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    Rock Climbing Near Bariloche

    Jeanne Young and I just returned from a rock climbing trip near Bariloche, Argentina. Beautiful alpine rock climbing. It's a five-hour hike into a lake basin where there is free camping and a hut. We ate dinner (and drank red wine) at the hut each night, camped out on the opposite side of the lake, and climbed 10 days in a row. Not bad. I hope these pics motivate you to get out for some spring climbing of your own.

    House_bariloche3

    Once we arrived in Bariloche (we flew from Buenes Aires) we stocked up on groceries and camping fuel and then took a bus up to the ski area, Cathedral. A five-hour hike along the ridge gave us fantastic views of the lake country and the glacier-clad Andes to the east.  Finally, the trail brings you in above Laguna Toncek, the heart of the Frey area.

    [All photos by Steve House and Jeanne Young]

    Continue reading "Rock Climbing Near Bariloche" »

    Signing Off from Pakistan

    Steve House is home from Pakistan now, but before getting on his flight in Islamabad he made one last call to close out his trip and introduce us to a special guest. In this last update we get to hear from Mr. Saad Tariq Siddiqi, the Honorable Secretary of the Alpine Club of Pakistan. You'll hear Mr. Siddiqi talk about the many expeditions that visited Pakistan this year and you'll receive a warm welcome if you're interested in experiencing their "mountain heritage" for yourself.

    Listen to Steve House Update 12 (mp3)

    Stay tuned to Patagonia.com, the Patagonia catalog and The Cleanest Line for photos, more stories and hopefully some video from this expedition. Our thanks go out to Steve House, Vince Anderson, Marko Prezelj, the basecamp crew, the porters, the Colorado and Quebec teams, the Alpine Club of Pakistan, Mr. Siddiqi and the people of Pakistan.

    All posts from the series:

    Airfare and Intervals
    K6: Travel, Weather and Acclimatizing
    K6 & 7: Acclimatizing on Two New Routes
    K6 & 7: The Weather Strikes Back
    K6 & 7: Scouting and Starting K7
    K6 & 7: K7 West Goes
    The Story of K7 West
    First Bath Since August 16th
    "Clinically" Blue Skies Inspire K6 West Attempt
    Fare Thee Well Charakusa Valley

    Fare Thee Well Charakusa Valley

    Ambass_house Steve House took the time to make one last call amidst the hustle and bustle of packing up base camp and organizing 30 porters. It's a little rough around the edges but the sentiment is appreciated.

    Listen to Steve House Update 11 (mp3)

    Thanks again to Steve for taking us along for the ride.

    Previous posts from the series:

    Airfare and Intervals
    K6: Travel, Weather and Acclimatizing
    K6 & 7: Acclimatizing on Two New Routes
    K6 & 7: The Weather Strikes Back
    K6 & 7: Scouting and Starting K7
    K6 & 7: K7 West Goes
    The Story of K7 West
    First Bath Since August 16th
    "Clinically" Blue Skies Inspire K6 West Attempt

    [Special hello to the Alpine Club of Slovenia]

    "Clinically" Blue Skies Inspire K6 West Attempt

    K6_after_the_storm Today we have a double-shot from Steve House. Apologies for not posting Update 9 sooner. In it Steve share's Marko's assessment of the weather, and he describes the Sierra-style climb that was mentioned in the last update, including the surprise they found at the top of it.

    Listen to Steve House Update 9 (mp3)

    Then, on Sunday, we received another call. The weather was so nice the team packed up and charged K6 West. Give a listen to see how it turned out.

    Listen to Steve House Update 10 (mp3)

    Previous posts from the series:

    Airfare and Intervals
    K6: Travel, Weather and Acclimatizing
    K6 & 7: Acclimatizing on Two New Routes
    K6 & 7: The Weather Strikes Back
    K6 & 7: Scouting and Starting K7
    K6 & 7: K7 West Goes
    The Story of K7 West
    First Bath Since August 16th

    [K6, back in the picture. Masherbrum Mountains, Pakistan. Photo: Steve House]

    First Bath Since August 16th

    Shower1 As promised, Steve House called in again with a quick update from the Charakusa Valley in Pakistan. It sounds like the weather has been bad enough to put the kibosh on K6 West. On the upside, the team is hoping to get out for a Sierra-style rock climb that Steve describes in this update.

    Listen to Steve House Update 8 (mp3)

    Steve also admits to taking his first bath since August 16. I don't know if this is a record for Steve (doubtful) but he didn't quite surpass "Team Dirtbag" author Topher Browne's record of five weeks without a shower.

    Previous posts from the series:

    Airfare and Intervals
    K6: Travel, Weather and Acclimatizing
    K6 & 7: Acclimatizing on Two New Routes
    K6 & 7: The Weather Strikes Back
    K6 & 7: Scouting and Starting K7
    K6 & 7: K7 West Goes
    The Story of K7 West

    [A shower under the sun, one of life's simple pleasures. Photo: Free]

    The Story of K7 West

    If you've been following the sat phone updates from Steve House here on The Cleanest Line you know that he, Vince Anderson and Marko Prezelj recently summited the previously unclimbed West Peak of K7 in Pakistan's Charakusa Valley. Today we present a complete recap of the climb as told by Steve House. It's tales like this that get us fired up for our own missions, however remote or difficult they may be.

    Please note, this recording is just over 30 minutes long. If you don't have time to listen to it now, right-click on the link and save the file for playback later on your computer or iPod.

    Listen to Steve House Update 7 (mp3 - 7.49 MB)

    Many thanks to Steve for taking the time to make the calls that comprise this recording. We hope to hear from him one more time before the team packs up and comes home. Between the weather and the short time the team has left in Pakistan it's questionable whether they're going to be able to attempt K6 West. But it sounds like they hope to still make one more climb, somewhere, before hitting the road. Stay tuned.

    Previous posts from the series:

    Airfare and Intervals
    K6: Travel, Weather and Acclimatizing
    K6 & 7: Acclimatizing on Two New Routes
    K6 & 7: The Weather Strikes Back
    K6 & 7: Scouting and Starting K7
    K6 & 7: K7 West Goes

    [Steve, Vince, Marko and the support crew would like to give a shoutout to the Kiwanis Club of Parachute, Colorado.]

    K6 & 7: K7 West Goes

    K6_after_the_storm While the rest of us were barbequing, sitting in traffic or off on an adventure of our own, Steve House, Vince Anderson and Marko Prezelj successfully climbed the west summit of K7. Check out Steve's short update from this morning and stay tuned for a more detailed account of the climb coming soon.

    Listen to Steve House Update 6 (mp3)

    Previous posts from the series:

    Airfare and Intervals
    K6: Travel, Weather and Acclimatizing
    K6 & 7: Acclimatizing on Two New Routes
    K6 & 7: The Weather Strikes Back
    K6 & 7: Scouting and Starting K7

    [K6, Masherbrum Mountains, Pakistan. Photo: Steve House]

    K6 & 7: Scouting and Starting K7

    K6_after_the_storm In this report from the Charakusa Valley, Steve House gives us an excellent description of K7's features and explains how the team must find a way through the granite buttresses surrounding the base in order to get up on the mountain. Steve also talks about a special lunch they shared with the Colorado and Quebec teams, their stateside source for weather forecasts, and the final preparations for attempting the unclimbed west summit of K7.

    Listen to Steve House Update 4 (mp3)

    Breaking news: Looks like the weather has delayed their start by a day. I received a short update from Steve this morning.

    Listen to Steve House Update 5 (mp3)

    Previous posts from the series:

    Airfare and Intervals
    K6: Travel, Weather and Acclimatizing
    K6 & 7: Acclimatizing on Two New Routes
    K6 & 7: The Weather Strikes Back

    [K6, Masherbrum Mountains, Pakistan. Photo: Steve House]

    K6 & 7: The Weather Strikes Back

    K6_after_the_storm Steve House called again last night from the Charakusa Valley in Pakistan. As you know, he, Vince Anderson and Marko Prezelj have been acclimatizing for first ascents of the west faces of both K6 and K7. It was mostly high-fives and happy times until this report came in. Mother Nature brought some intense weather to the Karakoram and put a damper on the team's attempt at another first ascent during acclimatization.

    Listen to Steve House Update 3 (mp3)

    They did however get some visitors while the weather was bad. The separate teams of Kelly Cordes and Scott DeCapio from Colorado, and Maxime Turgeon and LP Menard from Quebec, stopped by basecamp to say hello. In an interesting twist, we find out that all three teams share objectives to one degree or another. So now the race is on to see who will snag the first ascents.

    Stay tuned for another update from Steve tomorrow. For more details, check out the recent post on Alpinist's newswire.

    Previous posts from the series:
    Airfare and Intervals
    K6: Travel, Weather and Acclimatizing
    K6 & 7: Acclimatizing on Two New Routes

    [K6, Masherbrum Mountains, Pakistan. Photo: Steve House]

    K6 & 7: Acclimatizing on Two New Routes

    K6_after_the_storm I've changed the title of this series because in this week's sat phone update Steve House clarifies that he, Vince Anderson and Marko Prezelj are actually gunning for new routes on both K6 & K7. Steve also talks about finishing up the acclimatization process, the two new routes they've climbed already, and surprisingly he brings the perspective of a surfer to the mountains of Pakistan.

    Listen to Steve House Update 2 (mp3)

    Previous posts from the series:
    Airfare and Intervals
    K6: Travel, Weather and Acclimatizing

    [K6, Masherbrum Mountains, Pakistan. Photo: Steve House]

    Edit: Updated post to reflect that acclimatization is not quite finished.

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