Its been a super busy and adventure filled past 7 months of mountain guiding for me since I left my home base of Crested Butte, Colorado this past May. It has been a path of much traveling to work in, and explore new places & environments, and to forge new alignments and relationships with many respected mountain guiding companies along the way, broadeneing the scope of places and venues in which myself as Lotus Alpine Adventures can operate and guide in the upcoming future.
Rainier with AAI_2015-8
I started the Summer guiding season with a Late May / Early June stint taking folks up a very stormy and somewhat unusually technical climb of Mount Rainier for Alpine Ascents International out of Seattle, WA. It was a good start to the Summer alpine climbing and guiding season, as a low winter snow year in the Cascades made for some exciting and challenging early season guiding on what can sometimes be a straight forward and easier Disappointment Cleaver route up Mount Rainier.
Ingraham Flats Camp on Rainier with AAI_2015
I had a relatively brief but enjoyable time, getting to ‘Team Guide’ with a great staff of guides at AAI, and to be able to plug into their Cascades and Rainier climbing programs as a new, but experienced IFMGA Guide for them. We had all sorts of weather on our climbs, but I was able to summit every trip I was on, and was also able to help architect an 80% summit success rate of our guests on the trips I was a part of. It was a quick hit on a beautiful and enjoyable mountain for me, and I hope to be able to be back on Mount Rainier in a similar fashion in the future.
Sunrise on summit day on Rainier with AAI_2015
After my short stint on Mt Rainier, I immediately hoofed it down south for Irwin Guides and my 5th expedition of guiding alpine climbing to Bolivia and the Cordillera Real. Mount Rainier is a great warm-up and first step, and proved to be good acclimatization training, before taking the same type of snow and ice alpine climbing to the bigger and more majestic peaks of the South American Andes.
Approach into Condorirri Base Camp 2015
Bolivia is a country I’ve come to know and love over the past 7 years, since my first trip down there for Crested Butte Mountain Guides in 2011. This years trip was no different, with a small group and a familiar itinerary that saw us enjoy successful acclimatization, and successfully summitting 5 peaks above 5,000M in just 14 days. After a day of rest from travel and orientation to the steep and high streets of La Paz, Bolivia at 3800M, we headed off into the beautiful Condorirri Range for 5 days, with a cook, some mules, and some local friends. Over the course of the 5-days at our base camp on the shores of the beautiful ‘Black Lake’ we practiced glacier travel skills and enjoyed successful climbs of both Pyramide Blanca (5230M / 17,158′) & the aesthetic Pequeno Alpamayo (5,370M / 17,618′).
After a brief return to La Paz for a day of rest, recuperation, and re-packing, we headed off for 3 more days to climb the beautiful summit pyramid of Huayna Potosi (6088M / 19,991′). At just a touch under 20,000′, and arguably the easiest access to climb a 6000M peak on the planet, climbing Huayna Potosi is a great experience. An easy Jeep approach from the city streets, refugios (mountain huts) to stay at along the climb, an interesting and exciting climb at high altitude, and a quick descent back to La Paz, all make for a super enjoyable and challenging climb and a great capstone summit experience for someone’s first trip to climbing in Bolivia and/or technical at high altitude.
Pequeno Alpamayo SW Ridge, B & W, Bolivia 2015
Although I always have a hard time forcing myself to leave the wonderful people, culture, and inspirational mountains of Bolivia, this year it wasn’t quite as hard, as I was headed off directly to my next new mountain venue for guiding of the Summer season, and my 3rd such place in less then 1 month….The Tetons of Jackson Hole, Wyoming for Exum Mountain Guides…..(to be continued).
Charquini self portrait, Boliviia 2015
— Jayson Simons-Jones (Lotus Alpine Adventures)