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RMI Expeditions Blog

September 27, 2015

Chile - Ski Mountaineering

Chile Ski Mountaineering: Reid & Team Take A Rest Day

Today we’re having a rest day in the town of Pucon with an afternoon trip to the Termas (hot springs). Tomorrow we set out for two days on Volcan Lanin, our final objective of the trip. We’ll keep you posted on how things go the next couple of day but for now, it’s time to rest.

RMI Guide Tyler Reid

September 27, 2015

Five Day Summit Climb

Mt. Rainier: September 27th Summit!

The Five Day Summit Climb led by RMI Guides Brent Okita and JJ Justman reached the summit of Mt. Rainier early this morning.  Brent reported a beautiful day with clear skies and great climbing.  The team will spend some time on the summit enjoying the views before starting their descent. 

Congratulations to today’s team, what a great way to finish the 2015 Mt. Rainier climbing season!

I couldn’t have done it without the support of everyone and especially Caleb and Brent. True professionals in every sense. Thank you for the unforgettable experience.

Posted by: Jed on 9/29/2015 at 11:43 pm

Congratulations Kevin, a major accomplishment. I’m sure the view from the “top of the world was worth the climb”! Safe travels back home to you family. I hope to see you soon to hear all about it.

Posted by: Scott L. Robik on 9/28/2015 at 11:20 am

September 26, 2015

Chile - Ski Mountaineering

Chile Ski Mountaineering: Reid & Team Summit Sollipulli

With Sergio’s 4x4 driving skills playing a crucial role, yesterday our Hyundai van plowed through the 20 cm blanket of new snow over the road to Las Araucarias, a ski area at the base of Volcan Llaima. It felt like full blown winter leaving the parking lot - snow falling from the sky… We decided to take the optimistic approach and see if we could potentially climb out of the clouds. After an hour or so we were at the top of the ski area, with no reference points above. We were able to fit five of us in a tiny unused lift shack, and I did what I usually so when times are uncertain: put on some reggae. With my iPhone as the sound system and Chronixx filling the air, it was the ideal “out-chill the situation” maintenance break. Properly fueled and motivated, we ascended into the whiteness above. Hours later we found ourselves in the parking lot, this time Sergio’s Hyundai as the sound system, Protoje filling the air, cervezas in hand, smiles on our faces… Llaima (and the weather) said no yesterday, but what a positive day in the mountains it was.

Yesterday evening we drove to another mountain, the Hyundai taking us up and up and up a steep lava rock road in 4LO, into a mysterious and remote mountain jungle. Out of the mist appeared Sollipulli Lodge, a place that inspires your childlike imagination. “Eco lodge” is probably the best term to describe this place - each room is its own incredible yurt-like pod situated on a lagoon, with other beautiful alternative structures connected by boardwalks. Mountain jungle living, combined with incredible comfort, and incredibly gracious hosts - the father and son duo Christian and Robert.

Sollipulli is a volcano with an expansive crater that similar to Crater Lake in Oregon and was once much taller before collapsing inward on itself. This morning we had a beautiful ascent to the summit, using a variety of ski mountaineering skills along the way. The weather was in and out, but eventually we found ourselves back in the “viento blanco” - low visibility, annoyingly windy, snowing…

I learned a new tactic on Sollipulli for terrain reference in whiteout conditions. When you’re in the lead, it can be hard to know what sort of terrain you are on, or about to walk into, and guides will use various tricks in these conditions to ensure they’re not leading the group off a cornice or into a crevasse. These are low tech solutions like throwing snowballs, casting a piece of cord tied to your ski pole like a fishing rod…or bringing along a pack of three golden retrievers who follow you all the way to the summit, clearly loving every minute of it, while also providing valuable terrain reference. These Sollipulli dogs were amazing, and also very competent in the winter alpine environment.

Our Sollipulli descent ended in a wood-fired hot tub next to a crystal clear river, an ideal place to relax in the late afternoon rain.

RMI Guide Tyler Reid

September 25, 2015

Expedition Skills Seminar - Muir

Mt. Rainier: Muir Seminar Wraps Up Week on the Mountain

The final Expedition Skills Seminar - Muir of the 2015 climbing season is wrapping up their final day on Mt. Rainier. Yesterday, the Seminar led by RMI Guides Casey Grom and Billy Nugent made a summit attempt. The teams reached 13,300’ before increasing winds and deteriorating weather conditions prompted their descent. Today the teams are descending from Camp Muir to wrap up their week of climbing and training. We look forward to welcoming all of the climbers at Rainier BaseCamp in Ashford this afternoon.

Sorry you did not make it to the Summit.  We hope the experience was still worth the challenge!
Good job to all the climbers!

Posted by: Beth n Tyler on 9/26/2015 at 7:23 pm

An amazing feat, inspiring and beautiful.  Congratulations on your ambitious drive!

Posted by: E J FIsher on 9/26/2015 at 8:37 am

September 24, 2015

Chile - Ski Mountaineering

Chile Ski Mountaineering: Reid & Team Ski Tour Araucania

After an adventurous summit on Lonquimay, the last couple days have been focused on simply ski touring in the beautiful terrain this region offers.

Yesterday we drove through the longest tunnel in South America to the Las Mellizas range, touring from the base of an abandoned ski area called Los Arenales. We had lunch on a mini summit called Mirador de Los Volcans and our ski descent dropped us into our first close encounter with Araucarias (monkey puzzle trees).

With 15 cm of new snow and a bit of a break in the weather, today we skied beautiful long laps from another mini summit adjacent to Volcan Lonquimay - warm, smooth powder, definitely the best snow of the trip.

As I type, Sergio is preparing a traditional Chilean asado (barbeque)...an eating experience I have been thinking about for the last year. I have no doubt it will be our best meal of the trip (and the bar has been set high).

RMI Guide Tyler Reid

September 22, 2015

Chile - Ski Mountaineering

Chile Ski Mountaineering: Reid & Team Ski from the Lonquimay Summit

Greetings from the Suiz Andina in Malalcahuello! Today was our first day with skis on our feet and it was a beautiful one. We rode the lifts at Corralco, a ski area on the lower flanks of Volcan Lonquimay, a training ground for the U.S. Ski Team. Spring snow conditions and the sun shining through ominous clouds made for an ideal day of remembering how to ski. The vibes are super positive in our crew and we’re psyched for what’s to come. Stay tuned…

Update 8:25 pm PT
Setting out into uncertain weather today with Volcan Lonquimay as our optimistic feeling objective, I wasn’t convinced we were going to see the top. After three thousand feet of skinning we transitioned to climbing mode, and as cool as it feels to have skis on your back, whippet in hand, crampons on your boots…those skis make great sails in a gusty north wind. We climbed the direct route on Lonquimay and despite having to battle the elements on the way up - wind, diminishing visibility, pelting snow and rime ice coating us head to toe… with a take-it-one-step-at-a-time mentality we managed to ski from the cumbre (summit). It was sort of the opposite of a carefree descent requiring precision whiteout navigation and a few other guide tricks, but before we knew it we were back in Malalcahuello sipping on the legendary pisco sours at the Suiz Andina…well earned. Thanks Lonquimay!

RMI Guide Tyler Reid

September 21, 2015

Chile - Ski Mountaineering

Chile Ski Mountaineering: Tyler Reid and Team Head out for First Day on Skis


Just a quick note that our whole Chile Ski Team is here with all of their gear. Sergio picks us up in 10 min and we’ll be headed out for our first day on skis at the base of Lonquimay. Will try to check in later with more of a dispatch…

RMI Guide Tyler Reid

The journey and people are usually the best part. And better to be back safely than not at all.

Posted by: Keith on 9/21/2015 at 2:22 pm

September 21, 2015

Four Day Summit Climb

Mt. Rainier: Four Day Summit Climb Turn at Disappointment Cleaver

The Four Day Summit Climbs led by RMI Guides JJ Justman and Nick Hunt were turned around at the top of Disappointment Cleaver this morning due to route conditions.  The teams descended to Paradise and will be returning to Rainier BaseCamp this afternoon.

Boy, Disappointment Cleaver is sure living up to its moniker this month! Still, a great experience. Safe trek back down everyone.

Posted by: Everett Moran on 9/22/2015 at 8:48 am

September 20, 2015

Four Day Summit Climb

Mt. Rainier: September 20th Update

The Four Day Summit Climb led by RMI Guide Leon Davis reached the top of Disappointment Cleaver on Mt. Rainier before route conditions forced the team to descend. Leon and the team descended back to Camp Muir to rest and pack up. At 8:45 am the team left Camp Muir to begin their descent to Paradise. We look forward to seeing them in Ashford this afternoon.

I am so disappointed for you. Sorry after all the hard work and attempts that you were not able to stand on the top.

Posted by: Rick on 9/20/2015 at 12:59 pm

September 19, 2015

Mt. Baker - North Ridge

Mt. Baker: Blais & Attempt the Coleman Deming Route

After listening to rain hit our tent for most of the night, there was finally silence in the morning.  We started our summit attempt of Mt. Baker via the Coleman Demining route with high cloud cover but fairly dry. When we were almost to the pumice ridge the clouds grew darker and precipitation in the form of rain began. The visibility dropped and I made the decision to descend. We are down safe and sound and enjoyed the climb despite the damp conditions.

Until next season!
RMI Guide Zeb Blais

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