Entries By geoff schellens

Mexico’s Volcanoes: Waterfall & Team Travel to Puebla after Ixta Summit

Posted by: Geoff Schellens, Seth Waterfall | January 22, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mexico

Seth here, checking in from the Hotel Colonial in Puebla.  The group has just returned from dinner and everyone is headed to their rooms for a little shut eye.

The climb went well today and the weather was fantastic.  We awoke just after one AM and hit the trail before three.  We ascended ‘The Knees’ route on Ixta which involves several ups and downs along the way to the summit.  We started with some steep rock then moved into some ridge climbing and crossed two glaciers to reach the summit.  It was a spectacular day of climbing.

Everyone is looking forward to the rest day in Puebla tomorrow.

RMI Guide Seth Waterfall

The view on Ixtaccihuatl, looking toward Popocatepetl.  Photo: Seth Waterfall The RMI Mexico's Volcanoes January 18th team on the summit of Ixtaccihuatl.  Photo: Seth Waterfall

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Mexico’s Volcanoes: SUMMIT ON IXTACCIHUATL!

Posted by: Seth Waterfall, Geoff Schellens | January 22, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mexico
Elevation: 17,340'

Hey! This is Seth checking in from the summit of Ixta. We came up from high camp in just under five hours. We had a great climb and we are taking a bunch of photos.  We are going to turn around and head back to where we stashed our packs in the crater. We will then head back to high camp and finally onto Puebla tonight. Everybody is psyched and feeling good! We will check in when we are at the hotel.

RMI Guide Seth Waterfall

Sunrise on Ixtaccihuatl. RMI Photo Collection


Seth from Summit of Ixta 1-22-14

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Mexico’s Volcanoes: Waterfall and Team ready for Summit Bid on Ixta

Posted by: Seth Waterfall, Geoff Schellens | January 21, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mexico
Elevation: 15,000'

Hey this is Seth checking in from High Camp on Ixta, that’s just over 15,000’ for us. We came up today from our last camp. We spent about four and a half hours on the trail, everyone is doing excellent. Tents are all set up and we are firing up the stoves getting ready to have dinner. Then we will talk about our strategy for the climb and have an early bedtime.  We will be getting up in the middle of the night and will head out for the summit.  We will call you when we reach that point.  Hope all is well back home.

RMI Guide Seth Waterfall and Team.

High Camp on Ixta. RMI Photo Collection


Seth Waterfall calling in from High Camp on Ixta.

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Mexico’s Volcanoes: Waterfall and Team Head for Ixta

Posted by: Geoff Schellens, Seth Waterfall | January 20, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mexico
Elevation: 12,000'

Good morning!  We’ve moved on from La Malinche and are currently enjoying the best breakfast in Mexico at the Mission Tlaxcala.  After breakfast we’re headed for the village of Amecameca and then on to the base camp at Ixta.  Our plan is to get an acclimatization hike in this afternoon and tomorrow head to high camp.

RMI Guide Seth Waterfall

The RMI Team enjoying breakfast at Mission Tlaxcala.  Photo: Seth Waterfall

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Mexico: Waterfall & Team Acclimate on La Malinche

Posted by: Seth Waterfall, Geoff Schellens | January 19, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mexico
Elevation: 10,000'

Hey this is Seth checking in from La Malinche over here in Mexico. We just had a great day climbing up the mountain actually of La Malinche. We made it to just about 13,500’ from our cabanas here at 10,000 feet. It was getting to be around 4:15 at that point so we turned around, descended back down here to 10,000’ and just finished with a nice dinner and we’re getting tucked in. There’s actually TVs in the room here so we were able to pipe in the Seahawks-49ers game. We started a fire in the fireplace and we’re gonna watch them. [Connection lost.]

Tomorrow the team will depart La Malinche and drive toward Ixtaccihuatl’s Altzomoni Hut.

RMI Guide Seth Waterfall

La Malinche's summit rising above the valley of Puebla, Mexico. Photo: RMI Collection


RMI Guide Seth Waterfall calls in with a team update.

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Mexico: Seth Waterfall & Team Arrive in Mexico City

Posted by: Seth Waterfall, Geoff Schellens | January 18, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mexico
Elevation: 7,300'

Buenas Tardes!  The team is all here and excited to kick off the Mexico’s Volcanoes trip.  Everyone arrived today and we had our first team meeting in the evening.  Some of the group went on to bed while the rest of us went out for a delicious Mexican dinner.

We made an early night of it since tomorrow we hit the ground running and head for our first destination, La Malinche.

RMI Guide Seth Waterfall

Overlooking the Zocalo of Mexico City from RMI's hotel. Photo: RMI Collection

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RMI Guide Geoff Schellens Recaps his Climb of Mt. Hunter with RMI Guides Jake Beren and Leon Davis

Posted by: Geoff Schellens | October 24, 2013
Categories: *Guide News

Guides and climbers often struggle with sitting still, so RMI Guides Jake Beren, Leon Davis, and I quickly decided on a personal trip into the Alaska Range this spring.  The three of us have guided Denali many times - and as any climber who has been to the Alaska Range knows, it is difficult to travel past countless beautiful peaks, ridges, and faces and ignore the siren call to come climb them.  This trip was all about pulling the wax from our ears and sailing directly towards the siren’s song.  With no clear plans or objectives, we decided to simply climb what looked enticing.  After ten days in the Ruth Gorge, the three of us were picked up from the Ruth Glacier and flown to the Southeast Fork of the Kahiltna Glacier.  In early May we climbed the Southwest ridge of Mt. Francis, an excellent ridgeline that offered quality alpine rock and steep snow climbing.  With good weather holding, we rested and restocked for the West Ridge of Mt. Hunter.

A shadow of a climber on the Southwest Ridge of Mt. Francis.


On May 9th Jake and I departed from Base Camp around 8:00 AM, skiing down the Southeast Fork through the cold, crisp morning air to the main flow of the Kahiltna Glacier.  We continued down the glacier for another half hour and reached the West Ridge of Mt. Hunter.  Here Jake and I cached our skis and began climbing.  We approached this objective in a light and fast technique, known as “alpine style,” bringing four days of food, a small stove, a lightweight tent, and no comfort items.  As we started climbing we found a very nice boot pack leading up the ridge that made for extremely efficient travel.  At first we felt guilty drafting behind someone else breaking trail, but soon decided that each of us has done our fair share of trail breaking on other peaks and that we ought to just enjoy this one.  As the two of us climbed higher on the West Ridge with ear-to-ear smiles we decided on a plan, “Lets climb until we’re not having fun and then camp there.” Well, the climbing on the West Ridge was extremely fun and after twelve hours of navigating the corniced ridge, peppered with exquisite sections of rock, steep snow and ice, we found ourselves at the 11,400’ bivy - tired but still smiling.  We set our tent in a small notch and ate freeze-dried dinners with a fantastic view of the Alaska Range.  It was truly an awesome place to be.

RMI Guide Jake Beren on the West Ridge of Mt. Hunter.


The next morning brought beautiful weather and a sense of excitement for where we were and what lay ahead.  With our approach of simply having fun, we enjoyed the morning views and a few cups of coffee before breaking camp at noon.  Moving quickly relishing every step and with a swing of an ice tool we ascended steep snow pitches and navigated gaping crevasses. Soon we found ourselves on the summit plateau at 13,000’ walking across the largest stretch of horizontal terrain we had seen in thirty hours. From there we ascended the final 55° slope that took us to the summit ridge. From there, forty more minutes of easy climbing gave way to the summit of Mt. Hunter.  While standing on the summit Jake and I hooted and hollered with excitement, “What a fun climb!”

RMI Guides Jake Beren and Leon Davis climbing on the Southwest Ridge of Mt. Francis.


Soon we began our descent with the same approach we used on the ascent - climb until it is not fun and then set up camp.  Down the ridge we went back to our bivy site, where we decided to descend via the Ramen Route.  Quickly Jake and I realized that we had made a wrong turn into the entrance of the Couloir. This meant that we had to do a few tricky rappels and down climb through seracs to get ourselves back on route.  Once we were back on track, we had a few more rappels before softer snow conditions allowed us to down climb to the base of the 3,300’ Ramen Coulior.
Now, for the second time in two days, we found ourselves again on flat glaciated terrain. At this point it was getting late in the day, but we were still enjoying ourselves and decided to continue our descent. Due to the time of day we chose to navigate the extremely broken-up glacier since it provided more camping opportunities if we needed to set up camp. This was a time intensive descent however as Jake and I soon found ourselves in a world surrounded by incomprehensible seracs and crevasses.  A couple more hours brought us back to the main flow of the Kahiltna Glacier and our skis.  After forty-two hours we arrived back at Base Camp exhausted, hungry, thirsty, and smiling.  Employing our tactic of “climb until we are not having fun” had been the perfect strategy for this route.

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RMI Guide Geoff Schellens is a senior guide leading trips on Aconcagua, the North Cascades, Mt. Rainier, as well as, guiding Ice Climbing and Mt. McKinley. He is currently preparing for his next adventure this spring on Dhaulagiri, an 8,000 meter peak in the Himalayas. See more of Geoff’s mountain photography on his website.

RMI Guide Jake Beren climbing the West Ridge of Mt. Hunter. The shadow of a climber on the Southwest Ridge of Mt. Francis. RMI Guides Jake Beren and Leon Davis climbing on the Southwest Ridge of Mt. Francis.

Mt. Rainier: Four Day Summit Climb Turns Below Camp Muir

Posted by: Geoff Schellens, Leon Davis | September 22, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount Rainier
Elevation: 8,000'

The Four Day Summit Climb Teams led by RMI Guides Leon Davis and Geoff Schellens were forced to turn around at 8,000’ today en route to Camp Muir.  The teams experienced wet and windy weather with low visibility.  They made the tough decision to descend and return to Paradise.  The teams arrived at Rainier BaseCamp just before 3 pm PT.


Mt. Rainier: September 15th Summit!

Posted by: Geoff Schellens, Leon Davis | September 15, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount Rainier
Elevation: 14,410'

The Four Day Summit Climb August 12 - 15 and the Five Day Summit Climb August 11 - 15 both reached the summit of Mt. Rainier this morning.  RMI Guides Leon Davis and Geoff Schellens reported they were in a cloud cap on the summit with low visibility and light winds from the South/Southwest.  The teams began their descent from the crater rim shortly after 7 am.  They will return to Camp Muir for a short break before continuing their descent to Paradise this afternoon.

Congratulations to today’s climbers!

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Mt. Shuksan: Geoff and Team Spend the Day Training

Posted by: Geoff Schellens | September 06, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *North Cascades

Hi all,
Today is our last day on Shuksan before we hike out tomorrow.  We spent the morning relaxing getting in and out of our tents as the rain storms were sporadic.  By early afternoon it seemed stable enough and we did some training.  First we practiced knots and hitches, then we moved on to building snow anchors, and wrapped up with some crevasse rescue scenarios.  We are now back in tents as a very dark ominous looking cloud quickly approaches. 

That’s the latest from Shuksan,

RMI Guide Geoff Schellens & Team

Rope Work on Shuksan. Photo: Geoff Schellens

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