Entries By robby young
July 2, 2016
Buenas tardes from Ishinca Base camp. Rest day today with a good session of rope self rescue and abseiling in the afternoon is what was in the agenda. We’re climbing Urus East tonight, so an even heartier dinner was served before early bed time, which was delayed by the stories shared over the after-dessert tea. Weather keeps holding pretty good, and all seems lined up for a good day up the closest of the towers reigning over this unreal valley.
Stay tuned for our recap tomorrow,
RMI Guide Elías de Andres Martos and team
-Spanish climbing word of the day; “grieta” (crevasse)
July 1, 2016
And we made it!
Nevado Ishinca greeted us this morning with more ice and steep terrain than any of the three guides remember. Intricate navigation on its summit pyramid required a good deal of attention to crevasses, moats and leaning seracs, but motivation and performance had us on top at 11am. We passed the only other team on the mountain before summiting, and the descent proved to be another adventure to ourselves; we decided to descend via a different route, completing a full circumnavigation of the mountain… not a piece of cake when the subject is an 18,100’ prominence. We’re headed to bed as we speak, and a well deserved rest day awaits tomorrow.
RMI Guide Elías de Andres Martos and Team
-Spanish climbing word of the day; Rimaya (bergschrund)
July 1, 2016
Hello this is Elias, 11:00 local time in Peru. We just summitted Ishinca! I have some folks right next to me that would like to say something. [Team cheers!] Alright, that’s what you get when you climb in style with RMI. We are going to initiate our descent in the next few minutes and we’ll be blogging tonight with a recap of what we did. Tomorrow we’re going to take a rest day and we’ll be revitalized for the next climb up Urus. Stay tuned. Take care. Bye.
RMI Guide Elias de Andres Martos calls in from the Ishinca summit!
Congrats, Dan and Augie, as well as the rest of the team! Looking forward to hearing about more adventures and summits! (By the way, I love the new design of the RMI blogs.)
Posted by: Darrick on 7/3/2016 at 10:48 am
Ed, tassja and team - congrats on the Ishinca summit! Looks amazing and I am sure you are in heaven! Just a side note Ed - I made it to the top :)
Posted by: Paula on 7/1/2016 at 10:05 pm
June 30, 2016
Expeditions into the great mountains of the world require an incredible amount of dreaming, planning, preparation, and finally, performing. The preparations our team has made leading them into the Cordillera Blanca culminated today with an alpine climbing school for the ages. We’ve trained and traveled, and finally put the finishing touches on our skill sets today with thorough instruction for the climbs ahead of us. Tomorrow, we perform. With stable weather building, we’re setting our sights on the jagged 18,143’ summit of Nevado Ishinca. With stomachs full of Lomo Saltado, we’re bedding down early to rest our muscles for the work that lies ahead. If all goes as planned, we’ll be calling from 18,143’ tomorrow.
—Spanish Climbing Word of the Day: Hielo Glaciar - “Glacial Ice”
RMI Guides Robby Young and Elias de Andres Martos and team
June 29, 2016
And our first full day in the Ishinca Valley just went by…
Sunny skies woke us up this morning, and we took advantage of them by doing a thorough session of hardware function and familiarization, as well as rope work. After a good lunch from our chef, Emilio, and we were ready for the afternoon acclimatization hike to “Tocllacocha” a glacial lake at 15,200’ on the northwestern flanks of impressive Tocllaraju.
Tea and another superb dinner followed upon our return. Tomorrow we’re headed to the glacier for our full-day mountaineering school, as well as a new dose of altitude and acclimatization exercise. Stay tuned!
Our Spanish climbing word of the day is ballestrinque which means clove hitch.
RMI Guides Elias de Andres Martos and Robby Young
June 28, 2016
So there we were, moving into the “Blanca”. A few hours of hiking brought us to the mouth of Quebarada Ishinca. With “burros” hauling the big part of our load, we arrived in style to Ishinca Base Camp, home for the next 7 days.
Unsettled weather only allowed brief glimpses of the ice-cloaked, jagged “rajus” above.
If our senses weren’t already overstimulated enough, we sat down to a dinner of fresh trout at 14,300’. Stormy skies passed leaving us with a magnificent sea of stars highlighted by the Southern Cross. Until tomorrow, “buenas noches”.
-Spanish climbing word of the day; la cumbre (the summit)
June 27, 2016
Hi from Huaraz,
Official Day 1 of the expedition started this morning with an excellent acclimatization hike to “Puca Ventana” some 1,800ft above town. Good weather and better views, made a great morning for the team. If any of us doubted the hike made the heart pump enough blood to start triggering the acclimatization process, we found a stopped car in need of a jump to start, so we proved to be good Samaritans, and give the guy a push.
Some delicacies afterwards and a gear check to make sure we got what we need starting tomorrow, and we called it a day. A relaxed evening packing and enjoying the local food and fantastic facility of our hotel, is taking us to bed excited to start the journey into the Ishinca Valley first thing in the morning.
Our next post will be via our satellite phone, untill we come out to go to Copa.
Best regards, and stay tuned!
June 27, 2016
Hi from Huaraz!
The team united in the morning at our Lima Hotel, and shortly after, we jumped on our private bus, en route to Huaraz. From hours along the Pacific Coast, to the extensive land lots covered on drying chili peppers and corn, being baked by the sun, a visually stimulating drive greeted us as we started to go up the Conococha Pass. With 1 1/2 hours left of our bus drive, we got a first glimpse of the Cordillera Blanca, with Huascarán reigning amongst the clouds, and the Pastoruri Massif a mere stone throw from our “bladder emptying” stop in the 14K ft vicinity, right at dusk (yep, it’s winter here, and it gets dark early).
We met Peter, our local outfitter and third guide completing the guide team. Dinner and bed time. All is great so far!!!
June 16, 2016
The Mt. Rainier Expedition Skills Seminar - Emmons led by RMI Guide Robby Young is wrapping up their week on the mountain today. The team will descend from Camp Schurman to the White River Campground before driving back to Ashford this afternoon. On the summit attempt yesterday, the team was able to experience first hand snow pack analysis and decision making. As a result of the snow pack analysis the team made the prudent decision to call 12,400’ their high point and descend back to Camp Schurman for their final night on the mountain.
We look forward to greeting the Expedition Skills Seminar - Emmons team back in Ashford today and are excited to hear the stories from their week on the Emmons.
June 7, 2016
As our expedition has wound down and we’ve had a few moments to reflect, we wanted to send one final dispatch. By now, everyone has made it home, caught up on some needed sleep and recovery, and nursed some bruised and battered feet back from the long walk out. The memories of a perfect summit day, the many days in tents, the incredible vistas at the Edge of the World and 17 camp are still vivid however!
After an incredible summit day, we packed our camp the next morning as Brent’s team prepared for their summit bid. Though there wasn’t a rush, everyone was motivated by the knowledge that at the end of our long descent lay Talkeetna, with fresh food, beer, flip flops, and clean clothes. With heavy packs on once more, we made short work of the West Buttress, coated in a new layer of an inch or two of snow, and cruised down the fixed lines to 14 camp where we were met by Tyler Jones and team. To them, we owe a lot, as they had taken their rest day to dig up our cache for us, organize and sort it, and met us with water to satiate ourselves and refill bottles. So thankful, and sad that we didn’t have more time to spend with them, we shortly wished them luck and continued down to 11,200.’ It was progressing into the evening hours, and with snow falling and another cache to dig up, we decided to spend the night there. We made a hasty camp this time, with much less concern for walls, or even a flat tent site, and spent the evening rigging our sleds, and packing bags to be ready for an early AM departure.
When we woke, it was still snowing and we sat inside a cloud that blurred the ground, horizon, and sky all into one even color. There are lots of cliches for it: the inside of a ping pong ball, in the white room, or wading through a jug of milk, regardless, that is what we did all day. Flying pretty much completely on instruments, with the occasional wand to guide our way, we made our path down the lower Kahiltna to the airstrip. At one point, an errant black want appeared far off to the teams’ right. As we moved towards it, it shape began to shift eerily, until a black, Canada Goose head came into focus sticking out of the snow. As we realized what we were looking at, the goose shifted, it’s body erupting out of the snow, and it took a look at us and took off in flight, gliding away into the otherworldly landscape.
The poor visibility and trail breaking added time to our march out, and just after noon, we walked into Base Camp, triumphantly, and relieved to be done with the heavy packs and sleds. The weather however provided little hope of flying out, and with an organized low pressure system moving over our area for the next five days, there was some thought that we could be in for the long Base Camp wait. We set up tents, dug up our last cache, sorted gear into duffels to be ready for the flight out whenever it happened, and put snowshoes back on to the Base Camp community chore of packing out the runway. With our work accomplished, we settled into tents to try and calm our minds and find our waiting game zen. Imperceptibly, the tents began to grow lighter, and then a report from a high altitude sightseeing plane made it sound as though there might be a path for our bush planes to get in. Before we knew it, word came that the wonderful folks at K2 Aviation had launched every plane they had to come get us, and that four Otters were in the air on their way. We stripped camp in moments, and soon the silent sky was filled with the buzz of small aircraft as they all came into the runway in squadron formation. Hardly able to believe our luck, we threw bags aboard, found our seats, stowed our carryons, buckled our seatbelts and we were off.
Landing in Talkeetna after 23 days on the mountain is an amazing experience; it was raining lightly, and the colors, sounds of life, and smells were a massive influx on the senses. We jumped out of our three week old clothes and into cotton, and headed to the West Rib, the famous Talkeetna restaurant and bar, for a celebratory dinner followed by revelry at the Fairview. Just as quickly as the trip started, it wound down, as the team boarded a shuttle the next morning to Anchorage to catch flights back to home and our loved ones.
This trip was marked by a team that endured consistent spats of harsh weather, and endured it well. Sitting isn’t always easy, especially when you have to leave the tent into a blizzard every 45 minutes to dig out your tent again, but the team hung tough and stayed positive, and because of their wherewithal, were able to string together one of the more beautiful summit days that the guides have seen. We’d love to thank the whole team for their patience, strength, teamwork, and desire; it was an honor to climb with you all. Similarly, Robby and Jess are two of the most fantastic co-guides that one could ever hope to work with. It took us awhile to reach the top, but it made it that much more rewarding in the end. We’re closing out an incredible trip that everyone involved will remember for the rest of our lives. Thanks for following along on the journey.
RMI Guide Pete Van Deventer