Five paces from the best sunrise of my 30s, a nearly 60-year-old Ecuadorian man with wrought fists and more than 300 summits of Cotopaxi, the mountain we stood on, Marcello Puruncajas let out a roar against the spirit of the peak we had spent 6 hours climbing. Cotopaxi’s 19,346-foot summit and my entire trip was somehow only really worth one photo, it was of this moment, a moment where our enthusiasm far exceeded our efforts. At that moment, above the equator and on the summit with this local guide who still visibly cherished his passage to the top, I cherished it too. Summits are as elusive as clear days and we nailed both.
This week was pretty awesome. Snow is falling and the trees still bear the last colors of summer. Jon Miller and I found ourselves atop a crag in the desert and it was nothing short of Alpine conditions. It’s a big reason to live in Telluride, Colorado, being able to leave town on a questionable day and reach sunny desert sandstone. Sometimes, the weather is a little more widespread than we think and we jammed our hands into splitter cracks while rain pelted down and wind made it impossible to hear… all this on a 40 foot, 5.10a route before the rain really set in. Oh boy, it’s no wonder the Himalayan slopes have never felt like much of a jump from here, it’s a wild country and no matter what you want to do, something is always “in”.
Please enjoy Ski The Himalayas Season 3 premiere episode and follow along with us this winter as we prepare for a spicy Himalyan ski traverse in spring.
I was just sitting on the ski area in Telluride watching the leaves change today in a drizzly meadow. I love living in the mountains in the fall. There is snow on the ground in the high country and looking west to the desert a blanket of clouds peter out and lead to splitter cracks baking in sunshine. Transitions between seasons are always so dynamic here—you can see from mountaintops to arid sandstone plateaus, summer’s orange alpenglow fades into blazing Aspens and ominous grey clouds. I’m glad to slow things down, return to the desert and rope up for a little while, this year has been a fast ride with speedy ascents and a lot of great downhill filled with giggles and whoops.
This time last year, I was gearing up for a trip with friends that challenged me in many ways but brought the team a rewarding lesson that I wanted to share. One that gave me the best winter of my life after that expedition and a lesson that I hope inspires others in how we approach back country avalanche terrain. Leading into ski season, I hope you’ll view the Ski the Himalayas Season 3 episodes here over the next 13 weeks and learn a little bit about the culture, terrain and risks that make ski mountaineering so important to us. A trailer is below, I’ll be posting each week and I look forward to sharing the adventure!
The double fisherman’s knot has plagued me for years. For climbers, this bomb-proof knot was traditionally used to tie ropes together for rappelling. Now most climbers use the flat overhand (aka the Euro Death Knot) for rapelling. I switched to the in-line overhand when the double fisherman’s made my cordelettes impossible to untie for anchors, threading boulders, or rescue scenarios. But I was still stuck using the double fisherman’s for my prusik loops. The knot would weld shut when I desperately needed it untied. And one more annoying thing: the double fisherman’s is near-impossible to teach clients.
Mountaineers see climate change. It’s shoved in our face as an observable fact. On approaches to mountains we deal with miles of moraine where maps show glacier. Once on route, we find that steep glacier headwalls, once covered by spongy neve, have become black ice. And with less neve, we see more rockfall, such as during the summer 2003 heat wave that closed Mont Blanc.
Non-mountaineers have heard that glaciers are vanishing worldwide, yet most have never actually seen a glacier. They’re often curious about our encounters with these climate-change barometers.
Mount Logan is serious wilderness. Not wilderness with trails and wildflowers, but WILDERNESS. Like nobody there. For 16 days of our 21-day trip we had Logan to ourselves. Why? Because Logan is the second highest mountain in North America. At 19,550 feet, Logan is shorter than Alaska’s Denali at 20,320 feet. So who cares about something that’s second? Me! And three customers and guide Tino Villaneuva.
By: Markus Jobman, Osprey Adventure Envoy Team
Once in a while you need to step back, pause and re-boot. Look at the world around you and the everyday life that each of us lives. It is so easy to get caught up in the day to day craziness. We get busy with careers, friends, obligations and adventures — and sometimes we forget to just stop and see what is going on and really enjoy what is around us.
This past weekend we took a break. We attended Mountainfilm on Tour. It is a celebration of what is around us: life, adventure, nature, mountains and the thrill of enjoying it. We attended the tour in our home town of Rapid City. For the third year in a row, Mountainfilm’s tour event acted as a fundraiser for the Rapid City Urban Orchard Project, an organization that works with the Department of Parks and Recreation to plant apple trees in green spaces throughout the city and organizes volunteers to care for them after they are planted.
Ski the Himalayas is now in it’s third season of online “making of” podcast episodes born out of Ski the Himalayas first two feature length documentary films available this year on Dish Network and Comcast Xfinity VOD and Pay Per View. Look for Ski the Himalayas 2 on Dish and Comcast Xfinity on May 1st. We climbed a peak and survived an avalanche, those were just two instances along the way…
In 2012, I am aiming to become one of the youngest British climbers to summit Mount Everest. Climbing via the Northeast Ridge from Tibet, to the summit at 8848 meters above sea level.
After years of training, my vision and determination has always been to reach the top of the world’s highest mountain, and in doing so, raise money for disadvantaged children around the world.
A challenge this dangerous and extreme is not something to be taken on lightly, and as such, I am completing a grueling training regime. Most recently, I went to Scotland for a week of winter mountaineering!
We made it, we skied it, we are done in under two weeks with one ascent and one amazing descent. Our goal, to follow our noses to some of the best snow in Nepal has been a success. Our summit day on Thorung peak occurred four days ago and we now sit in the comfort of Pokhara Nepal, 19,000’ lower.