Category: International Expeditions

SMI’s Second Kilimanjaro Team 2017 gears up for summit day!

Kilimanjaro with Snow on top

SMI’s second Kilimanjaro Team 2017 goes for the summit! They chose to summit via the Northern Circuit Route, a seldom traveled route up Kilimanjaro. They started their trek on February 18, 2017. Follow their journey with us as Kurt Wedberg, SMI Founder, keeps us updated!

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David Schucker and Bryan Miller fresh off the plane in Tanzania

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Diane Tsuda, David Schucker, Bryan Miller, and Andy Schucker start their trek in the jungle!

 

 


 

February 23, 2017

Greetings from Mawenzi Tarn Camp at 4315m on the flanks of Kilimanjaro. Our team just finished day 6 of our 9-day climb.  We started on February 18 at the Lemosho Gate at 2100m. We trekked under the jungle canopy and we’re treated to sightings of Black & White Colobus Monkey’s jumping between tree branches.  Kilimanjaro is the only place where one can pass through 5 climate zones in as many days. Over the past several days we have climbed through the Cultivation & Jungle zones into the Moorland & Sub Alpine zones.

Our team chose the remote and seldom traveled Northern Circuit Route. We’ve been treated to beautiful views of the upper flanks of Kilimanjaro covered with fresh snow from recent storms. We’ve had rain 5 out of 6 days usually after arriving at camp.  The team remains in great spirits enjoying the discovery that accompanies the views each new day brings. Tomorrow we move to to our high camp at 4700m in preparation for our summit bid the following day.

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February 24, 2017

Greetings from 4720m at the Kibo Hut; our high camp on Kilimanjaro! Our team spent last night at the Mawenzi Tarn Camp at 4315m underneath Mt Mawenzi. This impressive satellite peak was formed during the first eruption of Kilimanjaro.  Today we got an early start to trek towards our camp enjoying stunning views of the mountain we came to climb. We spent this afternoon preparing our gear for summit day, hydrating and resting. An early dinner will be followed by early to sleep so we can wake early for summit day. We’ll start wearing headlamps and climb through the night with the goal of reaching the summit in  the early morning.

Everybody has acclimatized well to the high elevation. We’re feeling great and psyched for our summit bid to the Roof of Africa!

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Stay tuned as the second SMI Kilimanjaro 2017 team make for their summit bid on Kilimanjaro! Follow on our Facebook and Instagram @smiguides

The Kilimanjaro 2017 team makes headway!

The SMI Kilimanjaro 2017 Team makes more headway up to the “roof of Africa”! SMI guide Alex Barber checks in:


February 6, 2016

Hello again,

Tonight we’re checking in from Umbwe Cave Camp at 9600ft. This morning we had another coffee centric breakfast at the Springlands hotel. Afterwhich we all piled in our Zara van and spent an hour driving to the Umbwe gate at 5200ft.

The day started hot and humid but the canopy of the rainforest gave us some relief. As our hike took us higher and higher the temp’s cooled, a light breeze picked up along with a light rain. Throughout the day we spotted two types of Monkey and a plethora of different species of bird and plant life, all in all, an engaging day!

We arrived in camp this afternoon feeling good and spent the remainder of our day drinking tea and shootin’ the breeze. Tomorrow we head to Barranco Camp at 12,800ft, the team is excited to be on the trail and ready to bite off another good chunk of Kilimanjaro!

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Giant Senacio Trees at Barranco Camp

February 7, 2017

Today the team is checking in from Barranco Camp at 12,800ft. After a relaxed breakfast in Umbwe Cave camp we hit the trail under clear skies. As we ascended through the Moorlands and into the low alpine zone, the day became cloudy and then quite rainy. The team handled the weather in stride and soon we found ourselves walking into our dining tent at Barranco Camp. We arrived at 2pm and spent a lazy afternoon playing cards and drinking tea, we’ve got a tough lifestyle up here…

Tomorrow we’ll take a acclimatization hike to Lava Tower then return to Barranco camp for a second night. The whole team is in high spirits and ready to keep chipping away at Kilimanjaro!

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Western Breach Wall at sunset from Barranco Camp

February 8, 2017

Hello from Barranco Camp,

Today the team hiked to Lava Tower at 15,000ft, which was a new high point for everyone. We took a nice long break there and enjoyed the good weather before making our way back to Barranco camp. We arrived to a tasty hot lunch, prepared by our fantastic local support staff.

Tomorrow we will make our way to Karanga Camp, our shot at the roof of Africa is rapidly approaching!

Approaching Lava Tower at 4600m/15,091’

 


Follow more updates on SMI’s Kilimanjaro 2017 team on our Facebook and Instagram @smiguides

SMI’s Kilimanjaro 2017 team arrives!

Aaaaand… SMI is off to start another adventure! This time, our strong team will be ascending Kilimanjaro, a dormant volcano and tallest peak in Africa, towering at an intimidating 19,341 feet. SMI guide extraordinaire Alex Barber, is leading this trip and has just updated on the team’s status:


This is Alex Barber checking in from SMI’s first 2017 Kilimanjaro Climb.

The team arrived late yesterday after some long flights and thankfully so did all of our luggage.
The team had a wonderful breakfast here at the Springlands hotel while getting acqainted with one another. After our leisurely breakfast, we took a stroll through the local farmlands, watching the vibrant people go about their daily work. During our stroll we spotted a wide variety of wildlife. After a mid-day siesta we went into the town of Moshi and walked the local markets, sampling fruit and perusing stores stacked full of trinkets.

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A hot day was broken in the afternoon by a cool breeze and we spent the remainder of our day doing gear checks and repacking our bags for the start of the climb tomorrow. We capped off the day with a delicous buffet style dinner pared with lively conversation.

Everyone is doing well here and we’re excited to start our climb of Kilimanjaro!


Follow more updates on SMI’s Kilimanjaro 2017 team on our facebook and instagram @smiguides

Aconcagua Team 2017 establishes Camp 3!

Aconcagua Team 2017 has carried their gear up to establish Camp 3 at 19,600′ and are sleeping there, tonight. And more excitingly, they are headed for the summit tomorrow!!

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Glacier near Camp 3!

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Hiking up to Camp 3!

Kurt reports that the team is, “We’re fed, hydrated & packed for an alpine start to attempt to reach the highest point in the Western Hemisphere! Weather is clear & calm :)”

Woooo! Let’s all send them the best wishes and looking forward to hearing about the summit!

 

 


Stay tuned for more updates as they continue their ascent! Follow more updates on our facebook and instagram @smiguides

Aconcagua Team 2017 reaches Camp 2!

The Aconcagua 2017 team slept at Camp 1 on Wednesday and carried loads up to Camp 2 (17,700′) today! They returned to Camp 1 and ate a yummy and well deserved pizza dinner.

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Kurt Wedberg (SMI Founder) treats himself to a pepperoni pizza at the end of the day

Camp 1 is also called “Plaza Canadá” where the team working on acclimatization to optimize their chances of summiting. They will move to Camp 2 tomorrow to sleep there. Check out their climb to Camp 2, today:

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Rock stars trekking up the grade with their packs!

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What a trooper!


Stay tuned for more updates as they continue their ascent! Follow more updates on our facebook and instagram @smiguides

The Aconcagua 2017 team starts their trip!

Yesterday, the Aconcagua 2017 team gathered in Mendoza, Argentina, and are prepared to start their climb to the summit of Aconcagua! Aconcagua is the tallest peak in the Southern and Western Hemisphere, sitting at 22,841 ft (6,961 m) in the Andes range.aconcagua


The team slowly trickled in from all the US, and even from Slovakia! They started their climb yesterday, on Jan 5, 2017.

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Cory Gaconnet, Martin Takac, Mark Griffith, Kurt Wedberg (SMI Founder), Alex Barber (SMI Guide), Barbara Falco, Cory Gaconnet, and Balmore Flores are psyched to start their climb!

Today, on Jan 6, 2017, by the end of the day, they made it to Pierdra Grande Camp at 10,620′! Their first day was spent trekking through a river filled valley which ended with a delicious authentic Argentinian chicken asado, cooked by their gauchos. Tomorrow, they move to base camp at 13,747′!

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Mules to help carry supplies along the river

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The team pushes through the beautiful valley on their first day.

Stay tuned for more updates as they continue their ascent! Follow more updates on our facebook and instagram @smiguides

 

 

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!

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)!

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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.

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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.

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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!”

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

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

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

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

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

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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!