Sunday, October 31, 2010

Two Great Alpine Faces

Sharon Wood leads easier snow and ice above the very difficult serac barrier we had just overcome at 21,000 feet on the South Face of Aconcagua, Central Andes, Argentina, in November, 1984.  Above her about 3000 vertical feet of classic alpine terrain separates us from the summit.

My 4 Russian friends and I spent 3 weeks hauling gear to the base of the North Face of Changabang, Garhwal Himalaya, India, in April, 1998.  Once we had all the gear at the base of the mountain, we began the ascent of the 5200 foot vertical rock face above us in capsule style.  We didn't descend from the wall until we were done, 16 days later.  We named the climb "The Lightning Route".

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Photographs from Chilean Patagonia and the Cordillera Huayhuash, Peru

Joan Sole traversing out of our bivi site during the first ascent of the East Face of Cerro Castillo, Chilean Patagonia, 2008.

Mark Price descending the North Ridge of Siula Grande, Cordillera Huayhuash, Peru after our first ascent of Avoiding the Touch on Siula's West Face, 1999.  This is the ridge where Joe Simpson broke his leg while descending with Simon Yates.

Brad Johnson reaching the summit of Nevado Quesillo during the first ascent of its North Face, Cordillera Huayhuash, Peru, 2007

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

High Altitude Images

Thaddeus Josephson on the summit of the rarely climbed and very remote Pucahirca Norte, Cordillera Blanca, Peru after making the first ascent of the mountain's West Face from our Base Camp at Laguna Safuna.
Rune's Needle, a spectacular, 300 foot rock pinnacle on the San Lorenzo Massif, Northern Patagonian Andes, Argentina.  Hans Brauner-Osborne and I ascended the steep right hand skyline in the winter of 2008.

Myself on an exposed pitch during the first ascent of "Avoiding the Touch", a mixed route on Siula Grande, West Face, Cordillera Huayhuash, Peru.  Our route began up the same line climbed by Joe Simpson and Simon Yates, the route chronicled in Simpson's book, "Touching the Void".  After about 10 pitches, we continued straight up into a narrow couloir system which led directly to the summit crest. It is unclear whether this point on the crest or the point at the southern end of the summit ridge is higher.  We traversed to both points and our altimeters showed no difference. Photo by Mark Price, 1999.

A beautiful Nepali girl that worked with her father as porters on our expedition to Makalu West Pillar in 1984.  When I asked our Sirdar, my good friend, Lhakpa Dorje (Kunde), whether she actually wanted to be working with us, he answered, "What young girl wants to be carrying a 50 pound load over these high Himalayan passes?"

Mark Price on the famous North Ridge descent of Siula Grande, Cordillera Huayhuash, Peru, after we had made the first ascent of "Avoiding the Touch", a route left of the Simpson/Yates route in Touching the Void.  Yerupaja South East Face is behind him.

Sharon Wood on the long ice ridge between Camps 1 and 2 on Makalu West Pillar, Himalaya, Nepal, 1984.  We often climbed in less than perfect weather, a tribute to how hard the team worked to make this endeavor a success.

Charlie Sassara at about 6700 meters (22,500 ft.) on the West Pillar of Makalu, Himalaya, Nepal 1984.  High winds ripping across the ridge sometimes blew us off our feet and made startling popping explosions as vacuum pockets on the lee side were momentarily sucked dry of air and suddenly refilled with tremendous force.

Sharon Wood on the exposed West Pillar of Makalu, 1984, while ferrying loads across the ice ridge at about 6300 meters (21,000 ft.).

Martin Zabaleta climbing at about 7100 meters (23,300 ft.) above the North Col of Kangchenjunga, Himalaya, Nepal during our successful first American ascent of the mountain in 1988. 

Sergei Pensov and myself, exhausted, at about 7300 meters (24,000 ft.) while descending from the summit of K2, Karakoram, China, on the North Ridge.  Our third summit partner, Igor Benkin, died tragically during the descent from dehydration,  exhaustion, and probably cerebral edema about 20 hours earlier.  Photo by Andrei Mariev, 1996.

Martin Zabaleta ascending the West Ridge of Cho Oyu at about 7000 meters (23,000 ft.) during the first alpine style ascent of this fine Polish Route, 1989.

Martin Zabaleta, during the first alpine style ascent of the Polish Route, West Ridge of Cho Oyu, Himalaya, bordering Tibet and Nepal, at about 6600 meters (21, 700 ft.) in 1989.

Sharon Wood at about 6300 meters (20,700 ft.) on Huascaran Sur, Cordillera Blanca, Peru during the first ascent of the Route of the Southern Cross on the Anqosh Face, 1985. She was climbing with a cracked scapula in her right shoulder as a result of being struck by falling rock 4 days earlier in the climb. 

Local villagers take advantage of perfect breezes to separate the chaff from the wheat in a remote village of the Cordillera Blanca, Andes, Peru

A young Quechua mother and her daughter in the markets of Cuzco, Peru.  Her head ware identifies her as living near the Cordillera Vilcanota, the mountain range south of the city mostly known for its highest peak, Ausangate, 1979.

Don Anderson at about 6200 meters (20,100 ft.) on the Northeast Ridge of Ausangate, climbing the last meters to the summit.  This may have been the 2nd ascent of this long, intricate ridge. 1979. In the background lie many possible routes in this seldom explored range of peaks.

Don Anderson making some exposed moves at about 6300 meters (20,800 ft.) while climbing into the final great dihedral of the Paragot Route, Huascaran Norte.  Below is the first Llanganuco Lake at 3800 meters (12,000 ft). 1979

Charlie Sassara descending the North Ridge of University Peak, Wrangell St. Elias, Alaska after making the first ascent of the East Buttress over six days in 1997.  As far as we could tell,  it was the third ascent of the mountain.

Charlie Sassara ascending the East Buttress of University Peak, Wrangell St. Elias, Alaska, at about 3800 meters (12,000 ft.) during the first ascent of the route.  In the background lies much unexplored terrain within the Wrangell St. Elias Mountains.
In the coming months as I comb through some of my high altitude photography, I will post some of the more outstanding images on this blog.  Look for a gathering of cultural, travel and alpine photography from the past 40 years as I build this site over the coming months.  Enjoy! For more information please go to