Posted on January 28th, 2010 No comments
The entire team has returned home from Argentina. The last member to land home was Ben who met his family in Buenos Aires for a vacation before flying back to the United States. We returned having had many great new enriching experiences and carry the memories of a great experience with us back into our daily lives. The group molded together into an efficient and supportive mountaineering team. The insight gained each time we adventure into the mountain brings us closer to who we are and what we are meant to do, finding our calling, and helping others along the way.
Here are a few highlights. The entire photo album of Kurt’s pictures can be found here: http://kurtwedbergphotography.com/International-Expeditions/Aconcagua-Argentina/Aconcagua-Dec-30-January-14/10953077_tt4NW#765322248_pEPta
The team at the trailhead to the start of the Vacas Valley. From left to right: Ben, Kurt, Tina, Chris, Syd, Chuck.
We use mules to carry our gear on the 3-day trek to Base Camp.
Aconcagua on the 3rd day of our approach to Base Camp.
Syd arriving at Base Camp
Sunset at Base Camp
The team navigating through a “penitente” field on the way to Camp 1.
Chuck, Ben, and Syd settled in at Camp 1.
High Camp at the base of the Polish Glacier.
Sunrise on summit day.
Chuck crossing a snowfield on summit day.
High on summit day in the “Canaleta” with the summit on the skyline.
Ben on the summit of Aconcagua
Ben and Chris on the summit of Aconcagua
Chuck and Kurt on the summit of Aconcagua.
Posted on January 25th, 2010 No comments
After freshly being back from Aconcagua it was time to check out the local Sierra snow conditions. There is no better way to do that than to host an avalanche course. We offer these a few times each winter/spring. This was SMI’s first course of the year. It was taught by SMI founder Kurt Wedberg. Recent heavy snowfall made for high avalanche danger and lots of interesting snowpack observations.
Avalanche awareness is a very real and intregral part of safe travel in backcountry terrain during the seasons when snow is prevalent. SMI guides stay abreast on the latest in avalanche study and through these courses have the opportunity to pass it on to the students who attend them. A great time was had by all as we examined the causes of avalanches, their types and characteristics, what to look for in observing field conditions from weather to snowpack and avalanche activity, terrain selection, decision making, and much more. At the end of day 2 the class drew out a tour plan for us to follow on day 3. We also spent time learning rescue skills. We spent time getting familiar with avalanche transceivers and how to use them to find and rescue a buried person with an accompanying probe and shovel. At the end of our tour on day 3 we conducted a mock rescue of four people buried in an avalanche. A few pictures from the weekend are below. The entire photo album is here: http://kurtwedbergphotography.com/Sierra-Trips/2010-Sierra-Trips/Level-1-Avalanche-Course/11044954_KiyNt#772819836_sb8Fv
Conducting a “fine search” is the final of the 3-step process of searching for a buried person witih an avalanche transceiver.
Learning proper probing and shoveling techniques during avalanche rescue practice.
SMI founder Kurt Wedberg giving instruction on snow pack analysis and identification of weak layers after digging a snow pit specfically constructed to look at the profile of the snow.
A beautiful day for a backcountry tour. Part of the fun of this course is being able to experience the pristine scenery in the winter environment.
Posted on January 18th, 2010 No comments
Our 2010 Aconcagua expedition was another success. In spite of an unusually windy climb we were never forced to sit out any extra days due to inclement weather. Team members did a great job helping and supporting each other and quickly emerged into an efficient climbing team. We began hiking on December 30 for the 3-day approach to Base Camp called Plaza Argentina at 13,779 feet (4200m). After arriving there we spent a few days doing acclimatization day hikes and carrying loads to Camp 1 at 16,600 feet (5059m). We spent three nights here before moving up to Camp 2 at 19,160 feet (5840m). Once we established Camp 2 the winds abated enough for summit bids on January 9-10. After reaching the summit the team returned to Base Camp and walked out. After arriving back to civilization the team spent a couple days in Mendoza soaking up the warm sun, going wine and olive oil tasting, and enjoying fine Argentine cuisine.
We’ll post a few highlights soon. The entire photo gallery of pictures are here: http://kurtwedbergphotography.com/International-Expeditions/Aconcagua-Argentina/Aconcagua-Dec-30-January-14/10953077_tt4NW