The Alpamayo Expedition team led by SJMG Andrés Marin, Brad Johnson, and Alex Torres is doing great. Together with 6 guests, they are a solid team of climbers. Yesterday they started in on the Santa Cruz Valley Trail at Cashapampa (July 5), burros loaded with gear. They hiked to the Llama-Coral Camp yesterday where they made their first camp. We receive IN Reach Messages from the team daily. This afternoon they messaged that they arrived to Base Camp and everyone is doing super good. Base Camp is at (14,107 ft. or 4,300 m.) in the Arhuaycocha Gully, which overlooks the beautiful Lago Arhuaycocha. Glad to hear all is well, wishing them a wonderful journey in the Cordillera Blanca of the Peruvian Andes.
Kiener’s Route on the East Face of Long’s Peak is a classic alpine route in RMNP. It’s nice to break this up into a two day trip. The first day as an approach day to Chasm Lake and the second day the ascent of Kiener’s. Steve Johnson guided this awesome route in June in terrific conditions. The route begins with a 50 degree snowfield coined the Lamb’s Slide for 1,000 ft. An Alternative start to this route if the Lamb’s Slide is out of condition is to climb the Stetner’s Ledges. This brings climbers to the intersection at the Broadway Ledges, a 1,000 foot Traverse. At the end of this traverse is the Notch Couloir. Continuing up the couloir to the opposing wall is the beginning of Kiener’s Route. There are wonderful pitches of mixed ice, snow & rock, depending on conditions. After the exposed move past the chockstone is the super fun Kiener’s Chimney, a narrow passage of class 5 climbing. Then comes the Golden Stairway Section of really fun short pitches. At the top of the stairway climbers step around the Diamond to the summit, cruiser 2nd class hiking. From the summit climbers descend the North Face Cables Route on the edge of the Diamond to the Camel’s Hump to the gully and down to Chasm View Lake. To do Kiener’s in a day will take 15 + hours.
The day Steve climbed this route in June they had phenomenal conditions and great weather. It was such an enjoyable climb that Steve’ guest did not want it to end, even after 18 hours!
If you are interested in climbing Kiener’s Route on Long’s Peak, or any other alpine objective in RMNP, give us a call to discuss the options.
Kiener’s Route on Long’s Peak is a perfect climb to prepare for big alpine objectives such as Alaska’s Ruth Gorge Ham N’ Eggs Route.
AMY’S BLOG ABOUT ROCK CLIMBING
I have to admit I was initially very nervous about rock climbing in Durango. I have always had a paralyzing fear of heights! I am also a 47 year old mother of two and am admittedly out of shape! But, I am also normally up for an adventure and like to keep up with things to do in Durango. So, so when San Juan Mountain Guides offered to take us climbing, I responded with a hesitant “sure!”
We met our guide, Eric, in the morning just before 8am, at their meeting place at The Rock Lounge in town. He was ready for us, with helmets, harnesses and climbing shoes! After grabbing our gear, he drove us on the 5-minute drive to the edge of town, to X-Rock! We parked and did the 10-minute, easy hike to our climbing spot. It was beautiful (and a little intimidating for me)!! Eric got to work getting the safety lines ready, while discussing climbing strategy with us.
My friend went first (thank goodness!), and she made it almost to the very top! Eric was a pro, talking her through it all and encouraging her every step of the way! When it was my turn, Eric assured me that safety is their top priority; he sensed that I was terrified! But ironically, once I began climbing, all of my fears disappeared! Instead, I was focused on where to place my feet and hands for the next hold. It was challenging to use my leg strength, arm strength, and my core muscles! Eric gave me pointers that really helped, and I was so proud when I, too, made it to almost the very top! The view of the Animas Valley down below was so beautiful! Coming down was just as fun, as I ‘bounced’ all the way down. Eric was impressed with my skills, and I felt more empowered than I have in years!
My first thought, after making it down, was this is a great family-friendly activity in Durango, and that I wanted to take my husband and kids! It was so much better than the indoor climbing walls we’ve done a few times before. To be out in nature, with REAL rock cliffs to conquer—there is nothing like the feeling!
On my second climb, it was a bit more challenging, and I made it about half way up, and was just as proud of myself! My friend made it up all the way on the second time, supported by encouraging cheers from Eric and me.
After our half-day climbing adventure, we hiked back down to the vehicle, and after Eric drove us back to our car, we went for a celebratory beer and lunch at Brew Pub & Kitchen, one of our many favorite local breweries, and talked about when could go climbing with Eric again!
Maybe next time, we will advance from the beginner climb to the more advanced one. I for one, am up to the challenge! (note: when you go, remember to bring hiking shoes, clothes with a breathable fabric, and a small backpack with 2 water bottles and a light snack). Thank you, to Eric and San Juan Mountain Guides, for not only helping me with my fear of heights, but for one of the best days ever, out in nature, rock climbing in Durango – our own little rock climbing paradise!
With the attainment of our permit to Rocky Mountain National Park, our season has begun and we are super excited to share some trip reports with you. Please feel free to call us to discuss our programs and possible climbing objectives in RMNP.
It was a fat winter and spring in the park, that made for outstanding conditions on the Dreamweaver Route on Mt. Meeker. Steve Johnson, SJMG lead RMNP guide has climbed Dreamweaver more than a dozen times. He said by far the conditions on May 29th this year were the best he has ever seen, in full ice and perfect alpine neve conditions. “It was absolutely wonderful climbing the entire way,” states Johnson.
Dreamweaver comes into climbing shape in the spring & fall with the melt freeze cycle to create quality ice and firm snow. Best described as a mixed alpine route, it climbs through the major couloir formation to the left of the Flying Buttress on Mt. Meeker. Highlights of the route are the great gully system that eventually turns into a neat chimney, in some conditions there are rock or mixed pitches that are really fun, and the route gets better as you ascend. The top out is a 4th class ridge that brings you to the summit.
Steve’s guest Eric had a wonderful time, “It was a very enjoyable climb in perfect conditions. I learned a lot. Steve didn’t just guide me up the route, he instructed, he taught me skills, and he made it a super great learning experience.”
Other great routes on Mt. Meeker include the Flying Buttress & Darkstar. There are lots of great early season ice in RMNP, so if you are interested in getting a jump start on ice climbing in the fall, call us to set up a climb with Steve.
The second trip to the Moose’s Tooth is now finished. They had a great time in the Ruth Gorge and a fun climb of Ham n’ Eggs. It was a great season for SJMG in Alaska. Thanks to Andrés and Elías for conducting fun & safe climbs. Call us if you are interested in joining us in the future for an Alaska Expedition. Cheers!
Andrés, Owen, and Will are currently resting on the Root Canal Glacier. Yesterday was a huge day for them. They successfully climbed the Mooses’s Tooth formation via Ham n’ Eggs. Andrés checked in with the In Reach late last night with the news of their accomplishment. Great climb guys! Stay tuned for more news from them.
Here is a recap of Elías de Andrés Martos’s recent expedition to the Moose’s Tooth to climb Ham n’ Eggs.
Our trip to the Moose’s Tooth was a memorable climbing experience! There’s nothing like a motivated, competent and fun partner to undertake such a challenge. Brian, who spent the winter training hard on our fantastic southwest Colorado ice, came up to the task, and crushed it on Moose’s Tooth.
We flew into the Root Canal on the best weather day possible, and soon after setting up camp, we were contemplating climbing that very night. With decent forecast in the AK Range one needs to take advantage of any possible window. And so we launched! At 4:45am or so, we started our approach. A light cover of new snow had fallen on that night, and after a few pitches on the route proper, visibility became sparse, and a few sluffs added weight to our decision to take it as an exploratory day, and turn back to camp.
Soon after a deserved nap, the now obvious materialization of a high pressure system, was giving us hopes of trying again at night. A bit earlier, this time we left the comfort of our tents at 4:30am, on a way more bitter cold morning, filled with stars in the sky, we were now sure weather wouldn’t be an issue. With the lower part scouted the day before, our progress to the base of the crux pitch only took 2h from our tent. Moderate rock and snow climbing, preceded a couple dozen feet of rotten “snice”, topped by a slightly overhung mushroom of ice. A laughter and an out loud “that was fun” from Brian, assured me the quality of my partner at this point.
The coming up section, or middle third of the route, proved very enjoyable; narrower steps of nearly vertical, short sections of ice, followed by moderate snow were just pure joy, all while entrenched in the narrow granite of the Moose’s Tooth, and with the breathtaking views of the great Ruth Glacier and surrounding peaks when we turned our heads around.
A couple more hours and we were be at the Col, with expansive views in every direction over the Range. A short break behind a serac, parkas on for the remainder, and the summit smiles wanted to pop on our faces already, we knew that the corniced ridge would be the last bit of terrain to manage before an incredible reward.
Denali, Hunter, Huntington, Dickey, Bear Tooth… and countless other peaks were all visible from the top. With no weather to rush us back, we enjoyed a few extra minutes of pictures and high fives. Shortly after, a careful down climb preceding hours of rappelling, would be our uneventful descent, only interrupted to peel layers off as we dropped elevation, and to snack while the views of the surrounding walls changed with the new lower elevation.
Some 14h after our start in the morning, ropes were being pulled, and another 20 min walk to camp urged us to discuss the most important part of the day; “what would be for dinner?” The answer was clear; “steak is for dinner!!!
Come climb in the AK Range with SJMG!!!
Elias had a great trip in the Root Canal Glacier to climb the Moose’s Tooth. They are safely back in Talkeetna celebrating. Stay tuned for a recap of their trip!
Our second AK expedition is en route to Talkeetna today. Andrés Marin is accompanied by two great guests, they are planning to fly into the Root Canal in the next day or so. Stay tuned on their progress.
Elias and his partner had a successful climb of the Moose’s Toothe formation via the Ham n’Eggs route yesterday. He informed us via In Reach message that the weather was perfect and the summit views were awesome. They completed ascent and descent back to camp in just over 14 hours. Way to go guys! Congrats! Now the team is back at camp planning next move. Stay tuned.
Our first trip to the Ruth Gorge in the Alaska Range is in progression. Elías de Andrés Martos is there with a solid partner. They flew onto the Root Canal Glacier two days ago. Their plan is to climb the Moose’s Tooth formation today, weather & conditions allowing. The ultra classic route Ham n’ Eggs (V,5.9,AI 4) is 2,800 feet of technical alpine ice/mixed climbing.