Heading east....
02/16/2006, Colorado Springs


It's been a busy couple of weeks. Nursing aching joints, and catching up on many details that if gone unnoticed may leave my CPA made at me yet again. This has been a blustery week, one that seems almost bi-polar in the sense that on Monday I was rock climbing in a short sleeve shirt here in Colorado Springs, and yesterday walking Hudson my dog in a down parka. Ah Colorado Springs.

We're still full tilt with all our Avalanche courses? This year were so thrilled to have a strong team of guides and instructors that are leading the Level 1 and Level 2 AIARE courses for us. Were getting dumped on in the mountains as we speak. The adjectives that my good pal Shawn used to describe the snow rate as it was coming down on his recent trip from Breckenridge was "puking snow"! That about sums that up.

I managed a free ½ day to take in some sunny rock-climbing with our new Executive Admin Tamara and Bruce Hamilton our Senior Guide earlier in the week, and holy cow how nice it was to shake out the cob webs with a good healthy dose of "fear therapy" on lead..

I'm off to Nairobi tomorrow, can't believe it but its true. Tamara will be holding down the fort, and what a job that will entail, I think she is probably wondering what she has gotten herself into working at this crazy place, but we're thrilled to have her on the team.

I meet my climbers on Sunday in the sweltering metropolis of Nairobi. I'm excited for yet another great adventure in Tanzania and Kenya. I'm armed with bags of gear for the guides on Mount Kenya that I'll be training and dozens of pairs of shoes and other goodies supplied by my wife Dustin for the Tumani children's home. How excited they will be, of all the things in the world they need more of its-shoes..

More from London or Nairobi depending on energy level, its always a huge task trying to stay awake once you land in Nairobi, if you arrive in the AM, which I do, and then fall asleep your done for, and your clock will be off for days. Instead staying up on a fix of espresso and walks downtown, where they drive on the wrong side of the road will certainly add enough adrenaline to keep one up.

This photo is taken on Mount Kenya during our ascent last year.

02/13/2006, Colorado Springs

Once again another adventure is about to continue. Departure is set for me on Friday; heading out to Nairobi takes a couple of days. I'll be in London for a short bit before making the final leg into Nairobi on the 18th.

A great team we have assembled for our ascent of Kili. Steve Lombardi hailing from Des Moines Iowa, Dan Cannon of Londonderry New Hampshire, and finally Scott Zannini of Atlanta Georgia.

Planning for this adventure started back in August after I ran into Steve as he was heading off to climb and train in Zermatt Switzerland. Riding the train up to Zermatt we opened the dialouge for climbing larger mountains.

No doubt a common misconception for folks that are not familiar with travel up Kilimanjaro, it can be a tough climb, the opposite being easy, which its not. Altitude and issues of health can be problematic as one slowly winds up the mountain in a fashion reminiscent of days of travel long gone. A train of porters, cooks, required guides and much more complete the ensemble. We will be taking in some extra time on the mountain at the Shira Plateau-a beautiful region that pops out at around 12,000 feet and leaving the forest of the giant Heather Trees, sometimes in bloom. Often time this region can be cloaked in low clouds, compounded with the strange yet beautiful Lobelia plants and trees, makes it a truly remarkable experience.

Way more to come on that subject, and the real events and stories as it happens. Nairobi in and of itself, well that is one that has its pluses and many minuses, mainly massive crowds and pollution so it will be good to get out, but no doubt an adventure is in store.

Avalanche education and preparation
02/03/2006, Colorado Springs

I'm back home in Colorado, rested and ramping up for a trip to Africa in a few short weeks. My team on 2 separate trips are busily doing final preparations and training to climb in both Tanzania on Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Kenya, some of the most incredible culturally rewarding trips we do.

This weekend and last we started our 2006 AIARE level 1 avalanche course. Last weekend Tom Murphy the Executive director of AIARE and Chad Peele started it off here at Colorado College to a sold out course and fantastic enthusiasm. Its always an exciting thing for me to see such motivation and effort put forth by folks to learn more about not only snow science and the many hazards that loom in the backcountry, but young folks taking time out to learn about proper risk management. This weekend were back at it here in Colorado Springs and I'll be teaching it alongside Chad again. Colorado leads the world in recorded avalanches each year, as well as fatalities, so here at PPAS and SEI were working hard to get the word out on education through a whole host of outreach targeted at reducing these numbers.

This photo was taken in Kenya last year when I visited an orphanage for HIV positive children in Nanyuki Kenya, home to the Tumani Children's Hospital. We started working with them over a year ago in bringing them not only money, but also much needed supplies. Were continuing our efforts this year and have raised more money, but managed to gain supplies for them to continue the wonderful work they do. Contact us here at SEI for more information and find out how you can help this wonderful effort.

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