Entries By zeb blais

Mexico Volcanoes: Blais & Team at Altzimoni Hut

Posted by: Zeb Blais, Robby Young | November 10, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mexico
Elevation: 12,000'

Greetings all!

Following our massive breakfast buffet feast in Tlaxcala this morning, our team began the drive towards Ixta.  After a quick food and water refuel in the town of Amecameca, followed by a National Park check in at Paseo de Cortez, we found ourselves at the 12,000’ Altzimoni Hut, our home for the evening in preparation of our upcoming two-day climb of Ixta.

In order to continue our process of acclimatization, the team set out for an afternoon hike on the lower slopes of Ixta. After a quick climb to 14,000’, we were rewarded with some amazing views of the sunset on Popocatépetl, an active volcano neighboring closely to the south.

The team is winding down for the evening and preparing for a high-altitude taco feast. We’re looking forward to the coming climb and physical test on Ixta over the next two days. Thanks for following!!

RMI Guides Zebulon, Robby, and Team

The RMI team acclimating on Ixtaccihuatl, Mexico. Photo: Zeb Blais Viewing the sunset over Popocatepetl, Mexico. Photo: Zeb Blais

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Mexico Volcanoes: RMI Guide Zeb Blais & Team Acclimate on La Malinche

Posted by: Zeb Blais, Robby Young | November 10, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mexico
Elevation: 14,636'

Our crew is on our way to a big buffet breakfast and Ixtaccihuatl after our first day in the mountains.

Yesterday’s acclimatization hike on La Malinche was a tough introduction to altitude. Dark clouds had gathered at the top as we started and we watched them closely as we pushed up into thinner air.  With a short summit window, our entire group pushed hard and worked together to make the top. The weather gods smiled on us and clouds cleared briefly as we scrambled up the last bit of rock to the top.

After a few photos, it was time to get ourselves down to thick air and a warm dinner. La Cabana restaurant set out a generous spread for us and we ended our day with great food and full bellies.

We’ll be checking in soon from Ixta.

Cheers from RMI Guides Zeb Blais, Robby Young and the crew!

Views from the La Malinche trail in Mexico. Photo: Zeb Blais The RMI team on the summit of La Malinche, Mexico. Photo: Zeb Blais

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Mt. Rainier: Four Day Summit Climb Teams on the Summit!

Posted by: Leon Davis, Zeb Blais | September 15, 2014
Categories:
Elevation: 14,410'

RMI Guides Zeb Blais and Leon Davis reported beautiful conditions for their climb to the summit of Mt. Rainier this morning.  Two groups of climbers on the Four Day Summit Climb September 12 - 15 reached the summit around 7:30 am and were able to enjoy some time on top with clear skies and a light breeze.  The teams will return to Camp Muir for a short rest and to repack before continuing down to Paradise this afternoon.

Congratulations to today’s Four Day Summit Climb teams!


Mt. Rainier: September 8th Summit!

Posted by: JJ Justman, Zeb Blais | September 08, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount Rainier
Elevation: 14,410'

The Mount Rainier Summit Climbs teams, led by RMI Guides JJ Justman and Zeb Blais, reached the crater rim at at 7:00 a.m.  JJ reported strong winds with 40-50 mph gusts and cold temperatures.  Both teams began their descent to Camp Muir at 8:00 a.m.

The Expedition Skills Seminar - Muir is currently ascending to Camp Muir to spend the week training and topping their week off with a summit bid.

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Mt. Rainier: Four Day Summit Climb Teams Enjoying Views from the Summit

Posted by: JJ Justman, Zeb Blais | September 04, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount Rainier
Elevation: 14,410'

RMI’s Four Day Summit Climb teams September 1 - 4, 2014 reached the summit of Mt. Rainier this morning around 7:30 am.  RMI Guide JJ Justman reported great views from the summit with calm winds and a very nice day.  The teams were able to spend some time on the summit enjoying the views and crossing the crater to Columbia Crest.  The teams began their descent around 8:30 and will return to Camp Muir before continuing down to Paradise.

Congratulations to today’s Summit Climb teams!

The Four Day Summit Climb taking a rest break on Mt. Rainier during their summit attempt on September 4th.  Photo: JJ Justman
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Mt. Rainier: Four Day Summit Climb Teams Reach the Summit!

Posted by: JJ Justman, Zeb Blais | August 26, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount Rainier
Elevation: 14,410'

The Four Day Summit Climb August 23 - 26, 2014 Teams led by RMI Guides JJ Justman and Zeb Blais reached the summit of Mt. Rainier this morning.  The teams reported sunny skies with some strong wind gusts and a possible cloud cap trying to form above the mountain.  Both teams were able to enjoy some time on the summit before starting their descent.  The teams will return to Camp Muir and then continue their descent to Paradise.  We look forward to seeing them at Rainier BaseCamp in Ashford later this afternoon.

Congratulations to today’s Summit Climb teams!

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Mt. Rainier: Teams on the Summit!

Posted by: Billy Nugent, Zeb Blais | August 22, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount Rainier
Elevation: 14,410'

The Four Day Summit Climb led by RMI Guide Billy Nugent along with the Expedition Skills Seminar - Paradise led by Zeb Blais reached the summit of Mt. Rainier this morning.  The teams reported clear skies with cold temperatures on the summit.  Both teams began their descent from the crater rim around 7:40 am.  The teams will return to Camp Muir for a short break before continuing down to Paradise.

The Expedition Skills Seminar - Emmons led by Solveig Waterfall checked in this morning from Glacier Basin.  They will be descend from Glacier Basin back to the trail head and return to Rainier BaseCamp later today.

We look forward to seeing all of the teams back in Ashford later this afternoon.

Congratulations to today’s Summit Climb Teams!

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Expedition Tajikistan: A Ski Traverse of the Fedchenko Glacier

Posted by: Zeb Blais | August 20, 2014
Categories: *Guide News *Guide Grant

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.

Map of Tajikistan (RMI Collection)

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.

Zeb Blais on the Fedchenko Glacier (Zeb Blais)

The team at camp on the Fedchenko Glacier (Zeb Blais)

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. 

Camp on the Fedchenko Glacier (Zeb Blais)

Traversing the Fedchenko Glacier (Zeb Blais)

Skiing above the Fedchenko Glacier (Zeb Blais)

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.

Traversing the Fedchenko Glacier (Zeb Blais) The team at camp on the Fedchenko Glacier (Zeb Blais)
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Mt. Rainier: Climbs Unable to Summit due to weather

Posted by: Mike Walter, Zeb Blais | August 13, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount Rainier
Elevation: 11,500'

The Four Day Summit Climb teams led by RMI Guides Mike Walter and Zeb Blais were unable to summit Mt. Rainier this morning, poor weather forced the groups to turn around at the bottom of Disappointment Cleaver.  The teams tried to wait out the weather and left Camp Muir later than normal but the ran and wet snow still forced them to abort their summit attempt of Mt. Rainier.  The teams will begin their descent from Camp Muir around 8:30 am en route to Paradise.

The Expedition Skills Seminar - Emmons led by RMI Guide Geoff Schellens was unable to make their summit attempt today due to poor weather conditions.

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Mt. Rainier: August 3rd Summit

Posted by: Zeb Blais | August 03, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount Rainier
Elevation: 14,410'

RMI Guide Zeb Blais and the Four Day Summit Climb reached the summit of Mt. Rainier this morning.  Zeb reported light winds while on the summit.  The team departed the crater rim around 7:30 am and is making their descent to Camp Muir where they will pack up before continuing their descent.  We look forward to seeing the team in Ashford this afternoon.

Congratulations Climbers!


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