- Melissa Arnot
- Alex Barber
- Bridget Belliveau
- Jake Beren
- Zeb Blais
- Katrina Bloemsma
- Katie Bono
- Lance Colley
- Sean Collon
- Leon Davis
- Elias de Andres Martos
- Pepper Dee
- Mark Falender
- Leah Fisher
- Lindsay Fixmer
- Eric Frank
- Steve Gately
- JM Gorum
- Casey Grom
- Billy Haas
- Dave Hahn
- Walter Hailes
- Mike Haugen
- Andy Hildebrand
- Joe Horiskey
- Nick Hunt
- Tyler Jones
- JJ Justman
- Andrew Kiefer
- Mike King
- Adam Knoff
- Caleb Ladue
- Ben Liken
- Josh Maggard
- Paul Maier
- Linden Mallory
- Lindsay Mann
- Jeff Martin
- Stoney Molina
- Chase Nelson
- Billy Nugent
- Brent Okita
- Sid Pattison
- Tyler Reid
- Kel Rossiter
- Geoff Schellens
- Mike Soucy
- Garrett Stevens
- Mark Tucker
- Mike Uchal
- Pete Van Deventer
- Alex Van Steen
- Ed Viesturs
- Christina von Mertens
- Mike Walter
- Seth Waterfall
- Solveig Waterfall
- Peter Whittaker
- Win Whittaker
- Robby Young
Posts for Guide News
Yesterday morning I flew into Kathmandu. It was my first daytime flight into this wondrous city. It was beautifully clear weather, and seeing the Himalaya from the air provided an awesome perspective—with Everest, Lhotse, Makalu and many other peaks visible on the horizon. This is my third 8000-meter expedition, with previous expeditions to Cho Oyu and Shishapangma. My goal for this expedition is to climb Manaslu (8156m)- solo and without bottled oxygen.
Today I had a relaxing afternoon catching up with my Nepalese friends on the outskirts of Kathmandu valley. Drinking Nepali Raksi (moonshine) and Chhaang (rice beer) along with some quite tasty finger foods - with no ill effects this morning - hopefully I’m working up some immunity to Nepalese microorganisms. However, the heat and humidity of Kathmandu have me daydreaming of Manaslu’s glacial base camp. I’m excited to be back in Nepal!
The next two days I will busy myself with buying supplies and packing for the trek in. I plan to depart on the 2nd of September for Arughat, a small village in central Nepal. From Arughat it is an eight-day trek into Manaslu base camp. This time of year is hot, humid, and wet; I am packing my umbrella as the trek starts in the lowland rainforest.
This spring I teamed up with an international crew of ski mountaineers to traverse Tajikistan’s Fedchenko Glacier. Before the expedition, I had hardly heard of Tajikistan and certainly had never dreamed of crossing one of the longest glaciers outside of the Polar Regions. When the opportunity arose, I couldn’t say no. A high mountain adventure to a central Asian country on the northern border of Afghanistan wasn’t something my sense of adventure would just let me walk away from.
The trip came to life three years ago when three Canadian skiers hatched the idea and began the logistics. I was brought on because the team wanted two more experienced ski mountaineers for the remote and relatively unexplored zone of the Pamir mountain range.
Having traveled in developing countries before, I knew that I not only wanted to travel, climb and ski in this remote range, but to give back to the mountain communities that would help inevitably help us on our adventure along the way. As I packed my gear for the trip I noticed how much great warm clothing I had to choose from and I realized that I didn’t even use half of it anymore. This was it! I could get people to donate the winter clothing they hadn’t used in years and put it to good use in a country where access to technical apparel was slim to nil. I began a clothing drive and between me and my teammates Holly Walker, Emelie Stenberg, Vince Shuley and Selena Cordeau, we were able to collect and give 350 pounds of clothing to give to the Tajik people who needed the clothes far more than we did.
The good vibes from the clothing drive started our trip on a positive note - which was good, because it was a long, hard trip. We planned on one week for getting on and off the tributary glaciers to get to and from the Fedchenko. It ended up taking us thirteen days, nearly twice as long. We planned on setting up three basecamps and skiing 6000m peaks for two weeks; we were tent bound for six of those days due to weather. On top of all that, the snowpack was just about as unstable as it could get. This greatly limited what we were able to climb and ski.
Despite the hard work and frustrating snowpack, we had an amazing trip. Massive valleys, towering peaks like Peak Ismoil Somoni (formerly Peak Communism) and Independence Peak (Peak Revolution) and miles of ice surrounded us in a grand scale. We were in a place that few people had been before and completely isolated except for our DeLorme InReach two way satellite texting device. It was humbling and inspiring.
We met our goal of traversing the Fedchenko from our starting point in a town called Poy Mazor to its head and descended out the beautiful and rugged Tanimas Valley. Due to the exploratory nature of this trip and having little information about our exit, we left ourselves a few extra days before we would all have to fly home.
Our extra days were spent regaining some of the pounds we lost during the expedition eating fresh tandoor bread, kebabs and local apricots and cherries. People greeted us everywhere and invited us to share bread and tea with them even if they couldn’t speak a word of English (and we could only muster hello and thank you in Tajik).
The team left Tajikistan with a good taste in our mouths in more ways than one. We explored and lived in a high mountain range for 29 days, were exposed to the kind and generous culture of the Tajik, Pamir and Afghan people and came home safe!
Thanks to the Eddie Bauer/ RMI Guide grant for assisting me in this amazing pursuit. The lessons I learned on this trip will forever shape my decision making and goals in the mountains. Until next time…
Zeb Blais is a Senior Guide at RMI. He has climbed and skied mountains throughout North America. When he is not guiding, Zeb teaches avalanche courses and ski patrols at Squaw Valley in California. His spare time usually doesn’t save his feet from ski boots.
With support from the Eddie Bauer - RMI Guide Grant, RMI Guide Lindsay Mann took part in an American Avalanche Institute Level 3 Avalanche Course this winter in Jackson, Wyoming. Afterward, Lindsay sat down to reflect on the course.
This past January I participated in an American Avalanche Institute Level 3 Course in Jackson, Wyoming. A Level 3 Avi Course entails a great deal of prep work as participants need to complete snow observations, make numerous snow pit profiles, and spend ample experience traveling and making decisions in avalanche terrain before the course even begins. After several days of classroom and field learning, the course concluded with several testing components. These test involved completing a full data snow pit in under an hour, finding three buried avalanche beacons in less than seven minutes, and completing a written test.
The conditions for our course were ideal for learning. Midway through the course a major storm cycle came through the area, resulting in rapidly changing conditions within the snowpack that had a wide array of implications on avalanche risk. While the class focused on the technical aspects of snow crystal identification and anticipating the array of components that contribute to avalanche forecasting, we were also able to enjoy some great skiing between the times we spent observing and forecasting the rapidly changing snowpack.
I walked away from the course with a sense of accomplishment, as this is the highest-level avalanche education course available in the U.S., and a greater understanding for mechanics of avalanches and and avalanche forecasting. The complexities of avalanches are remarkable and this course was invaluable in contributing to the toolbox of skills upon which I rely for decision making in the mountains and in avalanche terrain.
Lindsay Mann is a Senior Guide at RMI Expeditions and a NCAA D1 Skiing Champion. She has climbed and guided around the world, from Peru to Alaska. Learn more about Lindsay and see her upcoming trips here…
Happy Father’s Day! See the video of Peter Whittaker’s climb of Kilimanjaro, Africa’s tallest mountain, with his daughter Gabriella and on sharing the experience of the mountains, presented by Eddie Bauer/First Ascent.
Yesterday, RMI Guide Alex Van Steen joined a host of other local professionals at Columbia Crest STEM School’s First Annual STEM Career Fair. The presenters who were invited to speak tied their professions directly into the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics and encouraged the approximately 125 first through sixth grade students to see the connection between what students were learning in the classroom and what knowledge and skills professionals required in their careers.
The presenters included geologists, meteorologists, naturalists, biologists, veterinarians, computer programmers, science librarians and a variety of other environmental educators. While Alex tied his roles in environmental management, human resources management, and job place safety to the STEM program, the truly exciting part for the students came when they had the opportunity to put hands on all the climbing and mountaineering gear used for the mountain climbing demonstration. Students crawled around in tents and into -30 sleeping bags, saw short demonstrations of how camming units and pitons (yes, pitons!) worked, and some students even donned an 8,000 meter down suit. Big smiles, lots of questions and fun learning!
This is the Dhaulagiri Climbing Team we are calling here from Base Camp. We have to let you know that unfortunately there was no summit for us. As we have said in recent blogs the weather has been pretty bad for us. We have had a lot of snow and we had to turn around at the very last day. We have a few member of the team at Camp 3 and had a decent chance at a summit push, but conditions were no good.
We are currently at Base Camp and will start to hike down tomorrow, and we should be back in Kathmandu in four or five days and we will try to write down details to wrap up our expedition. We have worked very hard and have been the first the first team on the mountain and the one that got the highest. It will be neat to see everybody follow in our steps all the time going up and down the mountain. Like I said, we had a ton of snow breaking trail was very difficult and we made it as high as we could. Other than that everybody is doing pretty well, and we are very satisfied with our work. Again, we were a team going unsupported and did everything on our own. Getting to where we got with day in and out snowstorms dumping up to three to four feet of snow, the work wasn’t easy. We are pretty proud of what we have done.
We want to thank everybody for their support given to us, and we hope everything is going well back home. We will touch base from Kathmandu in a few days.
Thanks Everybody! Talk to you all soon!
RMI Guide Elias deAndres Martos
Dhaulagiri Team Checking In.
The Dhaulagiri team called the RMI Office this morning to check-in. Here is a summary of our conversation:
First and foremost, everyone is healthy and in good spirits. The weather forecast is calling for more of the same—gorgeous, clear mornings followed by afternoon snowstorms. They are refusing to let the plethora of new snow dampen their spirits. A new team has arrived at base camp and everyone is enjoying the new company. The team is getting ready to head to bed for the night. In the morning they will begin heading uphill to get into position for their summit attempt.
The team sends their love to everyone following along! They will keep us posted on their upward progress.
This is the Dhaulagiri Climbing Team and once again we wanted to apologize for the lack for the lack of communication, but as we said before we have been having a few problems with the satellite “sat” phone. But, right now we can send a dispatch.
We have been discovering the worst weather that we have ever witnessed. This Himalayan peak is pretty much keeping us working really, really hard. We are getting snow storms every day. The only time we have not had afternoon storms have been when we have all day storms! But, that hasn’t kept us from climbing. The last two days we have been working very hard being the only team on the mountain breaking trail to establish Camp 2. In the next few days we are going to be looking at the route between Camp 2 and Camp 3 which is one of the hardest parts of the climb. If that is a go we’ll have a summit bid.
Like I said, we have been receiving anywhere from a foot to two feet of snow every other afternoon and it has made our job hard. A couple of other teams have arrived, but they are not as ambitious to work up high yet. We are not going to quit until our plane leaves. We have a little bit less than 10 days here to make it happen. We have a really good weather forecast and will keep our fingers crossed that we are going to have a shot at it.
So if the sat phone keeps working for us we will keep you posted as much as we can. So please keep your fingers crossed for us. This is Dhaulagiri and we hope you all take care. We hope to communicate good news soon!
RMI Guide Elias deAndres Martos
Dhaulagiri Team checking in April 28th.
Long-time RMI Guide, Alex Van Steen, visited a local second grade classroom at Columbia Crest STEM School as part of RMI’s Community Outreach program. STEM schools, a relatively new concept in Washington State, have a distinct emphasis on hands-on learning and the integration of science, technology, engineering and math into student lessons. RMI has partnered with Columbia Crest STEM to bring our mountaineering experiences right into the classroom. With Alex, the second graders studied the essential question, “What causes a volcano to erupt?” Students thoroughly enjoyed the lesson and learned ways to explain and create their own shield, composite, cinder cone and caldera volcanoes!
Hello, this is the Dhaulagiri climbing team on Sunday, the 20th. First of all we want to apologize for the lack of communication, but we’re having serious problems with our SAT phone and charger and we are trying to solve that problem. We are also saddened by the news that arrived to base camp here of the tragedy on Everest. We want to send our condolences to the community of the Sherpa involved in this tragedy. Our progress here on the mountain continues. We have been able to reach almost Camp 2. We have been very unlucky with the weather. Until right now we have been the only team on the mountain, but we were able to make a carry to almost Camp 2 and spend a few nights at Camp 1. Right now the weather looks like it is favorable to us and we are hoping to take a few days of rest and make some more progress up high, hopefully getting to Camp 2 or 3 in the next week or so. Getting ready for a future summit push around the beginning of May. So we’ll keep you posted on that and we hope everybody is doing well. We’ll try to keep you posted as much as we can with the limited communications that we have here. Regards to all from Dhaulagiri Base Camp.
RMI Guide Elias de Andres Martos calls in from Dhaulagiri Base Camp.
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