Friday, February 27, 2015

Denali Avialability

The bright sunny days this week have provided great views of the Alaska Range this week.  There is a rumor that it may snow tomorrow!





We have assigned our lead guides for 2015 Denali West Buttress Expeditions.  Please keep in mind that a lot can happen in the next few months so we plan as best we can,  but can't absolutely guarantee that the assignments will remain as seen. All of our guides are qualifed  professionals in this field with many, many years of experience, several lead AMS guides have been guiding and climbing for 20 plus years. 
  
Denali, West Buttress, 21 days, $7400, 6 climbers:  2-3 guides

May 4 - May 24,           1 place available, lead guide: Larry Holmgren


May 8 - May 28,           FULL, lead guide: Josh Hoeschen


May 11 - May 31,         1 place available, lead guide: Dustin English 


May 15 - June 4,          1 place available, lead guide: Noah Ronczkowski


May 18 - June 7,           FULL, lead guide:  Dan Corn 


May 25 - June 14,         FULL, lead guide: Todd Tumolo

May 26 - June 19,         FULL: Custom, lead guide: Colby Coombs

May 27 - June 16,         FULL: Custom, lead guide: Dustin Eroh


May 29 - June 18,         FULL, lead guide: Alex Stroud


June 1 - June 21,          FULL, lead guide: Mark Postle

June 9 - June 29,          FULL lead guide: Elliot Gaddy

June 12 - July 2,           2 places availablelead guide: Mike Hamill


June 15 - July 7,           4 places available, lead guide: Noah Ronczkowski


June 23 - July 13,         4 places available, lead guide: Dan Corn


June 24 - July 14,         6 places available, lead guide: Melis Coady

June 25 - July 15,         2 places available, lead guide: Rob Gowler 

Denali, Full West Rib, 21 days, $8400, 4 climbers: 2 guides

June 3-23, 1 place available, lead guide: Josh Hoeschen

Foraker, Sultana Ridge, 21 days, $ 8400, 4 climbers: 2 guides
May 6 - 26, 4 places available, lead guide: TBA

Friday, February 20, 2015

CWVC Aconcagua, its not over until its over...

AMS Guide Colby Coombs called in tonight and CWVC - Anconcagua Team departed Plaza de Mulas, basecamp in less that ideal weather conditions for the 12 mile hike out to Confluencia camp today.

Instead of a speedy heat-dodging hike, as was the case on the approach, they left basecamp with their mountaineering boots, full outerwear on and had to break trail through fresh snow today.  It was yet another big day today for this team, and of course, they pulled through and were welcomed into Confluencia Camp this evening at about 8:30 PM, making this nearly a nine hour day of hiking in wind and wet snow.   These temperatures are prime for hypothermia and one has to be extra vigilant  in these conditions.  Colby called it "a pretty burley day"  which is climber slang for: hard work in bad weather; it was tough and required a lot of mental and pyhsicl strenght and commitment.

Although a tough day for our team today, we are glad that the mountain is getting some much needed precipitation. We are also thankful that they are not suck in a storm high on the mountain right now.   When climbing big mountains, if at all possible, you must take advantage of the good weather to move up in, and this team did just that.  Well played.  

We look forward to welcoming back tomorrow and all is still on schedule for their return into Mendoza tomorrow in the late afternoon.


Confluencia camp in the snow!
Plaz De Mulas in a snow storm, they most likely left camp in similar conditions.


On a better day, climbers and mules get ready to depart from  Plaza de Mulas base camp.

Mules carrying climbers loads on Aconcaguas Normal Route

Another good shot of mules carrying climbers gear  back from Aconcagua.







Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Congrats CWVC Team, another job well done.

CONGRATULATIONS!!!!

Today at 2:00 PM Argentine time, CWVC - Aconcagua team members Brian and Dom and AMS guides Joey McBrayer and Augustine Karrierre reached the top of Aconcagua, 22,841 feet.

CWVC members Billy, Roland and guide Colby Coombs climbed to their high point of approximately 20,600', which is across a very long traverse (seen in photo below).  All team members are now back at White Rocks camp and everyone is in bed after eaten a small meal before crawling into their welcoming and cozy sleeping bags.  Tonight they will rest very well,  after the huge efforts everyone made today. Well done everyone.

The weather was very clear and cold as they started climbing in the dark hours of the early morning.  The traverse conditions consisted of challenging mix of rocks, hard-packed snow and ice to negotiate.

We can't wait to hear their stories and see their photos, I'm sure Billy has some amazing footage to share!

The shadow cast over the Andes Range by Aconcagua's summit from the rising sun. This is a treat they had today.

The summit day traverse trail is covered in snow, canaletta begins just out of sight of the trail near the triangular rock face.

Looking back at the traverse and the Andes.
This location is almost at the base of the canaletta, a steep section which requires great effort.

Climbers above the canaletta, on the summit ridge, which take so , so, so very long, everyone at this point is moving very slowly, 3-4 breaths for each step.

This climber sums it up! With view from the top of South America and the Western Hemisphere.  

In the next days, the plan is as follows:

Feb. 18, Tomorrow: Descend with gear back to Plaza de Mulas, reunite with Josh and guide Karina.

Feb. 19, Thursday: Rest, Eat, organize loads for mules and pack up of the hike out.

Feb. 20, Friday: Hike 12 miles from plaza de Mulas to Confluence Camp.

Feb. 21, Saturday: Hike 6 miles from  Confluencia camp to Horcones Valley road-head, transfer to Punta de Vacas to pick up baggage carried by mules and drive in van back to Mendoza.

We look forward to seeing this team back in Mendoza.  We are ready to take them out for a big Argentine steak dinner!







Monday, February 16, 2015

CWVC at High Camp

AMS Guide Colby Coombs with the very strong CWVC - Aconcagua called in at about 8 PM Mendoza, Argentina time.

The High Altitude Unit reached their high camp "White Rocks" at 19,400 feet, at 1:15PM today. They are are doing well and had a good afternoon of rest.  They continue to eat well and keep their spirits high.  It took them only 3 hours and 45 minutes to move up to high camp.

The weather is very good and if that remains, and if they are feeling good, they will make a summit attempt tomorrow.  If they decide to go for it - it will be slow and steady going, as is the norm, at these high altitudes.

I'm sure they are sleeping now and will be excited to hit the trail in the ealry morning. The temperatures are very cold up there and they will be bundled up in nearly all of their clothes and their big down parkas for most of the day tomorrow.

We are hoping that they have calm weather with minimal winds.  Aconcagua is famous for its viento blanco (white winds), and for good reason, the winds get very strong on the mountain often causing teams to wait for days and days for a summit attempt, we are hoping their luck stays with them for the morning!

All CWVC team members are in good spirits.

We are so proud to work with these exceptional people.

White Rocks campsite, 19,400' note: this photo shows snow, our team does not have any.

View of White Rocks camp and the view of the andes beyond = AWESOME.







Sunday, February 15, 2015

CWVC - Aconcagua Update

The CWVC - Aconcagua Team is doing well.  AMS owner and guide, Colby Coombs called in with this report:


Welcome back!

The Low Altitude Unit made super time and arrived at the trail head nearly 4 hours ahead of schedule, lots of new discoverys regarding equipment and mountain adventures were made in the past 2 days with them.  They are safely in Mendoza tonight and we have enjoyed seeing their smiling faces and hearing some of stories.


White Rock Camp, coming up for tomorrow... What an amazing view.
Today, the High Altitude Unit rested at Nido camp, 18,340'.  They had a good rest today with everyone eating well and feeling well.  They plan to move to high camp, called White Rocks, at 19,400 feet tomorrow,  so.... a a big day ahead!

From the High Altitude Unit, Josh with AMS guide Karina, have descended to Plaza de Mulas (basecamp).  By all accounts, Josh has been super strong this whole time, but the very high altitude was not cooperating, so yesterday afternoon, he and Karina departed for basecamp.  They arrived safely and today Josh has already started day hiking and documenting his oxygen saturation levels at specific elevations, among other details.

All CWVC team members are in good spirits!


View from Nido de Condores camp.  We know they are enjoying this view for the rest of us.





2015 Current Expedition Availablity

"After climbing mountains in America, Europe and Africa, AMS is the best guiding company I've been with." 
         - Stephan M. Denali 2014


"Our AMS guides were clearly among the most respected on the mountain. Very strong and very knowledgable. It truly was an amazing experience." 
         - Micholas D. Denali 2014



AMS camp at 14,200' West Buttress of Denali

Descending Denali's West Buttress

Here is our current expedition availability 

We have assigned our lead guides for 2015 Denali West Buttress Expeditions.  Please keep in mind that a lot can happen in the next few months so we plan as best we can,  but can't absolutely guarantee that the assignments will remain as seen. All of our guides are qualifed  professionals in this field with many, many years of experience, several lead AMS guides have been guiding and climbing for 20 plus years.   


Denali, West Buttress, 21 days, $7400, 6 climbers:  2-3 guides


April 27 - May 17,        4 places available, lead guide: Nate Opp


May 4 - May 24,           3 places available, lead guide: Larry Holmgren


May 8 - May 28,           6 places available, lead guide: Josh Hoeschen


May 11 - May 31,         2 places available, lead guide: Dustin English 


May 15 - June 4,          1 place available, lead guide: Noah Ronczkowski


May 18 - June 7,           FULL, lead guide:  Dan Corn 


May 25 - June 14,         FULL, lead guide: Todd Tumolo

May 26 - June 19,         FULL: Custom, lead guide: Colby Coombs

May 27 - June 16,         FULL: Custom, lead guide: Dustin Eroh


May 29 - June 18,         FULL, lead guide: Alex Stroud


June 1 - June 21,          FULL, lead guide: Mark Postle

June 9 - June 29,          FULL lead guide: Elliot Gaddy

June 12 - July 2,           2 place availablelead guide: Mike Hamill


June 15 - July 7,           4 places available, lead guide: Noah Ronczkowski


June 23 - July 13,         5 places available, lead guide: Dan Corn


June 24 - July 14,         6 places available, lead guide: Melis Coady

June 25 - July 15,         3 places available, lead guide: Rob Gowler 

Denali, Full West Rib, 21 days, $8400, 4 climbers: 2 guides

June 3-23, 1 place available, lead guide: Josh Hoeschen

Foraker, Sultana Ridge, 21 days, $ 8400, 4 climbers: 2 guides
May 6 - 26, 4 places available, lead guide: TBA




Saturday, February 14, 2015

CWCV - Aconcagua Update

The CWVC - Aconcagua team is doing well on the mountain and making excellent progress.  AMS guide Colby Coombs phone in last night, here is his report:

The Higher Altitude Unit made it to Camp Canada yesterday. They set up camp and were settled in by 1:00 PM, making good time with 3 hours of moving.  When I spoke with Colby at about 8:00 PM Argentina time, he said all was well and they were settled in for the night; reading, writing or sleeping after having eaten well at dinner.  The Lower Altitude Unit, with AMS guide Bace Poplawski, was in basecamp, doing well; they gathered data, soaking up the culture of basecamp and were also settled in for the night.

Plan for Today:

The High Altitude Unit will single carry to the second camp called Nido de Condors ( Nest of the Condors) at 18,340', which puts them ahead of schedule by one day- this indicates that they are feeling strong.

The Lower Altitude Unit will be hiking the difficult 12 miles back to Camp Confluencia today.  I bet they will make good time, due to the decrease in altitude.  They will feel stronger with each step and the data will be interesting as compared to the hike up.

Plan for Tomorrow: 

The High Altitude Unit will take a rest and acclimization day; they will likely sleep in, eat as much as possible, play cards, collect data, take naps, and take a day hike up the trail to give their bodies a feel for higher elevations.

The Lower Altitude Unit will hike out to the roadhead and transport back to Mendoza in the evening, we look forward to welcoming them back.


We wish the entire team the very best to today, they all have a lot of hard work ahead of them.



As you know, we do not have direct photos from the mountain at this time, but you can see from the photos below of where the high team is going to today.  Enjoy!

Nice map of the route. You can also find a great map on the CWVC website, link is above.


A welcoming sign to the "Nido", letting climbers know they are in the correct place!
Sunset view from Nido and a look at the route ahead
Informative image, their next camp will be White Rocks, which is close by Berlin camp, first yellow arrow on the skyline. Their camp is at the yellow arrow in the center photo ont he face of the mountain, (not on skyline). 


View of Nido de Condors, camp and their view.
Similar image, but with more tents and closer up, the camps become a nice community of climbers.

Pano image of campsite and the views of the Andes beyond, they are UP THERE!



Thursday, February 12, 2015

CWVC / AMS Aconcagua 2015

The team is doing well!

They had a rest day today anfter making a carry to Camp Canada, 16,667 feet above sea level, yesterday, this is the first of 3 camps they will make higher on the Aconcagua.

They will split into 2 teams: with Josh, Dom, Billy, Roland and Brian heading higher and with Pete, Mark, Ted, and Dave staying a Plaza De Mulas for a bit to do some more research before heading back to Mendoza.

These guys are an awesome group and we can't wait to hear thier stories, they all have a great deal of hard work ahead of them in the coming days.

Here are photos of the upper mountain route and Camp Canada at 16,667', where part of the team will move to tomorrow.


Here you get a sense of scale, and route they have traveled, Camp Canada is at the outcropping of rocks, center photo.  Spot climbers on the right , heading up to camp 2.

Closer view of the amazing views from camp 2, They team is wishing for more snow, it is very dry this year.  


Monday, February 9, 2015

CWVC Aconcagua Team at Plaza de Mulas

Just a quick late night note that CWVC - Aconcagua  has arrived into Plaza De Mulas, which will serve as their basecamp for the next 3-4 days, and wher ethey will spend a night upon descent.  AMS guide Colby Coombs phoned in just a few minutes ago to let us know that all is well; everyone has eaten a good dinner and are settled into their tents for a well deserved rest, these are good signs that they are acclimatizing well.

Congrats to everyone for making the long hike to 14,009 feet today.  They were met along the way with some friendly faces from AMS guides guiding other trips here which always brightens the day.

They are all now sleeping soundly and will enjoy a "rest day" tomorrow while accilmating, doing research, and organizing extra food, fuel and gear items to carry up the mountain to cache for upward progress.

Good luck team!


A look at the upper moutnain route



CWVC Aconcagua Update

AMS Guide Colby Coombs, phoned in from Confluencia camp last night, elevation 10,892'.  The team is doing well and is moving up to the base camp, Plaza de Mulas at 14,009 feet on schedule.

Yesterday, part of the team stayed a thte confluencia camp and did research projects, team leader Peter Quintanilla said that he thought it was some of the best research they have done in the mountains.

The other part of the team did a sucessful 4 hour accliamitazation hike towrds the the south face.

They team had an early start today with some of them team leaving at 2 AM and the other leaving a bit later to avoid the heat of the day on the 12 mile beautiful river bed hike today.  This hike is amazing and it is very open, dry and very hot during the day.  This area reminds some climbers of a lunar lanscape, we will have to see what Dom thinks about that!

We are wishing them lots of luck today, we estimate with the gain in altitude of 3,114' and 12 miles it may take the team aprox. 12- 15 hours of moving today.  They will take a well deserved rest day tomorrow at Plaza De Mulas, the basecamp for staging for the upper moutnain.

Photos of where they will are going to be today, the reports are that itis very dry in the mountains this year, thought they are expecting a dusting of snow in a few days, which will be good.

They will be travling from Confulencia up the the Horcones River Valley to Palza de Mulas Camp today.


Wide open horcones valley, Mules helping to carry gear, thank you mules!
Steep terrain on the final approaches to Plaza de Mulas, these animals are very stable in the mountains.

Plaza de Mulas aka Basecamp, with the climbing route above, basecamp tents where Rangers and doctors stay and also where ou team will be eating meals, we also have a large Mt. Hardwear Dome tent where we will stage from.

Plaza De Mulas, climbers tents, looking towrad the Horcones Valley.