January 30, 2010

Skiing the French-Haig-Robertson Traverse

RC Cola crossing over from the Haig Neve to the Robertson Glacier.

Pumped a quick lap with Ryan Creary on this K-Country Classic a few days back. Although it would have been easy to revel in the post-expedition sloth for a little longer, I forced myself off the couch in a desperate attempt to get back on the horse. In the end, I never did surmount any horses but I did manage to break one of my ski boots. Man, when it rains it pours. Does anyone know the name for the universal law which states that when one piece of gear breaks, there will be atleast five other expensive things that crap out at the same time? In hindsight, the boot wasn't a big deal. Infact, it was really just a primer - an appetizer, an amuse bouche if you will - for the news I received 2 days later about my car needing over $5 grand in work.

Other than the the exploding boot, Ryan and I had a good time posing for each other's lenses. (If there are any photo editors out there, this would be a really good time to buy lots of shots from me).

January 28, 2010

Aconcagua Summit Day

The 2 Daves battle their way against heavy winds on summit day.

Well I gotta say that it's a lot more pleasant to look at these photos while sitting on a couch, drinking Argentine wine and listening to Elliott Brood than it was to actually do the thing. But I guess that's often the case eh? Of course, the trick lies in figuring out a way to revel in the hellish moment as much as in the ensuing hedonism. Either way, I hope you enjoy the last set of photos from Aconcagua 2010.

Snow at Camp 1. About 8 years ago, my tent got fully buried in this same place.

Dave K wonders what happened to that Argentine Sunshine.

Moving from Camp 1 to Camp 2.

Camp 2 at 19,350 ft.

After a rest day at C2, we headed for the top. Dave K and Dave C take the final steps to the summit. The South Face drops off in the background to the left.

The 2 Daves

We were fortunate to share the summit with better looking lifelings than ourselves.


The weather deteriorated on the descent. When we finally got close to C2, I got on the radio and asked the other guide to come out of the tent and start shouting. Otherwise, I think we would have wandered around in the white soup for quite some time.

Remains of the last night's asado.

Arrieros have been using these things to make Mate for 12,000 years.

The hike out.


Mendoza's best restaurant Francis Mallmann 1884

January 27, 2010

More Photos From the Heartland

All praise Base Camp after 3 hot days of travel.

Looking down the Relinchos Valley on Day 3 of the approach to Base Camp.

The tame river crossing on Day 3.

On Day 3 we ran in to a wild herd of thieving mules.

Base Camp is a mellow place (until the leg of your plastic chair crashes through one of the many giant holes in the floor).

Navigating the penitentes on the way to Camp 1.

On past trips, I've resorted to using a sextant to navigate through the pentitentes.

Campo Uno at 16,400 ft.

January 25, 2010

Shop Talk

A buddy just sent this to me. I reckon there's a kernel a truth.

January 24, 2010

Aconcagua Photos

Over the next few days, I'm going to post a backlog of photos from the Aconcagua Trip. Not exactly high-alpinism, but definitely a good adventure in one of my favorite places on earth. Of the five trips I've made to The Peak, this expedition was by far the most challenging. Not only was summit day a windy, white-out hell, but it seemed like every day presented some sort of challenge or logistical riddle - a code if you will - that I (The Guide) was forced to solve. If I failed to solve this daily logistical riddle, the expedition faced nothing short of full, complete and utter dissolution. These riddles came in many shapes and sizes and ranged in severity from kidney stones and emergency evacs, to no-show porters, no-show bags, a base camp Dr. who failed 14 times to administer an IV Drip, a $125 apple, a $125 orange and a myriad of other complexities.

Despite the challenges, it was a great and successful expedition and I hope you enjoy the photos (especially since I'm uploading them from 34,000 feet on the final leg home from Dallas to Calgary).

I got really into maps and electronic signs on this trip.

I had a long lay-over in Buenos Aires on the way down and spent some time cruising through an old cemetery. It was surprisingly uplifting. These homes are actually all tombs. The corpses are livin in style!

Another tomb.

This is Carolina, my tour-guide for the day through BA.

Starting the trek from Lenas to Plaza Argentina. The approach to Base Camp typically takes three days.

Crossing the narrow bridge - a metaphor.

Day 2 of the long, dry approach.

Camp on Day 2 at Casa de Piedras.

Arrieros preparing a classic Asado. So good.

January 20, 2010

Aconcagua Summit

A bluebird afternoon at Camp 2 (19,350 feet).

Thanks for all the well wishes! On Jan 18th @ 2:30 pm, after 8.5 hours of up, The Team summitted in full Argentine conditions (blinding steak and wine). We´re just leaving base camp now and should arrive in Mendoza tomorrow night. Looking forward to one last asado on the trail.

Leaving Camp 2 on Summit Day.

A brief respite from the wind on the descent from the summit.

January 13, 2010

Aconcagua Update

Greetings from Aconcagua Base Camp at 13, 800 feet! The Team is doing great and we are now established at Camp 1 (16,400 feet) on the upper mountain. Last night was our first evening at C1 and I just pumped a lap back to Base in order to drop off some extra weight. Tomorrow will be a team carry day to Camp 2 at 19,350 feet followed by another rest day at Campo Uno.

The forecast for the next few days looks excellent and we are hoping that the sunny skies and low winds persist for our summit attempt on January 18th.

Hope all is well back home and please send good vibes our way on the 18th!

Nos Vemos,

January 03, 2010

New Year 2010

Rocky Mountain Sky in the early a.m.

Well the New Year festivities are over and I guess that means it's time to get down to some serious work. In my case, the serious work began at 2:45 this morning when I left Canmore to catch a 7 am flight out of Calgary. If this seems ridiculously early, it is.

I would like to thank two people in particular for helping to make this happen. First and foremost, a big THANKS! to the thwarted Detroit Bomber. If it weren't for you, I would not have had to arrive at the airport three hours early to clear US Customs. Secondly, props to Mad Johnny for the ride to the Calgary Airport!

For the next three weeks, I will be guiding an Aconcagua Expedition for Mountain Madness. This will be my first time working for The Madness and I am looking forward to re-uniting with many old friends. The trip will encompass a horseshoe style traverse of the peak where we ascend the Polish Glacier side of the mountain and then descend The Ruta Normal. This will be my fifth trip to the peak and although many people write it off as a giant slog, I believe that the mountain's merits go far beyond the climbing. Infact, I'm going to go out on a wild limb here and say that climbing Aconcagua is worth it for the time spent in Mendoza alone. If you've been there, you know what I'm talking about. If not, I'm sure you can imagine. Basically, Mendoza is renowned for three things: incredible food, world-class vineyards, and heart-stopping hotties. Stay tuned.

Anyway, back to the serious business of mountains and machines. Here are a few more photos from the past week at CMH Bobbie Burns. If I can get my act together, I'll post some video asap.

Happy New Year from all of us here at Global Alpine!

The 212

The Lavigne.

And the beverage of choice.