Monday, November 22, 2010

Ecuador/Cotopaxi Prep - Alpine Training with Matt Schonwald!

Note from Stu in the USA office
FTA guide Matt Schonwald put together a great 2-day intensive prep course for one of our Ecuador Volcanoes Jan 5, 2011 members Sarah Hunter and his report on their snowy odyssey is below.

Matt offers single or multi-day intensive alpine training trips (in the Pacific Northwest) custom built for individuals or groups for any objective from Mont Blanc to 8000m peaks. With his background climbing and guiding the very coldest off peaks (Vinson, Denali and more) Matt is a perfect teacher for anyone interested in beefing up their skills and confidence before a big trip.

We offer similar prep trips on the east coast as well with so let us know how we can help you get ready for your next big adventure!

There are spaces still available for the Jan 5 Ecuador trip led by Brad Boehringer so let us know if you want to tromp up 4-5 volcanoes, east great food and practice your Spanish!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Going Deep in November with Sara Hunter

Hitting the 3rd week of November and my 'stache is taking on it's own personality, My competitive nature shines through as if I am actually training to win the best mo' in December when my friends get together check out each others 'stache. A few days ago, I had the pleasure to spend a few days on Mt Baker, aka Kulshan in November with Sara Hunter prepping for a climb on Cotopaxi in January. Our timing coordinated nicely with 3 feet of new snow that added 2 miles to the approach and some extra caloric boost to our hike in. After breaking trail for 4 1/2 hours, we camped at the historic Kulshan cabin site where Fred Beckey started his first ascent of the North Ridge many years ago. We hunkered down to a long, cold night with a quick skills session followed by Indian food and chocolate to put us to bed with full stomachs.

At sunrise, we enjoyed eggs, sausage and hash browns with fresh brewed coffee to warm ourselves up for the hike to the Coleman Glacier through thigh deep snow. 2 hours later we made it to Survey Rock and headed down to the ice to get our crampons dirty and hit something solid with our axes. This was harder then it sounds as 3+ feet of snow separated us from the glacier and all the visible blue was overhung ice.

Two hours later, we stomped some ice into enough cubes for a few cocktails and made good progress for Cotopaxi with Field Touring Alpine's Ecuador January trip. Sara revealed to me her hometown is in Maine and she loves cyclocross which made this overnight winter experience seem tropical in face of 5" of new snow overnight with temps in the teens. After breaking trail for a total 6 hours in 2 days, we roped up, self arrested and climbed enough ice to strike fear into Cotopaxi, good luck in January Sara!

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