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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!


David Schucker and Bryan Miller fresh off the plane in Tanzania


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.



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!



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

SMI Kilimanjaro 2017 reaches the summit!


February 11, 2017

Today the whole team reached the Roof of Africa at 19,341 ft! We left a blustery and cold Barafu camp at midnight and surprisingly climbed through the wind a few hours into our summit push. By daybreak we hit Stella point, the crater rim, and at 620am we stood at Uhuru peak, the summit!



Kilimanjaro Summit #1

After the obligatory summit photos, glacier photos and high-fives, we started our descent back to Barafu for a tasty hot lunch. By Mid-day we were packed and hiking down to Mweka camp at 10,000ft, the team had some sore legs but powered through. Tomorrow we have a short hike out to the Mweka gate where we will sign out of the park and receive our well earned summit certificates!

Kilimanjaro Summit #2

February 12, 2017

Today, our last day, we awoke from a well earned night of sleep! Ate breakfast, packed up and hiked out to Mweka Gate. The entire team felt strong, a result of a good nights sleep and the thick air at 10,000ft. We made great time down to the road, received our summit certicates from the park and jumped in our van. We spent the afternoon at the Springlands hotel, drinking beer poolside, celebrating our successful climb of Kilimanjaro!

Stay tuned in as next up is Kurt Wedburg and crew hiking the Northern Circuit route up Kilimanjaro! Follow on our Facebook and Instagram @smiguides

SMI Kilimanjaro 2017 Team makes for their summit bid!

SMI guide, Alex Barber reports back from their climb. They make for the summit tomorrow!


February 9, 2017

Today the team hiked to Karanga Camp at 13,200ft. The day started off tackling the Barranco Wall, a 850ft headwall above Barranco Camp. Enjoyable scrambling lead to a beautiful traverse of Kilimanjaro. We were met at Karanga Camp by another fantastic hot lunch, fried chicken and french fries. Pretty sure the entire team may well put on weight with such great food.

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The sun sets on Karanga Camp


The subalpine moonscape headed up to Karanga Camp

Tomorrow we’ll hike to Barafu Camp, our high camp at 15,300ft. We’re now well acclimatized and in high spirits, a strong position for our summit push tomorrow night!


Helichrysum flower at 14000’. This flower is nicknamed the “Everlasting Flower”


Leaving Karanga Camp to Barafu Camp!

February 10, 2017

Hello from High Camp,

Today we took the short journey to Barafu Camp, about 2 miles / 2000ft of gain. This short day is nice, as Barafu Camp is more of a long break than a “Camp”. As we’ll be getting up before Midnight to have “breakfast” or more aptly named “midnight snack” before leaving for the summit.



Finding good handholds and climbing Barranco Wall


Porters approaching the last hill up to Barafu Camp

A blustery wind picked up this afternoon as we played Hearts and drank tea. Over dinner the team discussed our summit day and enjoyed a summit song, sang by our local guide Godlisten. Welp, tonight is the night, everyone is feeling strong and motivated. So tonight, we attempt Uhuru peak!


Sunset at Barafu Camp


Clearing afternoon clouds over Kilimanjaro from Barafu Camp


The night sky decorated with countless stars over Kilimanjaro on summit night

– Alex and team



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

SMI’s Aconcagua 2017 Team wraps up their expedition

The SMI Aconcagua 2017 Team reached their hard earned summit on Wednesday, January 18th, 2017. They were overwhelmed with their accomplishment 🙂

"One of the most rewarding feelings for me is sharing a summit photo after a hard earned climb to the highest point in the Western Hemisphere" ~SMI Founder Kurt Wedberg

“One of the most rewarding feelings for me is sharing a summit photo after a hard earned climb to the highest point in the Western Hemisphere” ~SMI Founder Kurt Wedberg

Kurt Wedberg snaps a picture of his Suunto watch, revealing the reason behind why the air feels so thin on the highest peak in the Western Hemisphere.


On their way down, the team negotiates the 7’+ tall penitentes.


A couple of fully loaded Osprey Packs at 19600′ ready for the descent from Aconcagua High Camp! The pack can hold the weight, but the team definitely had their work cut out for them, getting these down!


The team pauses at their last bridge crossing right before reaching the trail head to revel in their accomplishment. 2 arduous weeks later, they summited the tallest peak outside of Asia. Such an amazing feat!!

Follow more updates on our upcoming international and Sierra trips via Facebook and Instagram @smiguides

SMI’s Aconcagua 2017 team reaches the summit!

In the wee hours of the morning, the Aconcagua 2017 team got an alpine start for their summit bid. Kurt reports, “With a beautiful night sky displaying the Southern Cross. SMI’s Aconcagua team is taking off for the summit!”

Summit views!

Summit views!

And sure enough, this morning, January 18, 2017, the team reached the summit, “Summit success! Congratulations to SMI’s Aconcagua team on a successful climb to the top of the Western Hemisphere!”

Stay tuned for more pictures as the team descends and returns to civilization! Well deserved hot showers and feasting await them after this nearly 2 week arduous climb.



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.


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:


Rock stars trekking up the grade with their packs!


What a trooper!

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

Aconcagua team makes it to Base Camp!

“The Aconcagua team looking strong successfully reach Base Camp at 13,747′ after a 3-day trek! Beautiful weather here. Happy Sunday Everyone!” -Kurt Wedberg (SMI Founder)


Morning light on the peaks above base camp


On Sunday, as Kurt reported, the team reached Base Camp (13,747′) after 3 days of trekking. Here, they will stay for 2 days while embarking on acclimatization hikes. On Jan 11, 2017, they’ll set off for Camp 1 at 16,700′!


Their shadows as they trek through the Relinchos Valley!


View of Aconcagua from the trek up to Base Camp


A ranger at Base Camp giving the team their trash bags. They will carry these trash bags up the mountain and return the loaded bags to them when they descend.

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.


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′!


Mules to help carry supplies along the river


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



Sierra Gem – Bear Creek Spire


The beautiful Bear Creek Spire

Lately, it seems, our guides have been spending a lot of time climbing Bear Creek Spire. With multiple classic routes of varying levels, BCS is a beauty of a peak, nestled in the Little Lakes Valley of the High Sierra between Bishop and Mammoth.


SMI Guide, Ross Hill, leading a pitch on the North Arete

The two most popular routes on BCS are the North Arete, a 1200′ climb rated 5.8 for its most challenging pitch, with most pitches 5.5 or lower, and the Northeast Ridge, rated 5.5. The approach to both involves a very gradual trail over about 3.5 miles, followed by some talus hopping and off-trail navigation for about 2 more. You will likely contend with a snow field at the base, depending on time of year.

We are happy to take you on a climb of Bear Creek Spire this season, if you’re inspired by these photos! If you’re in good mountain shape, the Ridge could be turned around in a 2 day trip. We’d recommend a 3 day trip for the Arete, but 2 days might be appropriate for a strong climber.

Client, Ben Novak, climbing the Northeast Ridge



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!