Friday, December 19, 2014

First Ski Runs of the Season

I dropped off the family at work and school and took off for the River Run parking lot, and was among the first 100 or so cars there. I slipped on my boots and hiked down to the gondola station. Along the way I ran into Matt from Marketing who asked me a bunch of questions as we walked together to the bottom of the gondola, some of which we had a good laugh about.

I hit the bathroom one last time and then into the non-existent gondola line. Yeah, it was scan and board. No waiting at all at 8:45-ish. On the way up I rode with a professional couple who chatted about many things, most interestingly about my apparent color coordination. Red boots, pants, parka, and accents on my black OR gloves. Sadly, they pointed out, my pink goggles were an affront to all that is good and right with the world.

That pic says it all. Beautiful corduroy snow, freshly groomed. Gorgeous to a normally front-side skier like myself. My feet had grown quite a bit over the past few years due to my higher mileage running and old age I suppose. My boots were a bit cantankerous, if we should be so anthropomorphic. I had to stop and adjust them a few times. Otherwise I cruised Schoolmarm making the most beautiful knees-together turns I'd made in years. On my first run of the season no less.

At the bottom I hopped into the empty Singles line and got on the 3rd gondola after scanning. The trip up was way too long, but the run was very much worth it. I had arranged my day so that I could ski for about an hour, and the hour was up, so I booked it to the car and home, glowing from the morning workout.

Speaking of workout, there's the stats from my Suunto AMbit 2S HR Sport Watch - Red - remember, Red. Red. So beautifully accessorized, am I...

And my phone case is pink, to match the goggles.

Marketing Matt asked how many days I skied last year - 30. He asked how many this year.

"I hope to get in another at least 30. Hopefully more."

You might be wondering what this has to do with Seven Summits Quest? It's among the best cross-training exercises out there, IMHO. You're also training to be cold and miserable and alternate between periods of freezing inactivity and overheated exertion. What better training for Alpine Climbing than skiing?

We can explore that later, but for now, I'm looking forward to a winter of excitement and fun while training.

Remember, Kilian Jornet is a Ski-Mo competitor, as well as an Ultra Runner and Sky Runner. He's on Aconcagua today, as I type this, aiming for the record there. I wish him well.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Seven Summits Quest Series on Amazon

The Seven Summits Quest Series on Amazon has been a persistently good seller from among all my books since I published the first one, Elbrus, My Waterloo.

Seven Summits Quest Series Click to check it out on Amazon.

Note that the book "Die Trying" by Bo Parfet comes up in this search. This book was instrumental in my decision to pursue the Seven Summits Quest and name my series. His experiences on Carstensz foreshadowed mine in several details.

Here are a few of the many 5-Star reviews:

I love the way this author writes! I suspect he keeps people in stitches and on the edge of their seats when he relates his adventures in real life. I love how he can be wry and make fun of things all while being serious and sharing real information. -- Orizaba

An unbelievable account that had me giggling, gasping, and in awe over what Mr. Miske went through. He made it easy to read for someone who knows absolutely nothing about climbing, I appreciated that. (Although I had to Google what "scree" was. Haha) Britney Spears makes an appearance, also some witty commentary that made me just shake my head at what life is like over there. Holy snot! It's an amazing story. Finished it in one sitting while sacrificing sleep. I had to see him home and safe first. :) -- Carstensz

This is really an excellent and enjoyable read. It's a detailed account of the author's attempt at climbing one of the Seven Summits. It's easier to write about one's successes but not always easy to put your failures out there for the world to see. The main point, I believe, is that "failure" isn't necessarily a bad thing. He didn't summit, but he got to experience things that the other 99% of us only dream about. Its pretty remarkable. Recommended for anyone who is considering taking on a mountain of this proportion, there is a lot of useful tidbits in there. Look forward to seeing "Owning Elbrus" from this author someday. -- Elbrus, My Waterloo

I read this an immediately turned around and had my pre-teen boys read it as well. Interspersed with the adventure itself are some great survival in the cold techniques that will make their Klondike outing with the scouts safer. I love that the author chases his dreams with a passion and shared the experience with a friend who was kind of a newbie at this. Their friendship also transpires through the book. -- Elbrus Race 2013

Help me with Volume 5 - South America CLICK HERE

Seven Summits Quest - Volume 5 - South America - Kickstarter Trailer from Charles Miske on Vimeo.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Nevado Ojos del Salado Trailer #3 on Vimeo

The Everest of Volcanoes - Kickstarter Trailer #3 from Charles Miske on Vimeo.

Video on Vimeo:

The Everest of Volcanoes, at nearly 23,000' in elevation Nevado Ojos del Salado, in the Atacama Desert along the border of Argentina and Chile is one of the last wildest places in the world. Help me create this documentary of my epic athletic endurance challenge as I hike 42 miles unsupported through a barren wasteland to the summit of the highest volcano on Earth. Then return along that same 42 miles. I'll produce an 80-90 minute documentary to record this beautiful and quickly disappearing remote region to share with the world. Check it out on Kickstarter -

$35 Reward 

... is a streaming version of the final project video release as well as an autographed DVD of it. I'll also post links on Facebook and Twitter thanking you for your contribution. It's a heck of a deal and a great way to promote your business with my combined 11,000 followers on Facebook and Twitter.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Aconcagua Logistics-Only Expedition Itinerary

If you've been wanting to go to Aconcagua, but have been scared away by high prices, this is the trip for you.

If you've been wanting to test your own organizational and team skills in a high altitude foreign expedition, this is the trip for you.

If you are strong, fit, and have your own gear, this is the trip for you.

With this logistics-only option, you still get the benefits of the full support trip down low, but once you leave base camp at Plaza de Mulas, you're able to climb this mountain on your own. You can truly say that you earned it.

Plaza de Mulas Base Camp on Aconcagua

Itinerary for the Logistics-Only Aconcagua Expedition:

Day 1: Arrive Mendoza, transport to hotel.
Day 2: Obtain permit, groceries, transport to Penitentes, pack mule bags
Day 3: Transport to Horcones trail head. Trek (6 miles) to Confluencia. Check in with Rangers.
Day 4: Local acclimatization hike. Overnight in Confluencia.
Day 5: Trek (10 miles) to Plaza de Mulas. Check in with Rangers. Overnight at PdM.
Day 6: Local acclimatization hike. Check in with Rangers. Overnight at PdM.
Day 7: Ferry loads to Camp 1. Overnight at PdM.
Day 8: Ferry loads to Camp 1. Overnight at PdM.
Day 9: Move to Camp 1. Overnight Camp 1.
Day 10: Ferry loads to Camp 2. Overnight Camp 1.
Day 11: Ferry loads to Camp 2. Overnight Camp 1.
Day 12: Move to Camp 2. Overnight Camp 2.
Day 13: Ferry loads to Camp 3. Overnight Camp 2.
Day 14: Move to Camp 3. Overnight Camp 3.
Day 15: Summit Day #1. Overnight Camp 2 or 3.
Day 16: Summit Day #2. Overnight Camp 2 or 3.
Day 17: Descend to PdM. Overnight PdM.
Day 18: Descend (16 miles) to Horcones. Transport to Penitentes. Overnight Penitentes.
Day 19: Arrive Mendoza. Overnight hotel.
Day 20: Depart Mendoza.

If you want more information, including services with the package and the amazingly low prices, please check it out on my Adventure Blog Page CLICK HERE or make deposit below if you're ready to go.

$400.00 Deposit Due Now. Pay with my PayPal merchant account, no fees to you. Pay with Credit Card, PayPal or E-check. Your deposit reserves your space on this amazing yet economical alternative to Aconcagua that lets you take more responsibility for your own success.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Everest of Volcanoes, Video Play

Please check it out on Kickstarter HERE and help me share the vision of this, one of the last wildest places on Earth. Together we can preserve the beauty and majesty. Thanks!

Sunlight on Aconcagua, also in Argentina and one of the Seven Summits
If you'd like to see the previous trailer, please check below:

Friday, November 28, 2014

The Everest of Volcanoes

Ojos del Salado, the "Everest of Volcanoes" in the Atacama Desert. Documentary exploring one of the last of the wildest places on Earth
How would you like to travel vicariously along on a solo extreme endurance challenge through a barren desert to the summit of the highest volcano on Earth?
At just under 23,000' high, Ojos del Salado is that volcano. On the eastern shoulder below the summit cone is the highest lake on Earth at just under 21,000'. It's deep within the Atacama Desert, one of the driest and most inhospitable on Earth, and requires a 40 mile trek just to arrive at the base of the mountain. When the climbing is done, it's a long 40 mile trek back out to the nearest highway. Along that apparently empty wasteland will be found some of the most beautiful scenery in the world, yet it's seen by only a handful of people in a decade, let alone a year.

Remote regions such as this one are vanishing all too quickly in our modern urban and cultivated world as civilization and climate change drastically affect our wilderness areas. Virtually forgotten and unknown landscapes such as this deserve our attention and observation to preserve at least the memory of what was once there. Hopefully efforts to document them can help us seek to protect and preserve them for future generations to enjoy and possibly tread lightly within.
You have the opportunity to come along as my companion in spirit as I run, walk and hike this rugged trail. My past skills and experience as an indie and commercial filmmaker will be put to the test as I set out to document this amazing journey so that I can share it with you, and the rest of the world. You can own a piece of it on an autographed DVD.

Between February and May of 2015 I intend to make a documentary of the trek all the way to the summit in a solo unsupported athletic endeavor of epic proportions. I will be recording it from the beginning to obtain key shots to edit into an outstanding production.
  • Planning
  • Training
  • Organizing
  • Fundraising
  • Travel
  • Trekking
  • Climbing
  • Return to Civilization
Mountain Film Festival Entry
Upon my return to my home at nearly 10,000' of elevation in Colorado I will create a first draft edit to present to an outsourced editor to create a project worthy of competition in a Mountain and/or Extreme Endurance Athletics Genre Film Festival.
Outcome of Project
The outcome of this project is a completed 80-90 minute video of current film festival quality ready for acceptance. The end product to the consumer, and to you, my Kickstarter supporters, will be a streaming video of this project and/or an autographed DVD.

What are you paying for?
This project requires that I arrange for the acquisition of additional lightweight expedition-worthy video and charging equipment. It requires that I transport it to Argentina by air and to the road crossing hut near Fiambala (nearest town) by ground transportation.
I will use that equipment along the trek to record my progress and any noteworthy events that occur, including accident, incident, injury, weather and other hazards that would appeal to a broad documentary audience. Additionally I hope for success, serendipitous moments and awesomely gorgeous scenery.
Upon my return to the States with the equipment, the video files will need to be transferred to an editing computer and backed up, then sorted and arranged into usable clips.
At that time an experienced editor will be brought in to assist in creating a finished product worthy of entry into internationally acclaimed film festivals and other regional mountain area fests.
Finally, the streaming host service will be selected and DVD's created, with the press and media packages required for entry into the film festivals being applied to.
Initial estimates are that $30,000 will sufficiently cover the expenses listed for acquisition, transportation, and editing, to create a festival worthy product in the period between February and May 2015. 
What do you get out of it?
At the very least knowing that you have contributed to a unique expedition documentary. You also get social media exposure for yourself or your business, and depending on your contribution, various credits, pages, and bios on my websites and listings in the movie credits. 

Most of you would have access to the streaming version of the final product, and some would receive an autographed DVD. Finally some could have the opportunity for a private pre-premiere screening, catered in Summit County CO (not including transportation and lodging/dining).
Ultimately though, you'll have the opportunity to live an extreme endurance challenge vicariously through the production of this documentary that you can watch at your leisure without even leaving your home or office.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Aconcagua Full Service Package February 2015

Aconcagua Trek and Climb

Take the challenge today. Step up your mountaineering expedition game and come with me to Aconcagua to test yourself at nearly 7,000 meters. This could be your next step on the way to Everest or Denali. Join me for one of the most amazing adventures in the world.

NEW! Logistics Only Package Available at an amazingly low price CLICK HERE

Full Service February 2-21 2015

  • Hotels and transportation in Mendoza and Penitentes
  • Assistance at Permit Office – Must purchase own Permit (about $500)
  • Mule transportation for baggage/gear (weight limit for bags)
  • Meals and lodging at Confluencia and Plaza de Mulas
  • Cook own meals (provided) above Base Camp
  • 3:1 client:guide ratio
  • $3450 US Due by Dec 20th
  • $400 deposit to reserve your expedition
  • Pay in full by Dec 10th for $50 savings – only $3400
  • Get a group of 3 or more together for additionally discounted rate
  • Detailed itinerary available circa Tuesday Nov 25

I'll be posting a more complete itinerary next week after the holidays, but this is one of the best staffed and best served expeditions available on Aconcagua. Everything except a few meals in Mendoza and Penitentes is included. Oh, and the permit, sorry but government regulations are that you must acquire your own climbing permit, approximately $500 at the time of this writing.

Please fill out this form if you want me to rush you more information about Aconcagua:

You can also find information HERE

Monday, November 17, 2014

Cotopaxi & Chimborazo Trek & Climb - Book Now Reserve Your Spot

Booking will be closing soon. November 20th is the last day to book your spot on the Ecuador Adventure Trek and Climb.
Illiniza Sur in Ecuador

January 9-22 2015

  • Acclimatization Trek to the summit of Cotopaxi 5.897 m / 19,300′
  • New Higher Success Route on Chimborazo 6,268 m / 20,564′ 

Supporting Ecuador Sustainable Tourism
  • We'll be using local porters, drivers, cooks and camp staff
  • We'll be using local English Speaking guides
  • We'll be using a local company for our support in Ecuador
  • Most of the money stays in Ecuador to support the economy
More Details CLICK HERE

$400.00 Deposit Reserves Your Spot
Pay now on my PayPal Merchant Account with Credit Card or eCheck
Glacier Climbing in Ecuador

Schedule for Payment

  • Be sure to read CANCELLATION POLICY
  • $400 Deposit Due upon registration
  • Balance due 30 days before trip – December 10 2014 ($2600)
  • Price was $3200 NOW $3000! for this adventure trip as listed
  • Similar trips including Chimbo are $3500 and UP!
  • Groups of 2 or more qualify for an even more discounted rate*
* - After all members of group pay deposit group leader sends me email and I'll deduct $120 each from the balance due from each group member.

Register for newsletter to the right to learn about  upcoming trips:

  • Aconcagua
  • Everest Base Camp
  • Island Peak (Nepal)
  • Kilimanjaro
  • Elbrus
  • And More!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Crazy Sponsor Photos on Carstensz

In one of my best-selling books "Carstensz, Stone Age to Iron Age" I mentioned that the guides essentially abandoned us to work out our own 2000' rappel down the sleet and rain slicked limestone cliffs littered with ratty knotted frayed rope. Or something that passed for rope.

It appears as though a guide has been sponsored by their alma mater. Got this off a social post from one. At least they had better weather.

If you want to read the exciting story that I have told at dozens of meetings for enthralled audiences, here it is. By the way, it qualifies for Prime and Unlimited on Kindle if you have either.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Adventure Travel Programs for 2015

After a long time negotiating with my foreign associates I'll start taking USA clients in some of the worlds best mountaineering locations for trekking, mountaineering, climbing and just general adventurous fun.

At the time of this writing I have an 

  • Ecuador Adventure Trek and Climb Jan 9-22 
  • Aconcagua Trek and Climb tentative Feb 1-21 

Get More Info and Take an Adventure Vacation

Aconcagua Base Camp

If you want more information about these you can check out my other Seven Summits Quest Website CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO

Or if you want me to email info to you about all my climbs and adventures coming up fill out the form to the right and I'll totally keep you in the loop.

Let's go have an adventure together!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Clothes Fit for a Pro

I am fairly particular about clothing for my mountaineering adventures. I have a fairly intimate knowledge of my body structure, how long my arms and legs are. The diameter of my chest and waist and hips. I am fairly particular about how clothing fits when my arms are over my head pulling, as in ice climbing. Same for the girth of my thighs while high stepping and stemming.

Trail Running Clothing

Some clothing manufacturers have series that accommodate some of these difference with clothing series, such as

  • climbers
  • runners
  • fishermen
  • tailgate parties

So you can find the fit for you. Last year one of these with the various series came out with the next "better than sliced bread" filling and I thought I'd drop into the store to check it out. When I got there I discovered that they only made it in the "tailgate party" sport series and I mentioned that on Twitter. Extremely quickly, one of the CSR's commented that I just need to get it a size up and that all their pros loved it to freaking death.

Clothes for riding

For perspective, the size I normally wear had sleeves about 8" too short, and room for two in the stomach area. Even 3 sizes up had sleeves 4" too short and room for my whole family in the stomach, being the "tailgate party" series. As well, keep in mind that an average pro is paid a fair amount of money to make sure that all their logos match up, and not much else.

Another issue you might run into is when they buy a new pro and change everything. I hate to say this, but your average 5'6" 120 lb alpinist superstar has almost nothing in common with me. When a clothing company changes their entire product line around that body it means I'm done buying anything from them. Seriously. Nothing fits in any size anymore. One year, everything in a size, next year, nothing in any size.

Clothes for alpine mountaineering

I've mentioned before about sheep that force themselves into whatever pros wear, and that's the economic advantage of companies buying pros. Having climbed with a handful, with duct tape over logos, sanded off logos, completely custom gear that appears to be the same colors/styles as the mass produced gear, etc. it's hard not to be too cynical about the whole process.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Getting my book into the local small book stores

I've written and published the best book there is today for the hiker who is looking to get stronger, faster, better, with more endurance and the ability to successfully achieve their hiking and peak bagging goals.

I've spent the last three weeks getting my internet marketing done while I waited for my shipment of my own copies. I had a few giveaways and I'm shipping those out over the course of this week. I also had the members of my paid training group getting their copies.

Now I'd like to get them into the small local bookstores. I'm able to offer it to them on my own, with negotiable terms. I'll be starting that process over the next few weeks. I'd love to see all the small climbing shops that sell local guidebooks, all the small outfitters and hiking shops, all the small coffee shops, all the small businesses near all the best trailheads offering my training manual for sale.

What can you do to help?

If you can get in touch with the person at your favorite shop who is in charge, and let him know that he can order my books through me directly and that he can contact me directly so we can begin a dialog and work together to sell my books, that would be awesome. If you can ask them to put your contact info in the Other Questions section of the form I can see about sending something special to thank you for the assistance.

The best and easiest way to contact me is through the form at: http://.ccharlesmiskeom/blog/resellers/

Help me find more places to sell my books.


Photo, Orizaba, Charles Miske and Todd Gilles 2013

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Seven Summits Quest Registration

If you're wanting to get the latest news and updates about my Seven Summits Quest, including the Volcanics, check out my Facebook Page, and while you're at it, sign up for my Email List so you can get first shot at all the various giveaways I've done over the past few years. Facebook trickles out the news so many people have responded that they heard about a sweepstakes when a friend posted that they won or whatever, and not from the page, even though I posted it on the page about a dozen times.

Don't miss another opportunity, and don't miss another article. Register now:

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Sponsorship in the Modern World

Here's a photo from a news site posted publicly on Facebook that pretty much sums it up:

Back in the days of mega-expeditions with hundreds of porters and horrendous environmental impact, climbing on the backs of a pyramid of logistical support, sponsorship meant the equivalent of millions of dollars and banners and flags and photo ops. Anyone remember the Nike ads from K2 1978?

Over time this evolved into mega-cool climbers using the gear or waving flags or whatever in return for funding the trip. That hasn't changed much over time as a general rule.

For a while, there was a wave of "everyman" climbers. Normal family guys and business people riding the edge of the coolness wave showing that it was possible to balance a normal family and employment life with climbing and mountaineering. Then the noose tightened and the wave switched to freakishness. You'd then find "first left-handed, right eye dominant, 5'9" red head to climb Everest in purple" and the like. These became so silly that the corporations sought to distance themselves from the lot.

But how do you define cool? According to an article in one of the major climbing magazines a couple years ago (old enough that without signing up I can't get to it from the websites), climbers started doing insanely stupid stunts to get funding. The bottom line of the slightly tongue in cheek article was that spending 100 hours scamming for a free pair of shoes that you could get by working at McD for 10 hours seemed like a bad use of time.

When I was at the Winter OR Show in SLC January 2014 I was slightly offended and appalled at the number of people there trying to get free gear and sponsorship from almost every single booth. It explained why some booths had rigid security systems in place to keep you from going in and seeing their goods unless you were a properly registered media or buyer with an appointment with the rep you already had relations with.

Carstensz - Logo Wear Festival at the Summit

In my "Carstensz, Stone Age to Iron Age" book HERE I explained how all of the "guides" abandoned us at the summit so they could take their slew of photos with sponsor jackets and banners and goodies and cards and plaques. It was with absolutely no level of exaggeration in the hundreds! They were loading new memory cards in between shots. They changed their jackets and t-shirts and hats to get all the photos in. Instead of rescue gear they carried backpacks full of sponsor logos. We were on our own for the entire descent aside from a guide we had to actually threaten to help us across the Tyrolean Traverse by helping to belay us on the transition from the overhanging rock to the cable harness.

And I still haven't even touched the surface of the charity climbers who live off their charities, another of the dirty little secrets stifled by the code of silence that seems to permeate the climbing world. For a brief introduction I can refer you to Krakauer's Three Cups of Deceit.

While lots of modern people make fun of the jolly old days of gentlemen climbers using up their savings, investments, and trust funds to support their life of adventure, before long, it will be back to these good old days and the paychecks will be scant in quantity and amount.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Crowded Trails with Nowhere to Go

I'm a member of the R2R2R group mentioned in this article on Trail Crowds in the Grand Canyon HERE in which it's apparent that runners are of course being blamed for dropping trash all over the trails. Oddly, I rarely see a runner carry more than a few goo packets and water bottles. And a few dozen runners here and there on crowded days means maybe 72 goo wrappers, assuming they all drop their trash along the trail.

Sorry NPS but I think that the thousands of daily gumbie hikers carrying their poptarts and pringles cans in one hand and their dasani in the other are more likely to be contributors. I also wonder about the tons of daily mule poop deposits.

Quandary in Winter - normally only a handful of others up there
I actually did a fast-pack trip from the rim to the ranch and back way back in the 70's. Before it was cool. Even then, there were a few hundred other people on the trail with various levels of consideration for Mom Nature. As well, you couldn't go 50' without stepping in stuff that came out of one of three ends of a mule.

If you've been following my exploits over the past few years you might have noticed that as of June 2014 I haven't been doing any of the 14ers like I did in the previous half dozen years in which I did one a month or more. For one thing, I've been in a strange sort of denial/funk/mourning after the death of a great guy I climbed with or near a few times in Ouray. It was due to a disaster on Liberty Ridge and it hit me hard.

For another I just can't find myself tolerating the crowds like I used to. I do like to run, and go fast, and enjoy the feeling of pushing my body into new areas of endurance pain. Contrary to the old school with their 40 pound packs for a day hike, it's not all about counting blades of grass and goat pics. Though I have still hit PR's while taking a few minutes out for my own goat pics.

Line to the Summit of Torreys. We took the Kelso Ridge and even that had a couple hundred hikers.
Contrary to the opinions of the non-hikers suddenly on the trails walking in 20' wide groups ambling, stopping suddenly to rest on the flats, dumping their packs in the middle of the trails and sorting through for a snack, etc. you should respect your fellow outdoor enthusiast and allow them the freedom to use the trail in spite of you.

It's gotten pretty dangerous to go fast on the 14ers around here. I've had a few run-ins with illegally unleashed dogs. all of whose owners insisted that their dog did not in fact jump under my feet causing me to fall. I suppose I have a vivid imagination or they are in cahoots. I've come around a corner to find groups of people laying in the middle of the trail whimpering and fighting and they get angry when I run around them.

Downhill is probably the least safe area to pass, but even uphill can be a challenge. Using Quandary as an example, normally when I start at the parking lot any "normal" hikers below the rocky point at 13,200' will be passed by me as I head to the summit. On a weekend that would be a few hundred. In the trees that's tough, but on the steep parts it's not too hard to pass on the scree and talus and still be off the fragile tundra.

And unlike them, I won't hang out trying to feed the goats or get a selfie with my arm around their necks. I've actually seen it happening. If it were the aforementioned classic hikers that I had to deal with, it's all well and good. In the big scheme of things we're all on the same page, enjoying the mountain in slightly different ways. They will respect their fellow hikers and step aside gracefully. But to be impeded by the usual circus act that the 14ers are quickly becoming, that's another thing entirely. And the weekdays are becoming almost as bad.

It's difficult to say though, since someone from these groups will fall in love, catch the bug, and come back time and again, and before long they'll have a 40 pound pack on with 10 pound boots enjoying the freedom of the hills, and it was all worthwhile.

So I haven't been up this summer. It hasn't felt worth the risk of injury to myself or others to enjoy these peaks in my own way. I've been running on mountain bike trails where it's actually a whole lot safer. Seriously. MTB riders seem to have a good sense of courtesy and we share the trails nicely. I've even passed a few.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Elbrus Weather at Barrels 6 July

Weather forecast for the Barrels huts on Elbrus as of 6 July 2014.

Elbrus Summit Weather 6 July

Summit weather as of 6 July 2014.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Everest Avalanche Disaster - An Unpopular Perspective

One problem common among mountaineers with juicy stories is the culture of preservation.

  • Of Self
  • Of the Route
  • Of Other Climbers

That's why some people have complained about my Carstensz Book HERE when they noticed that at a certain point in the book I become even more vague and elusive. If they'd been threatened and received promises that they would be responsible for the entire mountain being shut down, they'd be a bit nervous about becoming a mountaineering pariah unable to join any team for any mountain. The same goes for dissing any of their partners too vigorously, perhaps causing the rest of the book to be just a touch fluffier than originally intended.

If a nationally recognized climbing competition champion had to crawl up 5.6 limestone on their belly, would you narc on them in spite of the consequences?

It's difficult then to be so far away from the action and reading the news and knowing that the whole story is lurking just around the corner. Be that as it may, it was refreshing to read this quote from the legendary Ed Viesturs:
In 1991, I went to the South side of Everest with two clients I was guiding, and four other friends. We hired a handful of Sherpa. I was the climbing leader, and I'd hired them, so I felt I should carry loads with them through the icefall every time they did. I felt like I should go along, to show them my respect. The funny thing was, after a week, I could tell they were pissed at me. I finally pulled one of them aside and asked what was up. They said that every load I carried, was one less for them. They looked on the situation as though I was denying them a chance to make money. Read more: Follow us: @mensjournal on Twitter | MensJournal on Facebook
Even the tiniest suggestion that there is an economic impact of climbing on the sherpa culture should be carefully worded. I enjoy how all the old-timers are called upon to sound off on these issues, with plenty of juicy tidbits of historical information. Like this from Jon Krakauer:
These days, moreover, members are apt to spend even less time in the Icefall than I did when I was on Everest, eighteen years ago. It’s becoming increasingly common for Western guides and members to acclimatize in hypobaric chambers before they arrive in Nepal, or on other, less hazardous Himalayan peaks in advance of their summit assaults, greatly reducing the number of times they must expose themselves to the perils of the Icefall. Some members now make only a single round trip through it, while each of the sherpas supporting them must still pass through that hazardous terrain between two and three dozen times. Most Western climbers feel more than a little guilty about this, but I know of none who have ever offered to take an extra lap through the Icefall with a heavy load in order to reduce a sherpa’s exposure. LINK
Obviously he and Ed haven't talked about that. But in light of the very carefully and quietly ignored violent incident from last season we can suppose that no one should be climbing above, or ahead of, the sherpa. This of course exposes them to the Icefall in a different way. Here's an example of how to delicately discuss this:
The fight broke out during the peak climbing season between three European climbers and a group of Sherpas after a dispute over mountain etiquette. It caused the British, Italian and Swiss climbers to abandon their ascent to the summit. Read more: Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook
If your guides were so busy changing clothes, banners, and toys to make sure they got summit shots for every one of their sponsors that they abandoned you to descend alone in a storm, would you write about it in spite of the consequences?
To me it's quite sad that anyone should die in an avalanche. Here in the US alone 26 riders died in the 2013-2014 ski season SOURCE and that's bad enough without the confirmed 17 dead from Everest last week. I've seen lots of avalanches and have a great respect for them. I am also saddened at those politicizing this event, and have seen a lot of trash talking on the 'net about it. When you only have a tiny bit of the story it's hard to make an informed decision.

I think if the season is closed that might have a serious negative impact on next season, and sounds like a knee-jerk reaction. The government is working hard as it is to add restrictions that prevent climbers from going without sherpa support, from climbing ahead of the sherpa, and even from trying to establish individual climbing goals. You can verify these HERE, HERE and HERE if you're so inclined.

We should know in the next few days how this season on Everest will play out. I'm hoping for the best all around, which might be an unpopular perspective.


Apparently here is someone unafraid to voice their own observations.

Quote:  In addition, a small but powerful group of Sherpa are threatening violence against any climber who chooses to stay. The situation has gotten so bad, the Nepali military is being flown into base camp today to try and protect any climbers and Sherpa who choose to stay. This is not what Everest is supposed to be about. I have to admit that I feel completely lost right now as my life, over the past seven months, has been focused on training and getting mentally prepared for this one climb. And now suddenly it's over before I even had a chance.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Training on the Colorado 14ers

I have the opportunity to do a Colorado 14er just about any time I want. Within an hour drive of where I live in Summit County there are a half dozen Fourteeners to choose from. I encourage my friends, including those I coach, to climb them whenever they can for training and building a base of acclimatization.

13 year old son on winter ascent of Quandary - summit pole
Last year I wrote the first draft of a training manual designed for the first-timer at hiking a 14er in Colorado.

Couch to Colorado 14er

I let over 100 people download and review it, and offer suggestions. I sorted through those and have recently finished the final draft. I'm making it available as an ebook and in print, and with supplementary email, Skype, and Hangouts coaching and support, as well as members-only audio and video enhancement.

If you're curious, check it out HERE to pre-register to be notified first when it's available.

Do a 14er in '14!

I want 1000 people to commit to climb a 14er this year. Take the challenge.

I had someone respond to this with a statement about environmental responsibility. I can see the potential for confusion, since it's maybe not 100% clear that I don't mean all 1000 at once, on the same trail at the same time.

In regards to Pikes Peak:

More than 500,000 people reach the summit house every year by the Pikes Peak Highway, Barr Trail or the Pikes Peak Cog Railway.
And of that number:

About 15,000 people a year attempt to climb Pikes Peak on foot. The 13-mile trail begins at the base of Pikes Peak in Manitou Springs.
These numbers are from the respected WWF [Article] and I generally believe them to be conservative. On my hikes in the mountains around me, I have seen various Colorado climbing groups having as many as 100 members hanging out on top at the same time. I have passed twice as many as that on Grays and Quandary on a weekday in the summer.

Summit of Torreys with Todd Gilles and about 100 others
I feel safe to say that in any given year some number between 100,000 to 200,000 hikers are on a Colorado 14er trail over the course of any given summer. 1000 extra hikers over the course of that same summer is .5-1.0% additional hikers. It's almost insignificant.

If you're ready to get a 14er summit this summer, go check out my Seven Summits Body blog  HERE and register now to receive a free download of my ebook "Planning Your Home Cardio Theater" and learn how to train in the comfort and convenience of your own home. I'll let you know when pre-orders are available for the books and training programs.

Do a 14er in '14!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

How-to Climb Kilimanjaro on Google Helpouts

How to Climb Kilimanjaro

Kilimanjaro, the roof of Africa, is a prized goal for trekkers and mountaineers. It's well within the capabilities of many, if not most, people. The failure rate has been reported at around 30%. About 1/3 of the people who go there do not get to the summit. 


Many people are unprepared, pack wrong, train wrong and don't take it seriously enough. This mountain is nearly 20,000' high. Almost as tall as McKinley (Denali) in the USA. If you want to increase your chances of getting to the top, pack the right gear, clothing and footwear, train right for the trek and climb, and decide which of the many guiding options is best for you, schedule a Google Helpout now and get a jumpstart on success.

About Charles

  • Successful climb of Kilimanjaro - 01 January 2010
  • Successful climb of Carstensz Pyramid - 30 April 2013 (trek and climb)
  • Author of "The Seven Summits Quest" Series
  • 5th Place Finish in Elbrus Race 2013
  • Coached 3rd Place Finisher Todd Gilles for Elbrus Race 2013
  • Admin of FB/SevenSummitsQuest Mountaineering Group
  • Admin of FB/SevenSummitsBody Athletic Training Group

Monday, March 3, 2014

How-To Climb Carstensz Pyramid Consulting on Google Helpouts

I'm available on Google Helpouts to help you plan for your successful climb of Carstensz Pyramid. Consultations topics include:

  • Gear and Clothing 
  • Logistics and Guides 
  • Training for the Trek 
  • Training for the Climb 
  • Avoiding cultural and local issues and conflicts in Indonesia 
Summit of Carstensz Pyramid, 30 April 2013

Schedule a Google Helpout now to begin the achievement of your dreams.

Bio: I successfully climbed Carstensz Pyramid in April 2013. I wrote a popular book about it "Carstensz, Stone Age to Iron Age" available on Google Play, Barnes and Noble Nook, Amazon Kindle, and in print CLICK HERE. Since then I've consulted with numerous groups and individuals, many of them having already successfully climbed Carstensz.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Climbing for the Future of Climbing

My 13 year old son has been to the 14,265' top of Quandary twice before. He recently asked me about climbing it in the Winter, and I felt that he was ready to do it. He's been riding his bike about 150 miles per week average during the non-Winter months and in pretty good shape. Good shape involves mental as well as physical preparation.

Mount Royal in Frisco CO with friend Mauri
We did a test run on Mount Royal, a very steep (over 1000' in a mile) short peak outside Frisco Colorado and he did pretty good in spite of the deep snow. We did some night trail running on a snow covered dirt road near Dillon Colorado. Finally one day the stars aligned and we decided to go for it on Quandary.

It was a pretty good hike overall. The weather was warm and not too windy. On the way we ran into my friend Alan Arnette, who maintains an Everest News blog as well as Climbing for Alzheimer's. I was in running shoes and my son was in Sorel's. It was a bit slippery, and we had some issues above the bridge where there is usually deep snow to wade through.

With Alan Arnette and the Kite Lake 14'ers behind
We had decided to forgo snowshoes so that we could go a bit faster and lighter, and overall it was a good decision. In about 3:35 we hit the summit. I had to coax him past that zone of depression that hits all the newbies around 13,000' and makes them want to quit (so far nearly everyone I've taken up for the first time needs help mentally getting past that point). I needed to remind him to eat and drink. I needed to help him keep bundled up against the cold and wind. It was a great experience.

There we are huddled by the summit pole on Quandary
Then on the way down it was slow slippery going. At that point I decided that we'd need spikes if we were going to do this again. Which is likely. When we got home and had hot chocolate and snacks he asked me about how to work on beating his time and we're going to try another Winter ascent on the snow. It's really cool to see how he has picked up on my own focus on doing the route quickly and efficiently. It's cool to see him want to get faster and better at it. It feels cool to be passing on the torch and inspiring the next generation of mountaineers.

Share your story with me. How did you get the bug? Are you helping your children embrace this life?