Entries By caleb ladue
May 24, 2017
Pickled and fresh cut veggies, mouth watering empanadas, chicken thighs that fall off the bone. I think the Bolivia team assumed our days of feasting on this trip were over, but no! Today we ventured into the mountains under cloudy, threatening skies, accompanied by our cook staff. Fortunately we made it into base camp before it started to rain. Once the tents were up, our kitchen team treated us to a three course dinner where we laughed and told stories, dragging the meal out to two full hours. After dinner, we walked outside to find that the clouds had lifted and we could see the Southern Cross stretched across the sky. Life at 15k ain’t so bad!!
This morning started with a pounding rain through the night that magically let off just as the sun rose across Lake Titicaca. Once the sun peaked out, everything quickly dried up and we had perfect weather for a visit to the Isla del Sol. A beautiful boat ride along the banks of Copacabana and Lake Titicaca took us to the island of the sun; the famous home of the fountain of the youth. This mountainous island is steeped in ancient history dating back long before the Incas unified the Andean Plateau. We found ourselves walking in the same steps and drinking from the same spring as generations of pilgrims before us. I must say the fountain gave the group a special spring in our step as we climbed to the top of the island and took in the gorgeous surroundings of Peru, Bolivia and the massive lake between them. After that, all that was left was to descend to the shore for a lunch of delicious Andean food overlooking the water. We returned back to Copacabana well fed, a little better educated about the history of this amazing area, and for some maybe just a touch younger!
May 23, 2017
May 22, 2017
Hello from the shores of beautiful Lake Titicaca. This morning the team fought our way out of La Paz traffic, and made the stunning three hour drive to Copacabana, a small beach town nestled on the Peruvian/Bolivian border. We spent the afternoon learning about local history, dining on fresh caught trout and climbing a small nearby peak to gain an over look of the city. It started raining in the early evening, so we retreated to our lodge for a cozy dinner and an impromptu foosball tourney.
We know it all sounds like fun and games, but our bodies are working hard acclimating right now. Starting the trip at over 12,000 feet means that we need to take the time to work into things. We are laying the groundwork to perform well in high ascents later in the trip.
Wish us luck!
RMI Guides Eric Frank, Caleb Ladue and the Bolivia crew
May 21, 2017
The sun has set on our first day in Bolivia! The group just returned after a great tour through La Paz. We checked out the fruit filled markets, quiet plazas and even had the opportunity to ride the gondola up to the rim of the city and into it’s sister town El Alto. La Paz sits in a valley at the toe of the altiplano, or high plains, and the gondola brings commuters out of the valley, and 500 meters up onto the steppe. Our timing couldn’t have been better as the sun was setting on the Altiplano upon arrival. From our vantage we could look out over the city and see our climbing objectives Huayna Potosi and Illimani standing tall against the plains. we are regrouping in a moment and we will head out for our kick-off dinner and celebration.
Hey Kimmer!! Yea baby!! #smashville-Lucky is so happy the Preds won!! Have fun and stay safe on your climb- are you climbing Chimichanga or Charro first?? You’ll be awesome sauce either way xoxoxo Lora, Sophia & Michael
Posted by: Lora Sue on 5/23/2017 at 7:13 am
I, as well as Bud, Jesse, Taira and Adryan) are praying non-stop for you, your guides and your climbing mates. Tell Kim that the Predators won as her papa had hoped. I sure wish the Wild were in the mix but we’ll have to wait until next year I guess. It looks like a soggy week for you so stay warm and take it slow. Love you, sweetheart! Mama
Posted by: Bird on 5/23/2017 at 5:17 am
July 29, 2016
Day one on a Mt. Shuksan Fisher Chimneys trip is a big day, maybe the biggest day of the climb. Most guided parties take eight hours to reach high camp perched at the edge of the Price Glacier above the Chimneys. So when the team drove to the trail head in a heavy wet cloud we needed to make a decision about hiking in those conditions. We stood in the parking lot in our gore-tex, gathering large beads of water that collected from simply standing in the cloud. We drove back down the mountain hoping the forecast for better afternoon weather would prove true. It did not and we decided to try again in the morning.
The following day, as clouds started to pass over the area, we began the approach in a drier cloud and took every bit of the eight hours to climb the Chimneys to high camp. The plan was to set up camp, rest for a few hours and continue towards the summit unburdened by heavy packs. At 4:30 p.m. we began the journey upward, traversing the Price, climbing the steep Hell’s Highway and cresting onto the upper Sulphide Glacier. A cloud followed us up the Sulphide, hiding the summit pyramid but we were able to climb on instruments towards its base. At 7:00 p.m. the clouds parted long enough to show us the pyramid and in what condition it lay. A steep snow traverse gained the lower rock band where it usually is a low angle scramble and we spotted a few teams descending in the early evening light. So far, we had been moving for 12 hours and now we were looking at summiting around dark and descending complicated terrain under headlamp. We made the conservative call to turn around and made our high point the base of the pyramid, just 600 vertical feet shy of the very top. Disappointing sure, but the team put in an extraordinary effort to climb all day and we were satisfied with the decision to leave the summit for another day.
July 12, 2016
RMI Guide Jake Beren and the Expedition Skills Seminar - Kautz team reached the summit of Mt. Rainier this morning via the Kautz route. Jake reported clear skies on the summit. The team will spend some time on the summit before making their descent. The team will spend one more night on the mountain before descending off the mountain tomorrow.
Way to climb!
Congrats on your climb and reaching the summit! Special kiddos to Chad and Tom for completing their first big climb!!
Posted by: Carrie Paben on 7/12/2016 at 5:57 pm
Congratulations on your climb. Special congrats to Tom and Chad on their first big mountain climb. Very proud of you!
Posted by: Trudy Colvin on 7/12/2016 at 3:37 pm
June 22, 2016 - 2:33 pm PT
Here’s a soggy hello from just south of the Canadian border. Caleb and I are sitting in a coffeeshop in Bellingham pouring over radar maps and weather forecasts, while our boots dry in the parking lot.
Yesterday we were suppose to have climbed Mt. Buckner, but both the weather and route conditions shut that down. On Monday we made it to one of our potential camp locations after eight hours of climbing only to find that it was buried in snow. We had to dig for 20 minutes to make snow platforms for our tents. It started raining later in the night and by the time we woke up at 3am to launch, everything was rimed over with several inches of ice. Because the first hour of the climb requires scrambling on six-inch rock ledges and the use of bare hands, we knew it wasn’t an option.
After checking the weather every 20-30 minutes until 8am, we gave up and went back to bed. The wind continued to blow and spit light precip. Around 10am, there was a clearing and we decided to capitalize on the opportunity by making a quick trip to the summit of nearby Sahale. From the top, we had incredible views of our camp and the surrounding peaks before the clouds obscured them again.
In the early afternoon we packed up camp and started the trek downhill. As a group we decided to focus our efforts of the next objective, Mt. Shuksan, and take a full rest day in Bellingham to dry our gear and prepare.
Wish us luck and a drier next few days.
June 13, 2016
The May 24th Denali Expedition led by RMI Guides Tyler Jones, Caleb Ladue, and Blake Votilla flew off the Kahiltna Glacier yesterday and return to Talkeetna. According to Tyler, the team was planning to celebrate their climb at Talkeetna’s Roadhouse. After 18 days of living in tents the team is happy to be back in the land of burgers, beer, showers, and mattresses.
On The Map
Welcome back, Bob. I hope you getting busy planning your next beautiful adventure on this wild planet. Cheers to you and the team!
Posted by: Emily Jenson on 6/14/2016 at 1:58 pm
Congratulations to all of you.. Very Cool and I am sure extremely GRATIFYING !!!
Posted by: Mary Anne Kyburz-Ladue on 6/13/2016 at 9:02 am
June 12, 2016
June 11, 2016 - 11:57 pm PT
Hi all, we are at Base Camp. Just when you think it’s over it’s not till the fat lady sings. We packed our camp for what what we had hoped was the last time early this morning. The crew as always on this trip was ready to roll early and we arrived at base camp at 8:30 this morning with lite snow and cloudy skies. With all our will we wished the fog and snow away. Our wish was only met after the planes has powered down for the day. A long day of anticipation of burgers, beer, and more was lost so we enjoyed each others company and reflected on our journey in the Alaska range. With the weather on the lower glacier clearing a bit this evening we’re hopeful to see all the colors of the outer world we departed from 16 days ago. Hoping to smell the summer in the low lands and eat like kings tomorrow. Blow some good weather vibes our way!
RMI Guide Tyler Jones & the team
On The Map
Congratulations Blake. Nice. Very Nice!
Posted by: Adelle on 6/13/2016 at 6:19 am
What a long, strange trip it’s been . . .
Posted by: Dad on 6/12/2016 at 1:09 pm
June 11, 2016
June 10, 2016 - 10:59 pm PT
Waking up at 17K camp this morning was tough after yesterday’s big day. We were happy though to be on the move again, back down the mountain to thicker air. Walking down the West Buttress was beautiful, and this time we were actually able to enjoy the knife ridge views. Taking in views is much easier walking down when you’re only using half the physical effort as the way up. The mountain treated us with pleasant weather all the way to 11K Camp until we hit the storm layer, walked through some high winds and blowing snow and eventually below the storm to 7,800 camp. Now we’re enjoying a cheese, bacon and bagel fry up celebration and looking forward to the final leg of our journey back to basecamp tomorrow! See you all soon and thanks for the support!
On The Map
Still trying to keep a little vertical distance from reality.
Posted by: Dad on 6/12/2016 at 5:41 am
Wow descending almost 10,000 feet and through a snow storm layer—thats a long day! I hope you’re all holding up well on this last leg down to base camp!
Ongun I can’t wait to hear from you! sending you my hugs!
Posted by: karina on 6/11/2016 at 9:29 pm