Adventure’s in Bolivia

Words and images from guide Esteban “Topo” Mena

“Yeah!” Is the best word to describe all the fun we had last week!

Our adventure started with the summit of Pico Austria (5350m), from there we enjoyed awesome views of the rest of the cordillera and started visualizing the next days.
On the following day, after an early alpine start we climbed the highlight of this part of the trip: Pequeño Alpamayo, a beautiful 5450m peak that offers a little bit of everything: stunning glaciers, knife-edge ridges and breath taking views of the cordillera. Although the mountain’s conditions were dryer than other years, that allowed the team to learn and practice the techniques to climb on moderate icy terrain.

A well deserved rest day allowed us to taste some local wine and do our best efforts trying to catch trout in a lake near base camp. For our last day in the valley we did an ice climbing class on a Water Ice formation near base camp… Yes! Water Ice! Our climbers got a chance to experience ice climbing on vertical terrain! None of them were expecting that, so that little surprise became their favorite part of the trip… so far.

Yesterday we drove back to La Paz and today is all about recovering for Huayna Potosí, although technically will be easier than Pequeño Alpamayo this will be the first time for our climbers on a 6000m peak.

Stay tuned! …

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Bolivia Expedition Underway

Bolivia is wild. Our expedition to the adventurous and beautiful country is off to a great start with the team spending a little time in the high elevation city of La Paz before heading on to lake Titicaca. Here’s a first hand report from lead guide Topo Mena.

“Enjoying blue bird skies we left La Paz and headed to the Titicaca Lake. La Paz and its surroundings is at 4000m

(13,000′) so we want to take the first days easy. On the way to Copacabana, a beautiful lakeside town on Titicaca, we visited the ruins of Tiwanaku: the remains of an ancient culture that celebrated rituals to the sun and the moon. The atmosphere in this place filled our minds with questions about “how” they did such amazing architectural work with very limited tools. I guess that just like how a climber sometimes finds energy in an exhausted body and mind, when a human being pursues a dream: Everything is possible. Today we are exploring lake Titicaca and enjoying our last cervezas before we head to the Mountains. More coming soon…”

Good luck to the team! We’re looking forward to more updates! …

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Vodka & Caviar – Elbrus Expedition Underway

Taking in the culture.

The port city of St. Petersberg in Russia has welcomed our 2016 team with open arms. With such a rich history and beautiful architecture, the team of Chad, George, Henry and Fred spent today exploring the city while doing the all important work of getting over jet lag.

Chad wrote in this morning saying they spent time soaking in the culture visiting the great halls, museums and tombs of Russia’s most famous Czars. “Crazy history and amazing mansions of incredible wealth… makes you understand why the people revolted!”, Chad wrote. “Our city tour also had brought us some amazing restaurants and local cuisine… yup, we ate caviar with vodka last night.”

Sounds like the guys are diving headlong into the culture of Russia! They have one last night in St. Petersburg and tomorrow they will fly out to Mineralny Voldy (translates to Mineral Waters) where they will begin their drive to the Caucasus Mountains and Elbrus.

“Nazdravia” – the guys sampling the local potato juice.

The team getting some good luck from Peter the great. …

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Everest Reflections

This thoughtful blog was written by guide Zeb Blais two days after their successful summit of Mt Everest. Enjoy the report. 

The last few days have been full of triumphs and tragedies on ‪#‎MountEverest‬. Lots of summits by climbers, guides and ‪#‎Sherpa‬ with and without oxygen. Lots of deaths and injuries.

Trudi and Bryan heading down from high camp after the summit. Photo: Zeb Blais

The triumphs have come through hard work, perseverance, patience and good decision making. I’m proud to say our @alpenglowexpeditions team made it, 100%, without frostbite, major altitude sickness or injury.

Solid preparation helped us overcome unexpected obstacles. The biggest of which was the failure of two, brand new, top of the line oxygen regulators above 28,000′ in total darkness on our summit push.

One of the failed regs was mine. When it happened I felt like a deep sea diver with a severed air line. I knew the seconds mattered. I was not acclimatized to breath 28,500′ air for long. I scrambled to get my pack off and dig out our team’s second spare mask and regulator. @chadpeele helped me get the mask on and set the flow.

The experience really set the tone of the climb for me- we had swam into the deep waters of the ocean and swimming back was entirely up to us. We had prepared well, bringing two extra regulators on a climb where cutting ounces matters, and it paid off.

Summit celebration in the early morning light. …

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#EverestNoFilter Summit Day

At 10pm local time the #EverestNoFilter team of Adrian Ballinger and Cory Richards along with Palden Sherpa set out for the summit of Mt Everest from high camp on the North Side. Adrian and Cory are attempting the climb without supplemental oxygen. Palden will be climbing with the aid of supplemental oxygen.

See below for live updates:


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Everest Summit for #RapidAscent Team

At 04:16 local time on May 22, the team of Bryan Osoro & Trudi Seiwald led by Chad Peele and Zeb Blais along with the Sherpa team of Panuru, Pasang Rinji and Mingma Tchiring reached the summit of Mount Everest. The team moved fast from their camp at 8300m and gained the summit before the sun had even risen. They reported that the entire sky was lit up and took a few celebratory photos and enjoyed the view. Not 15 minutes later they were leaving the summit with smiles on their faces have touched the highest point on the planet.

The plan for the descent will be to move as low as possible before they’re too tired or night falls. We’ll keep updating the blog with the team’s progress.

11:22pm: Team is walking out of camp now. Warm weather. All feeling great.

12:25am: First hour going well: “Fast and furious” in Chad’s words. Almost at exit cracks out onto the ridge.

12:57am: Whole team (4 member 3 Sherpa) starting first step.

1:29am: Mushroom rock. First bottle exchanged. Everyone moving well and feeling good. Light snow. Warm temps.

1:48am: Waiting in a small queue at bottom of second step.

2:14am: All members and Sherpa at the top of the second step. Moving well.

3:01am: Top of third step. Final bottle changed. Warm temps. Light breeze a bit of cloud and light snow. They’re moving towards the summit snow slope but it’s still dark.

4:02am: Panuru Sherpa says they are 15min from …

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Everest North Side 2016 – Update May 18

Cory Richards enjoying life at Advanced Base Camp

#RapidAscent Team Moving Higher

Alpenglow’s Rapid Ascent team has been enjoying life at Advanced Base Camp (21,000’/6400m) for a few days in order to fully recover and be ready for the next low wind period that will allow their summit push. The team was initially planning on leaving camp today however an unexpected burst of wind popped through on the forecast so they have decided to wait one more day for things to calm down

The team is targeting May 22 as their summit day. Other teams on the mountain are choosing to target the two days before hopefully clearing the way for our team to move right up. The summit push will be four days. The team will sleep at the North Col (7000 meters), Camp 2 (7800 meters), Camp 3 (8300 meters) and go for the top from there, getting as low as they can directly after the summit (most likely Camp 2).

The report from lead guide Chad Peele this morning was that Bryan and Trudi are “pent up sled dogs ready to crush!”. Adrian responded from base camp that this was as perfect state to be in before heading higher and advised the team to “keep crazy hydrating and stay off the whiskey :)”.

Lead Guide Chad Peele surveying the upper mountain from our camp at 7000m on the North Col. Photo: Zeb Blais

Sherpa teams spent the

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Everest North Side 2016 – Update for May 16

Everest North Side Update May 16

If you’ve been following along via social media you have likely seen that both teams have been enjoying very stable weather with all team members acclimatizing well. Daily updates can be found by following along on Snapchat – usernames @EverestNoFilter & @AlpenglowExped. Our guides also take amazing photos and upload every few days on Instagram. Follow them at @ZebBlais and @ChadPeele.

#RapidAscent Team resting in ABC

Alpenglow’s Rapid Ascent team of Bryan and Trudi led by all star Chad Peele and supported by powerhouse Zeb Blais have completed their final acclimatization cycle and are now resting at 21,000’ (6,400m) advanced base camp.

21,000′ Advanced Base Camp – North Side of Everest Photo: Zeb Blais

Last week the team spent two nights on the North Col at 23,000’ (7,000m) to get a taste of the thin air and to continue their acclimatization routine. During one of those days the team climbed a few hundred meters higher to further push their body’s ability to acclimatize before heading back to camp for the evening.

As Bryan put it in a post to Facebook “The route up to camp 2 (7500-7800m) is deceptively long and grueling. The bonus is that you get to stare at the summit, to the right, the entire time.” From the North Col they moved back to Advanced Base Camp to let their bodies strengthen

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Everest North Side 2016 – Update for May 4

Let me start this blog off with a little public service announcement for all the climbing fans out there. If you have a smartphone, do yourself a favor and download Snapchat and create an account. You don’t have to do anything but follow EverestNoFilter and AlpenglowExped. This unique social media platform allows you to check in with our teams everyday, getting an intimate and unfiltered view of climbing life on the big E!

Ok, now on to the update…

Advance Base Camp on the North Side of Everest. 21,000′.

Everest Rapid Ascent Team

Our Rapid Ascent team of Brian and Trudi led by all star guide Chad Peele have started to settle in to Advanced Base Camp at 21,000’ (6,400m) as of yesterday. Chad has reported that the team is in high spirits and feeling good. Alpenglow’s ABC on Everest is comfortable with large tents to hang around in and get some rest before moving higher. ABC is where the team will spend most of their time during the remainder of the expedition.

Yaks moving gear up to Advanced Base Camp. Check out those penitentes in the background!

The next few days will be spent resting and planning their strategy to move higher on the mountain. The two factors the team will use to devise their plan of attack will be weather and their own physical condition. On the weather front the winds are forecast to gain

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Update from Everest Base Camp

Blog post from Alpenglow guide Zeb Blaise.

We hit our bumps in the road getting to Everest Base Camp, but all in all we’re doing pretty
well. Complaining about the trip logistics would be like complaining about air travel: its got its
problems, but how else can you get from Seattle to Katmandu in 24 hours? Travelling thousands
of feet in the air at hundreds of miles per hour is incredible, even if their only whiskey is Johnny
Walker.

Everyone and everything arrived in Katmandu without a hitch. We recovered from a little jet
lag in KTM, spent a day at the airport only to find our flight was cancelled. No big deal. Air China
put us up at the Radison, and the next day we were in the air headed to Lhasa. A couple
thousand feet from landing, we suddenly pulled up and ascended back to our cruising
altitude…headed to Chengdu China. This wasn’t what we wanted, but it was better than a sketchy
landing through gale force wind shears. After a night at a Chinese hotel and shuffling our 19
duffle bags into an airport for the last time, we flew to Lhasa.

Getting to EBC in Tibet is similar magic. We didn’t have to spend months on a yak train with
hundreds of porters, we simply took a bus! A little adventure here and there added some
excitement to the experience of international travel. …

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