain Pass we decided that the avalanche risk was too high and opted to go with our back up plan: climbing at Dexter Falls. 

Dexter is just north of Ouray, Colorado, and offers excellent multi-pitch ice routes that are exposed to less avalanche hazard.  Climbing Dexter Falls with two teams of three climbers posed new guiding challenges.  Namely, avoiding knocking ice onto the climbers below.  We chose to climb with both teams parallel to each other to protect against this.  Parallel rope technique requires that the lead climber is thoughtful about where both following climbers will be ascending.  The goal to keep them on slightly separate routes, allowing any loose ice to fall without risking injury to either climber. 

Ice Climbing (Geoff Schellens)

The climbing was fun and we topped out having done it in a safe manner. Climbing ice in Ouray, Colorado, or anywhere for that matter, is easy and enjoyable after acquiring a relatively straightforward skill set.

I hope you enjoy the photos!
____
Geoff Schellens is a senior guide for RMI Expeditions, leading trips in Argentina, the North Cascades, Alaska, and Colorado. Geoff is currently climbing Dhaulagiri, an 8,000 meter peak in the Himalayas. See more of Geoff’s mountain photography on his website The Exposed Edge.


Mt. Everest: Rest Day for the Team at Everest Base Camp

Posted by: Dave Hahn, J.J. Justman, Billy Nugent, Mark Tucker | April 14, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Everest
Elevation: 17,575'

Today was a well-timed rest day.  Following our recent daily pattern, it was sunny and calm in the morning and snowing and socked in by noon.  The team took the chance to wash up and get clean during the sunny hours, and then hunkered down within the tents for the afternoon.  The much talked about Everest Basecamp WiFi hotspots and 3G cell coverage have both been dysfunctional in the extreme of late, bringing the teams back virtually to the 1990’s in terms of connectivity… roughing it.  Yesterday was a very popular day for Puja ceremonies and so the drab moraine rubble we call home was transformed by a vast spiderweb of interconnected colorful prayer flags streaming from the numerous chortens.  Tomorrow, our Sherpa team is geared up for a carry to Camp II while the climbers have a conditioning hike to Kalapathar in mind.

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

View from above Everest Basecamp. Photo: Jake Norton

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8

Mt. Everest:  Team Continues Training

Posted by: Dave Hahn, Billy Nugent, J.J. Justman, Mark Tucker | April 13, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Everest
Elevation: 17,575'

Today the team went uphill in a few big ways.  The Sherpa team carried loads all the way to Camp II (ABC) at 21,300 ft before returning to base while the climbing guides and climbers geared up and traveled to the first ladders in the icefall route.  It takes about 90 minutes or so to reach those lowest ladders, but we figure it was pretty good practice.  The “trail” involves a lot of crampon work up and down endless ice ridges before the actual fixed ropes begin.  The fixed lines take a little getting used to when it comes to passing intermediate anchors in steep and awkward spots.  Then we started encountering the much anticipated ladders, the first few this season being short and simple.  But we continued on until we hit a slightly longer set of ladder sections tied together and bridging a pretty deep and dark crevasse.  The team took turns tip-toeing across the rungs and from time to time just standing back to watch Sherpa climbers dance effortlessly across in their descent from a hard day of work.  Descent from that big and worthy crevasse a little over 18,000 ft was pretty good training all in itself.  The team moved better and better as climbers got accustomed to the routines of “arm-rappels” and clipping past snow and ice anchors.  We reached the crampons-off point just as the daily afternoon snowstorm began, but that meant we were only ten minutes from camp.  Once back in our home away from home it was an easy afternoon of lunch, games, naps and good conversation.

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

Everest Base Camp and the Lower Khumbu Icefall.  Photo: RMI Collection


RMI Guide and Base Camp Manager Mark Tucker checks in with an update on the Mt. Everest Expedition.

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3

Dhaulagiri: RMI Guides Spend a Night at Camp 1 and are Back in Basecamp

Posted by: Elias de Andres Martos, Jake Beren, Geoff Schellens, Garrett Stevens | April 12, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Guide News
Elevation: 15,584'

Hello, this is Dhaulagiri climbing team on Saturday, April 12th. We have come back to base camp. We had made a move to Camp 1 and spent last night up there. We were forced to move down because of the bad weather. However that was pretty much the plan after moving up there and caching some gear and spend at least a night for acclimatization. We have about a foot of snow at base camp and we got about 1 1/2 feet at Camp 1 last night. Looks like the trend is going to be like that for the next couple of days and we are going to wait it out down here. We’ll keep you posted on the move. So far the “mountain of storms.” We will see what happens. Hope everyone is doing well and we’ll check in later.

RMI Guide Elias de Andres Martos


Elias de Andres Martos calls in from Dhaulagiri Basecamp.

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2

Mt. Everest: Sherpa & Guide Teams Check Out Camp 1 as Climbing Team Acclimatizes on Pumori

Posted by: Dave Hahn, J.J. Justman, Billy Nugent | April 12, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Everest
Elevation: 17,575'

Hey, this is Dave Hahn calling from Mount Everest. We’re still doing voice dispatches. We don’t have internet connectivity yet. There is hope that we’ll have it in the next couple of days if they fix the cell tower down valley.

Things are going well up here. Our Sherpa team and our guide team went through the Icefall yesterday. Some of the first to go through the Khumbu Icefall for this season. We went to Camp 1 and came back down yesterday morning. All was well. Today the climbing team, went to Pumori Camp 1.  Pumori is one of the beautiful mountains around base camp. Of course we didn’t go for the summit of that; it would be pretty technical. But going up to Camp 1 was good exercise and got us up to some altitude. It wasn’t the best day for being out in the hills. It was kind of snowy and gray but we made a good outing out of it. And then had an easy afternoon back here at base camp, so everything’s going well. The base camp is filling up. Lots of teams coming in now. So it’s getting a little bit more like regular Everest season by now. All for today. We’ll keep in touch.

RMI Guide Dave Hahn

Prayer flags below Pumori. Photo: Jeff Martin View from Pumori C1. Photo: Dave Hahn Dave Hahn descending the Khumbu Icefall. Photo: Dave Hahn


Dave Hahn calls in after first time this season through the Khumbu Icefall.

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4

RMI Hosts Prep for Rainier Classes at REI

Posted by: Ben Liken, Paul Maier | April 11, 2014
Categories: *Guide News

RMI is hosting several Prep for Rainier classes over the months of February, March, and April at local REI stores in the Puget Sound area. Join RMI’s experienced guides to discuss everything that is needed to prepare for Mt. Rainier, including conditioning, trip planning, route selection, and equipment selection to climb Washington State’s highest point!

Come out to your local REI store to hear stories and answer your questions about Mt. Rainier!

Tuesday 4/15/2014 7:00pm REI Redmond with RMI Guide Paul Maier More info…

Join RMI for classes on how to prepare for Mt. Rainier at your local REI store!

Mt. Everest: Mark Tucker Checking in after the Puja Ceremony

Posted by: Mark Tucker, Dave Hahn, J.J. Justman, Billy Nugent | April 10, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches
Elevation: 17,575'

Hello! Mark Tucker checking in from Everest Base Camp. We had a wonderful ceremony today. The puja altar was just as beautiful as it gets. A wonderful day. Just a real, pretty ceremony. Everybody in attendance and we all had a good time. So we packed up a lot a loads. We have our whole Sherpa staff heading up the hill to carry all the necessary provisions to get a great Camp 1 established. And our three super guides, Dave, Billy and JJ, are going to go get their feet wet and check on the route and check on the camp and get things looking up-to-snuff for the rest of the western team. We will do some maintenance down here- a little bit of hiking, maybe a shower day. We have plenty to do to prep ourselves for the near future. We are going to be up real early and get these boys off to work on their commute to Camp 1 tomorrow. So all is well and like I said, we had a really nice day.  We’ll check in tomorrow.

RMI Guide Mark Tucker

Everest BC - Puja ceremony. Photo: RMI Collection Raising the mast at a puja ceremony. Photo: RMI Collection Puja lamas and drum. Photo: RMI Collection


RMI Guide Mark Tucker calls in after the puja ceremony.

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11

James and Team;
Good to hear the important Puja ceremony is over and ready to move uphill to the First camp. Be safe and stay healthy. BC

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Posted by: bc on 4/10/2014 at 12:14 pm


Dhaulagiri: RMI Team Making Progress on the Mountain

Posted by: Elias de Andres Martos, Jake Beren, Geoff Schellens, Garrett Stevens | April 10, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Guide News
Elevation: 15,584'

Hello, this is the Dhaulagiri climbing team calling from basecamp on Thursday, the 10th of April. We have been here now for a few days. We made some progress on the mountain.  We’ve moved a couple of caches almost to Camp 1. We have had a few peeks of the mountain, in between a couple of severe storms that have fallen upon us. We were pretty close and a move to Camp 1 has been made. The four of us have acclimatized to that elevation, and we will try to push out there tomorrow and spend a couple of nights. The weather forecast looks favorable to us for the next couple of days. The weather here has been a little weird with really clear mornings and snowstorms pretty much every afternoon, so that has been a little interesting. We are enjoying ourselves pretty well here. Everybody is very healthy and in good spirits. We’ll try to make some progress and spend our first night at altitude. We’ll keep you posted with more once we make that move. We hope you are all doing very, very well. Regards from Nepal.

RMI Guide Elias de Andres Martos


RMI Guide Elias de Andres Martos calls in from Dhaulagiri's Basecamp.

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2

Mt. Everest: JJ Justman Calls in with Today’s Activities at Base Camp

Posted by: Dave Hahn, J.J. Justman, Billy Nugent | April 09, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Everest
Elevation: 17,575'

Hi everyone, this is JJ Justman with the Everest climbing team, sitting here at base camp another day. It is the evening, right around 8 o’clock. We just finished another great dinner prepared by our sous chef. Today we had a really great day. It was our second day of training in the Icefall. We set up a nice obstacle course and got everyone familiar with some of the ups and downs and the crosses of what the Khumbu Icefall is going to entail. Everyone’s doing really well. It’s nice to have some practice on some fairly solid ground before we get to the real thing. Everyone just did a tremendous job. It’s really good to see great teamwork. Tomorrow we have some more teamwork with everyone- Sherpas, kitchen staff, climbing team members, Jeff [Martin] and Mark Tucker, our base camp manager. We are having our puja tomorow. That’s a nice little ceremony before we actually head up onto the mountain. We’ll tell you a little bit more about the puja tomorrow. Everyone’s doing well. It’s a beautiful night here. We’re going to play a little poker, some chess and have another great evening here at Everest Base Camp. Take care everyone. Thanks for following along. Ciao.

RMI Guide JJ Justman

RMI's Everest Base Camp at night. Photo: RMI Collection


RMI Guide JJ Justman calls in from Everest Base Camp.

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11

....If you’re playing a little chess I know my Spenny will be in on it!  I know Dave is a great player but he better watch out!  Spencer, I miss… read more

Posted by: jan pipkin on 4/9/2014 at 12:08 pm


Previous Page More Entries

Expedition Stats

Vinson Massif
11/19 - 12/11/2013
Summit
Four Day Summit Climb
8/18 - 8/21/2013
Summit
Expedition Skills Seminar - Emmons
8/16 - 8/21/2013
Summit
Four Day Summit Climb
8/19 - 8/22/2013
Summit
Four Day Summit Climb
8/20 - 8/23/2013
Summit
Expedition Skills Seminar - Paradise
8/18/ - 8/23/2013
Summit
Four Day Summit Climb
8/21 - 8/24/2013
Summit
Kilimanjaro
8/17 - 8/31/2013
Summit
Four Day Summit Climb
8/22 - 8/25/2013
Summit
Four Day Summit Climb
8/23 - 8/26/2013
Summit
Four Day Summit Climb
8/24 - 8/27/2013
10,080'
Four Day Summit Climb
8/25 - 8/28/2013
10,800'
Four Day Summit Climb
8/26 - 8/29/13
10,200'
Four Day Summit Climb
8/27 - 8/30/2013
11,200'
Four Day Summit Climb
8/28 - 8/31/2013
11,800'
Mt. Shuksan
8/25 - 8/30/2013
7,200'
Four Day Summit Climb
8/29 - 9/1/2013
11,200'
Mt. Shuksan Fisher Chimneys
8/30 - 9/2/2013
Summit
Mt. Shuksan Fisher Chimneys
8/30 - 9/1/13
Summit
Four Day Summit Climb
8/30 - 9/2/2013
12,700'
Four Day Summit Climb
8/31 - 9/3/2013
12,300'
Four Day Summit Climb
9/1 - 9/4/2013
12,300'
Four Day Summit Climb
9/2 - 9/5/2013
10,080'
Four Day Summit Climb
9/3 - 9/6/2013
10,080'
Mt. Shuksan Sulphide Glacier
9/2 - 9/6/2013
Summit
Everest Base Camp Trek
10/28 - 11/21/2013
Reached Base Camp
Four Day Summit Climb
9/4 - 9/7/13
11,600'
Four Day Summit Climb
9/5 - 9/8/2013
12,900'
Mt. Elbrus - Northside
8/22 - 9/7/13
14,000'
Four Day Summit Climb
9/6 - 9/9/2013
12,300'
Kilimanjaro
9/2 - 9/16/2013
Summit
Expedition Skills Seminar - Muir
9/8 - 9/13/2013
Summit
Four Day Summit Climb
9/11 - 9/14/2013
Summit
Four Day Summit Climb
9/12 - 9/15/2013
Summit
Five Day Summit Climb
9/11 - 9/15/2013
Summit
Four Day Summit Climb
9/13 - 9/16/2013
Summit
Expedition Skills Seminar - Muir
9/15 - 9/20/2013
Summit
Four Day Summit Climb
9/18 - 9/21/2013
Summit
Kilimanjaro
9/14 - 9/28/2013
Summit
Four Day Summit Climb
9/19 - 9/22/2013
12,300'
Five Day Summit Climb
9/18 - 9/22/2013
12,300'
Four Day Summit Climb
9/20 - 9/23/2013
8,000'
Fisher Chimneys
9/16 - 9/18/2013
Summit
Expedition Skills Seminar - Muir
9/22 - 9/27/2013
Summit
Five Day Summit Climb
9/25 - 9/29/2013
7,600'
Kilimanjaro
10/5 - 10/19/2013
Summit
Mexico's Volcanoes
10/19 - 10/27/2013
14,700' Ixtaccihuatl / 16,500' Orizaba
Ecuador Volcanoes
12/10 - 12/20/2013
Cayambe - Summit / Cotopaxi - Summit
Vinson Massif
12/1 - 12/23/2013
Summit
Aconcagua
12/9 - 12/29/2013
21,700'
Aconcagua
12/14 - 1/6/2014
Summit
Aconcagua
12/20 - 1/12/2014
Summit
Expedition Skills Seminar - Winter
1/5 - 1/10/2014
10,080'
Aconcagua
12/27 - 1/19/2014
Summit
Expedition Skills Seminar - Ecuador
1/7 - 1/20/2014
Cayambe - Summit / Antisana - 18,500' / Cotopaxi - Summit
Mexico's Volcanoes
1/18 - 1/26/2014
Ixtaccihuatl - Summit / Orizaba - Summit
Aconcagua
1/10 - 2/2/2014
Summit
Aconcagua
1/3 - 1/26/2014
21,500'
Kilimanjaro
1/25 - 2/8/2014
Summit
Expedition Skills Seminar - Winter
2/9 - 2/14/2014
7,100'
Kilimanjaro
2/8 - 2/22/2014
Summit
Ecuador Volcanoes
2/11 - 2/21/2014
Cayambe - Summit / Cotopaxi - Summit
Aconcagua
2/2 - 2/25/2014
Summit
Mexico's Volcanoes
2/15 - 2/23/2014
Ixtaccihuatl - Summit / Orizaba - Summit
Kilimanjaro
2/10 - 2/21/2014
Summit
Expedition Skills Seminar - Ecuador
2/14 - 2/26/2014
Illiniza Sur - Summit / Cotopaxi - Summit
Mexico's Volcanoes
3/1 - 3/9/2014
Ixtaccihuatl - Summit / Orizaba - Summit
Expedition Skills Seminar - Winter
3/9 - 3/14/2014
Summit
Everest Base Camp Trek - Island Peak
3/16 - 4/10/2014
Summit

Recent Images

  • Mt. Everest with a wind-swept plume. Photo: RMI Collection
  • Khumbu Icefall after the April 18th avalanche. Photo: Dave Hahn
  • Last rest break on the mountain. Photo: Brent Okita
  • Group photo near Paradise. Photo: Brent Okita
  • The winter seminar training in tough conditions at Camp Muir. Photo: Brent Okita
  • Night exposure of the Khumbu Icefall. Photo: RMI Collection
  • The Mt. Rainier winter seminar's high point today. Photo: Robby Young
  • Winter seminar training with avalanche transceivers. Photo: Brent Okita
  • The winter seminar traversing the Cowlitz Glacier. Photo: Brent Okita
  • B3 Helicopter Leaving Everest BC Helipad. Photo: Dave Hahn
  • Mt. Everest from the Kalapathar summit. Photo: RMI Collection
  • Taking a break on our way up the Muir Snowfield. Photo: Brent Okita
  • Mt. Rainier seminar ascending to Camp Muir. Photo: Brent Okita
  • Beautiful vast views on Mt. Rainier seminar. Photo: Brent Okita
  • View from above Everest Basecamp. Photo: Jake Norton
  • Everest Base Camp and the Lower Khumbu Icefall.  Photo: RMI Collection
  • Prayer flags below Pumori. Photo: Jeff Martin
  • View from Pumori C1. Photo: Dave Hahn
  • Dave Hahn descending the Khumbu Icefall. Photo: Dave Hahn
  • Join RMI for classes on how to prepare for Mt. Rainier at your local REI store!
  • Everest BC - Puja ceremony. Photo: RMI Collection
  • Raising the mast at a puja ceremony. Photo: RMI Collection
  • Puja lamas and drum. Photo: RMI Collection
  • RMI's Everest Base Camp at night. Photo: RMI Collection
  • The sun setting on the peaks surrounding Everest Base Camp.  Photo: RMI Collection
  • Kathmandu, Nepal.  Photo: Linden Mallory
  • Touring the Khumbu close to Everest BC. Photo: RMI Collection
  • The moon over Everest's West Shoulder and Base Camp. Photo: RMI Collection
  • Surrounding views from Everest BC. Photo: RMI Collection
  • Casey Grom's team back in Namche. Photo: Casey Grom