Off Yonder – Adventure Travel Stories - Seeing the world for what it is

Around here… it’s Rainier!
Mt. Rainier, Washington, United States

It was awesome to get back to the Great Pacific Northwest to climb Mt. Rainier again. This is my third summit of Rainier and it was a beautiful day on the top. My previous climbs have been as a private climber so this was my first time going with a guide outfit like RMI Expeditions. Since we had some first time climbers with us, our first day was Mountaineering School. We hiked up to a snowfield and practiced self arrest, walking in crampons and other mountaineering skills. The next day we hiked all our gear up to Camp Muir at 10,000 ft. After lying down for a stint from 6pm to 11pm we geared up and made a push for the summit.

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Ausangante Trek
Nevado Ausangate, Peru

Our main objective in the two days we were back in Cusco was to get ready for the Ausangate trip. This included getting plenty of rest and getting our gear together. I needed to rent plastic mountaineering boots, crampons, an ice axe and a harness. Martin found Alfredo, a guide with Andean Destinations, who had everything I needed including a set of Asolo boots that were well worn. Nay, beaten – these boots had chunks of foam missing, delaminating Velcro, packed out liners and they stunk to high heaven. But they fit perfectly.

Dave and Martin went shopping to get our rations for the trip sorted out and now that the trip has passed, I can say they made some excellent choices. Though, most of the credit goes to our trip cook, Jose. I noticed he did some shopping along the way on the trek. Picking up fresh veggies and fruits from farm stands along the way and whipping it all up into multi-course gourmet meals each time we sat down to eat.

Instead of departing Cusco early in the morning as planned, we left late the night before for two reasons. First, the solstice celebrations were on the cusp of jamming up the city and second, the rumors of a farmers strike that we started hearing about in Patacancha were getting louder. They have been known to roll massive boulders out into the middle of the road in the wee hours of the morning just to jam things up to make their point. We wanted to avoid this so we made a late night escape out of the city to the small town of Tinki.

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Peruvian Peaks
Ausangate Trek, Peru

I took a deep breath of the thin 5,500m (18,000 ft) air, scanned the beautiful scene of jagged rocks, sparkling white snow and deep blue glacier ice around me and slowly became more comfortable in my thought that we would not reach the peak. This is always a hard decision for any climber to make but when it’s the right thing to do, pushing against it can lead to very uncomfortable and sometimes disastrous situations.

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Climbing with a Legend
Wolgan Valley, Blue Mountains, Australia

After this weekend, I was still on high for the week. It was great to meet and go climbing in the Wolgan Valley with Greg and Ben. Two guys who just live life as it comes to them, laid back, easy going, and super nice. I hope to be climbing with them again soon. Greg […]

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