Entries By eric frank
July 14, 2016
Our 14,000 feet home here in the Ishinca Valley was draped in sunshine for most of today as we did some technical training right outside our tents. A thorough knots review and a gear prep session has prepared us for our first day on the ice tomorrow. We even had the time to sneak in an acclimatization hike this afternoon up the moraine to the overlook into Laguna Tocllacoccha. The views from there proved spectacular, as always. From our 15,200’ perch, we were able to see where glacier meets lake, deep within the surrounding moraines carved out by the most recent glaciation, below the 6000m summit of Tocllaraju. For some of us, this was an exciting new high altitude record. Light rain is audible on our tent flies as we’re bedding down for the night. An early wake up is in store tomorrow as we plan to spend the day reviewing glacier travel and ice climbing at the toe of the Ishinca Glacier. Stay tuned, friends.
RMI Guides Robby Young, Eric Frank, Edwin, and the Peru Seminar Crew
P.S. Spanish climbing term of the day is “Ballestrinque”, which means Clove Hitch.
July 13, 2016
Hello from our beautiful camp in the Ishinca Valley. This morning the team packed up our gear, and bussed two valleys to the north of Huaraz to the Pashpa trailhead. There we loaded the equipment onto our trusty little mountain burros and hiked along a turquoise blue stream to the very top of the valley at 14,200ft.
After multiple hours of hiking at altitude to get to camp, the team was ready for a solid dinner and our cocinero (camp cook) didn’t disappoint. We were treated to a hearty meal of beef, potatoes and rice, plus desert!
Currently we are tucked into our sleeping bags being lulled to sleep by a nearby glacial river and anticipating a full day of training tomorrow. Thanks for following along.
July 12, 2016
Greetings from Hotel Andino in the beautiful Huaraz City, Peru. Our expedition prep got off to a stunning start with a picturesque trip up to Puca Ventana (Red Window) at 11,600’. The additional elevation and light exercise will be crucial as we prep to move up the Ishinca Valley at 14,400’ tomorrow morning. A casual lunch at the climbing hangout Cafe Andino kept us energized through the afternoon as we began the packing and gear sorting for our upcoming week in the Cordillera. Tonight we enjoy the comforts of civilization at our hotel for one last night. Our next dispatches will be from the high valleys as we move closer to our first climbing goal of Ishinca (18,143’). Stay tuned, friends!
RMI Guides Robby Young, Eric Frank, Edwin, and the ESS-Peru Team
July 12, 2016
Greetings from Huaraz!
The ESS-Peru team has arrived safely in Huaraz. After a short night of sleep yesterday evening, we left the chaos of a busy Lima city behind, traveled up the Pacific coast, over a 14,000’ pass, and down into the Ancash Valley; home of the Cordillera Blanca Range (The White Mountains). We kicked off our stay at Hotel Andino with an incredible dinner, as usual, and are looking forward to the incredible views of the mountains from our hotel balconies in the morning. Tomorrow, our expedition prep begins. An acclimatization hike tomorrow morning to 11,500’ into the hills above Huaraz City (pop. 127,000) will serve a crucial purpose as we coax our bodies into their high-altitude form.
That’s all for now. Thanks for following along!
RMI Guides Robby Young, Eric Frank, and the ESS-Peru Team
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 8, 2016
The Five Day Summit Climb led by RMI Guide Mike Uchal and the Four Day Summit Climb led by RMI Guide Eric Frank Reached the summit of Mt. Rainier early this morning. Eric radioed in from High Break while the teams were on their descent and reported the winds of about 40 - 45 mph on the mountain.
Congratulations to today’s teams!
Good job Michael
Hope to see you out in Port Port
Posted by: Stephanie Ferruzza on 6/9/2016 at 8:27 am
Zorionak!!! Amazing news, congrats to Rafa and to the whole team!!
Posted by: Stephanie on 6/8/2016 at 9:08 am
June 3, 2016
The Expedition Skills Seminar - Muir, led by RMI Guides Eric Frank and Adam Knoff, reached the summit at 7:30 this morning. Eric reported windy but clear weather. After spending some time on the top, the team began their descent and are currently around 13,500 feet.
Yesterday the team had fun practicing crevasse rescue. Check out their photos below.
Congratulations to the seminar teams!
Way to go, Joe! We are proud of you!
Posted by: Gwen and Mandy on 6/3/2016 at 10:45 am
Way to go Mike! Glad you and the group were able to make it! Have a safe trip back!
Posted by: Katie Uttech on 6/3/2016 at 10:04 am
March 8, 2016
It’s been a mixed day of weather here on the flanks of Ixta. The group awoke to clear skies and pleasant temps this morning, but an ominous forecast threatened that the good weather would probably not last.
We loaded our packs after breakfast and began climbing toward our high camp at 15,000ft. Slowly the wind began to pick up as we gained altitude until it was blowing 25-30mph when we arrived at camp. It was an easy decision to leave our tents packed and we opted instead to move into the nearby Refugio De Los Cien.
We are currently spread inside the Refugio listening to the wind blow in strong gusts. Every so often someone builds up the courage to venture outside to go to the bathroom but is quickly forced back inside.
We have our fingers crossed for improving weather, but the conditions right now don’t give us much hope for a summit bid tomorrow.
March 7, 2016
This morning we woke up, packed, and loaded into our van without coffee!! We made this bold move knowing that 40 minutes down the road we would be rewarded with perhaps the best breakfast buffet in Mexico. We ate our fill and loaded back in the van, now fully caffeinated, to drive onto Amecameca to resupply on water and fresh food. Here we also met our local guide, Alfreado, and our support team. After an hour we were back in the van winding up the mountain roads to Paso De Cortez and onto the Altzomoni Hut at the foot of Ixta. Our home in the clouds, at close to 13,000’ the Altzomoni Hut is a great step in our overall acclimatization schedule.
Unfortunately the weather is cloudy and windy so we haven’t yet been able to see Ixta; hopefully tomorrow. We are currently enjoying a delicious authentic taco dinner and discussing logistics of our hike to high camp tomorrow. Everyone is doing very well and having fun. Keep your fingers crossed for good weather for us and thanks for following along.
On The Map
March 6, 2016
The Mexican Volcanoes team got an early start this morning, and by 10am we were above the Mexico City fog and enjoying the mountains around us. A two-hour drive brought us to the high altitude resort of Malintzi, a collection of rustic cabins with million dollar views of the valley below.
Towering above Malintzi is the peak, La Malinche at 14,640ft. Recent storms have covered the upper flanks of the mountain with snow and as we hiked uphill this afternoon we noticed more and more snow. Eventually, around 13,300 ft, we felt that we had gone far enough and decided to head downhill.
Back in Malintzi we enjoyed an incredible dinner of carne asada.
Thanks for following along on our adventure.