Denali 2015 Team Reaches the Summit!

11036893_10153403627384481_7096785160031230869_nKurt Wedberg, Tristan Sieleman and the entire 2015 Denali Team made the summit yesterday, June 23rd! Kurt checked in saying: “100% on top of North America! Teary eyed & psyched for this team! ‪#‎Denali2015‬ ‪#‎BestJobOnThePlanet‬

Today they are descending. Kurt said they are “packing up from high camp. We’ll descend to 11000 today then travel the lower glacier tonight.”

Expect more photos and updates, as they return to civilization!


Denali 2015 Update: Team About 3-4 Days From Summit

The 2015 Denali team is still on the move.

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On Motorcycle Hill above Camp 3. Camp 3 at 11,000’ is seen below us in the sun.

Today they cached a load of gear/food at 16,200 ft.

Joey Szalkiewicz is strong and keeping up just fine with the more seasoned climbers. At 17 years old, he’s already carrying a 60 lb pack successfully up the mountain.

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At 12000’ on Squirrel Hill

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At 12500’ traveling above Squirrel Hill towards Windy Corner

Kurt Wedberg checked in today saying that the group is about 3 to 4 days from the summit, weather permitting. “The team is strong & healthy & having a great time. Weather’s been clear lending to spectacular views of the Alaska Range.  After 8 days of climbing & establishing camps we’re @C3 @14200′. 2moro we are planning on a well earned rest b4 setting our sites on moving to High Camp @17200. Thinking about our loved ones, family & friends. Thanks for all your support :)”

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Our cache at 13500’ buried and marked

Stay tuned for an update on Wednesday!





Denali 2015 Team Making Steady Progress Up the Mountain

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Organizing loads at Base Camp at 7200’

The 2015 Denali team is right on track and feeling good!

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Leaving Base Camp with Mt. Hunter (14,570’) in the background

On Friday, they landed on the Kahiltna Glacier and began their progress.

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Traveling on the Kahiltna Glacier en route to Camp 1

On Saturday, the team carried to 9500′ and on Sunday , Kurt checked in saying “4 days after landing in the Alaska Range our team has carried supplies to Camp 2 @11000′. The team’s strong & psyched! ”

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On Ski Hill above Camp 1

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Light snow on our tents at Camp 2 at 9500’

Today, they have already cached a load at 13,500′!

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Beautiful day traveling on the Kahiltna Glacier at 10,000’ en route to Camp 3.

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Taking a rest break on the Kahiltna Glacier

Stay tuned for more updates!


Denali 2015 Team Flies to Kahiltna Glacier to Begin Climb

Kurt Wedberg, president and lead guide at SMI, and his 2015 Denali Team found a break in the weather to fly onto the Kahiltna Glacier today from Talkeetna, AK.

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This year’s team consists of SMI senior guide, Tristan “Trippy” Sieleman, mountain guide at Mountain Trip, Ben Adkinson, and friends, Bob “Ski” Szalkiewicz, Joe Szalkiewicz and Joey Szalkiewicz.


The team has been taking it easy and fueling up on the local Talkeetna fare, awaiting their window to fly out today. Oh yes, and they’ve been doing lots of gear checks and packing.



11036215_10205174874105932_5498011346422143648_oThe group is currently at Base Camp 7,200 ft. Next they will be packing and prepping to make the trek to Camp 1.

Keep them in your thoughts and prayers for a happy summit and stay tuned for updates!


SMI Guide, Amy Ness, Giving Presentation on Torres Del Paine in Lone Pine May 9th

torresCome join SMI Guide, Amy Ness and her partner, Myles Moser, for a presentation of their recent expedition to Patagonia, Chile, where they lived for 19 days on the 4,000 Ft. Central Tower of Paine.

Amy and Miles made the Second Ascent of Un Fina Linea de Locura (“A FINE LINE OF INSANITY”), grade VII, 5.12 A3, 32 pitches in a capsule-style ascent. They then climbed the 3,000ft South Tower, in a record 8 hour and 43 minute push.

The presentation will be held on May 9th at 7pm at the Whitney Portal Hostel in Lone Pine at 238 S. Main St. Doors open at 6pm and the event will be preceded by a potluck dinner.

We hope to see you there!

Epic Success for SMI’s First Mt. Whitney Climb of 2015!

Congratulations to Stephen Cummings of Pittsburgh, PA for his successful summit of Mt. Whitney via the Mountaineer’s Route on February 22, 2015!

Stephen arranged a private climb with SMI founder Kurt Wedberg.  They were able to drive all the way to the summer trailhead at Whitney Portal at 8365’/2550m on February 20.  They hiked on a mostly dry trail to Lower Boy Scout Lake at 10,350’/3155m where they made camp.  The next day they moved their camp higher to 12,000’/3658m putting them in position for a summit attempt on the 22nd.  In the afternoon the wind picked up and clouds began to form.  During the night light snow began falling.  It stopped at 3:30am and the wind abated so they decided to give the summit a try.

During their ascent clouds began rising from below and lowering from above.  As they climbed higher into the Mountaineer’s Chute snow began falling coating the upper section of the route with a thin slippery layer.  The team continued to move well though and in spite of the weather managed to reach the summit shortly after 10:30am.

Here are a few pictures.  The rest can be found here:  Mt. Whitney February 20-22, 2015

Ice on slabs below Upper Boy Scout Lake

High camp at 12,000’/3658m with Mt. Whitney looming overhead.

Avalanche the came across Iceberg Lake

The Final 400′ of the Mountaineer’s Route.

Stephen starting up the Final 400′ of the Mountaineer’s Route.

Stephen on the 2nd pitch of the Final 400′.

Stephen climbing the last pitch of the Final 400′

Stephen topping out on the route.

Walking towards the summit hut on Mt. Whitney

Stephen and Kurt posing for a summit photo before descending.

The tent after returning from the summit.

Ricardo & Tristan psyched on the summit of Aconcauga, 22841'/6962m

Update: Aconcagua January 2015 – 2 on the Summit, the Team is Returning

The team is returning to the U.S. now, after 2 out of the 5 team members made successful summit bids. On January 20, 2015, SMI Guide, Tristan “Trippy” Sieleman and Rick Piette topped out on the summit of the highest peak in the Western Hemisphere, Aconcagua (22841 ft)!


Morning penumbra as Aconcagua casts its immense shadow across the Andes. Awesome!

If climbing to the summits of mountains was without challenges, we wouldn’t refer to the trips as adventures!

After the carry to camp 3 at 19,700ft, one team member suddenly came down with High Altitude Pulmonary Edema and was taken to base camp, where he was evacuated by helicopter to Mendoza. He is now doing well since descending and continued to cheer the group on as they worked toward the summit.


Up & Over the Col. When a climber gets life threatening High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (aka HAPE) at 18,040′ walking on even the slightest uphill can be next to impossible. Descent is mandatory & time is crucial.


SMI founder Kurt Wedberg piggybacking the team member over the Ameghino Col at 17,700′ en route to Base Camp on Aconcagua.









Kurt checked in on January 20, 2015: “A big shout out to Rick Piette and SMI guide Trippy Sieleman for reaching the summit of Aconcagua. After Lloyd and I turned back they continued under a cold and windy day and nailed it. I couldn’t be more proud of these guys for a job well done!”


Ricardo huffing and puffing taking 4+ breaths for each step at over 22,000′ above “The Cave” on Aconcagua.


Ricardo and the morning penumbra as Aconcagua casts is shadows across the landscape of the Andes.


Ricardo high on Aconcagua summit day. Wind, clouds, cold, and an incredible backdrop of the Andes.


Ricardo pauses on Aconcagua summit day with the clouds far below.


Tristan high on Aconcagua summit day. Wind, cold, goggles, and the amazing Andes backdrop.


Ricardo & Tristan psyched taking a selfie at the highest point in the Western Hemisphere with the South Face of Aconcagua peeking in between.

Congratulations to all group members for their incredible effort and commitment to the team.

The next SMI trip to Aconcagua is scheduled for November 27, 2015, with a trip to Kilimanjaro (19,341 ft) and Carstensz Pyramid (16,024 ft) scheduled even sooner. Be sure to explore the website for all of our trip and course offerings!

More photos of Aconcagua coming soon!

Update: Aconcagua January 2015 – Team at Camp 2, On Schedule for Summit Day

Kurt Wedberg just checked in and said the team is all settled in at Camp 2 (18040′) today and are still on schedule to summit on Monday the 19th!  He says that everyone is feeling strong and healthy. “Our plan is to carry to Camp 3 tomorrow, move to Camp 3 @19500′ on the 18th, summit on the 19th.”

Apparently, the views from Camp 2 are spectacular (pictures later!) and they are all feeling very thankful to be up there!

If you love the play-by-play, here are the inReach updates for the week:

Monday the 12th: “Our well rested team had a nice day hike to 15300′ to stretch our legs & prepare for the work ahead. Tomorrow we carry gear to Camp 1 @16700′. Psyched & ready!”

Wednesday the 14th: “Yesterday we carried 9 days of food & fuel to Camp 1 @16700′. Today we left Base Camp & moved up to C1. Just finished a pizza dinner & enjoying an awesome view”

Thursday the 15th: “Had an awesome 11hrs of sleep. Feeling well rested we carried 5 days of food & fuel to C2 @18040′ today. Views continue to get more spectacular. Life is good :)”

And today, the 16th: “Today our team successfully moved to C2 @18040′ where there’s half the oxygen of sea level. Truly thankful for our health allowing us to see these amazing views”


Update: Aconcagua January 2015 – Team Acclimatizing At Base Camp

The team successfully made it to Base Camp at Plaza Argentina (13,747′) on Saturday, where they are spending a few days relaxing, taking acclimatization hikes and preparing loads for their higher camps.

The big message of the day today is that “Lloyd sends his love to Stella!” Technology is awesome.

If you’ve been keeping track as they go, I don’t want you to miss anything! See below:

Friday, January 9th – Day 5 – From Casa de Pierdra, Kurt checked in saying: “Beautiful hike to our last camp before Base Camp. Stuffed after a yummy traditional Argentine steak “asado”. Psyched to reach Base Camp tomorrow!!!!”

Saturday, January 10th – Day 6 – The group made it on time to Base Camp! Kurt said “3 days, 42km & 6000′ elevation gain our team reached Aconcagua Base Camp @13747′! We’ll spend 4 nights here taking acclimatization hikes preparing 2 move higher”

Sunday, January 11th – Day 7 – High spirits as the team relaxes at Base Camp: “It’s a rare treat in our modern age to have a day to just relax, read a good book, enjoy xlnt conversation & eat slow meals. Such was our rest day @Aconcagua :)”

Stay tuned for updates!

Update: Aconcagua January 2015 – Group En Route to Base Camp

Kurt Wedberg checked in yesterday evening with greetings from the team’s first camp en route to their Base Camp for Aconcagua!

From the altitude reading in his inReach message, it would appear that the group is currently in step with their projected itinerary to camp at Pampa de Lenas last night.

Kurt says: “Greetings from our 1st camp @9350′ en route to base camp. Bedded down to gentle sounds of a flowing river & guachos laughing after an amazing chicken bbq.”

Today’s itinerary has them continuing toward Base Camp and camping at Casa de Pierdra at 10,630′ tonight.

Stay tuned for updates!