Cosley & Houston, Alpine Guides

Bishop, California
March 2002 Newsletter

Cosmiques Arête, Aiguille du Midi, Chamonix Aiguilles, France
Climbers on the Cosmiques Arête, Aiguille du Midi, Mont Blanc Massif.
This is the day Emery climbed with Mark—perfect!



So, what's next in 2002?
Click below to go the the appropriate pages.


Waterfalls and Sunny Rock

April & May

Alps Ski Tours


Mountaineering in Peru

July to September

Alps Alpinism

Late September

Mount Kenya

October & November


Winter 2002-3

New Zealand


Cosmiques Arête, Aiguille du Midi, Chamonix
Alan Maurer and Mark on the Cosmiques Arête.


Hello to all our friends and sympathetic listeners:

It's been too long, once again, since we've been in touch with you, but it is with gratitude that we sit down to write you now. We're grateful to all those of you who joined us on climbs, trips and adventures during the last 8 months. We're also grateful for the places we've had the privilege to go, and the things we've been able to attempt and often achieve.

Since we wrote you last July, we've had another great summer season of guiding in the Alps, an attempt on Cho Oyu, and a fairly tranquil fall and winter season mostly at home—unusual for us. We enjoyed an uncommonly good early season snowpack here in the Sierra, timely for us since we had bought season's passes at Mammoth Mountain at fire-sale prices last spring.

Descending Goûter route, Mont Blanc
Alan Maurer and Mark found this weather on Mont Blanc.

Here's the lowdown on the last few months' activities:

July-August, Alps

Alan Maurer of Salt Lake City was joined by Mark for an attempt on Mont Blanc in mid-July. A monster dump of snow made the "hike" up to the Goûter Hut truly a mountaineering experience in and of itself, and the weather continued too poor to make a realistic attempt. After returning to Chamonix in defeat, they scooted up the Cosmiques Arête as a consolation prize—a cold climb on a brilliant, clear day.

After that Susan Lowery and her husband Roy Zagieboylo hooked up with Mark, for climbing in the Chamonix area. They accomplished a lot in a few short days, including the Petite Aiguille Verte (beware, Chris Kulp, the gauntlet has been thrown down!), Pointes Lachenal, the Cosmiques Arête, the SE Ridge of the Tour Ronde, the Index, the Midi-Plan traverse, and Mont Blanc du Tacul on an arctic-weather day.

Meanwhile, Joan Sutherland of Groton, New York was climbing with Kathy. This was a first-time trip together for these two, and they too accomplished a lot, both in the summits department and in the realm of NYT Sunday Crossword Puzzles (a fetish of Kathy's). They started out in the Chamonix area: a traverse of the French/Italian frontier ridge to the summit of the Aiguille d'Entrèves was done in two separate half-day installments, combined with other climbs; the SE ridge of the Tour Ronde; the Cosmiques Arête, and Mont Blanc via the traverse of Mont Blanc du Tacul and Mont Maudit (on the descent from which Joan had to shepherd a suddenly flu-stricken and helpless Kathy back to her hotel bed); before heading over to Zermatt where they had the great luck of good weather and conditions on the Matterhorn. Joan and Kathy were thrilled to succeed on both Mont Blanc and the Matterhorn, a combination requiring both great stamina and excellent luck with the weather. Joan had both.

Mont Blanc du Tacul, Chamonix
Susan and Roy on Mont Blanc du Tacul.

Alas, such luck was not to bless Jon Penn, during his second attempt to climb the Matterhorn, this time with Kathy. Jon is ready, willing and itchin' to get that peak, but a truly huge dump of snow put it out of reach during the time he had for it this year.

Jon did get in a climb of the Wellenkuppe and Ober Gabelhorn, a big climb with great views, involving plenty of variety and challenge both on rock and on icy snow slopes. The route was generously smattered with ice and newly fallen snow, which along with a chill, stiff wind made for a tough, long and satisfying climb. An attempt the following day on the Zinalrothorn was foiled by the same multi-day storm that thwarted the Matterhorn attempt as well. Instead, after an amusing, drizzly, slippery descent of the "via ferrata" in the Gorner Gorge, they headed over to Monte Rosa, only to be turned back by an icy, flesh-freezing wind! Sometimes the mountains can be cruel.

While Kathy and Jon were freezing their butts in Zermatt, Emery Dameron was met by Mark in Chamonix, where they climbed the Index and Cosmiques Arête despite a nagging knee injury of Emery's.

Chris Kulp the intrepid was back in the Alps with Mark in August. They got in several great rock routes before a variation of the "Chamonix Plague" that was still circulating, put Chris down for several days and foiled an attempt on the Meije in the Ecrins region near La Grave. Feeling better for the Innominata route on Mont Blanc, they were turned back by weather that was too good! The hot sun made crossing the central couloir high on the route inadvisable. Still, among the great routes they explored together were the Aiguille du Peigne, The Flèche Rousse on the Aiguille d'Argentière, Mani Puliti in the Aiguilles Rouges, the Tour des Crochues by the Galbert route, and Tchao Godillo in the Col de la Colombière.

Aiguille d'Entrèves, Chamonix France
Chris Kulp on the Traverse of the Aiguille d'Entrèves. The Aiguille verte in the background.

Climbing on the Aiguille del'Index, Chamonix
Emery on the Aiguille de l'Index
Climbing in the Aiguilles Rouges, Chamonix France
Chris Kulp on Mani Puliti, a great rock route in the Aiguilles Rouges.

On the Summit of the Aiguille d'Argentière
Chris hams it up on the summit of the Aiguille d'Argentière.
Finally, Kathy headed over to the Dolomites to join a contingent of the Latham family: Andy, wife Jan, and sons Adam and Stephen. They had fun in the sun, climbing sport and multi-pitch routes on fine limestone, and sampling some of the airy, exciting and historic via ferrata near the town of Cortina, enjoying great pasta and coffee! After a day of sight seeing "en famille" in Venice, Andy and Kathy saw Jan and the boys off at the Milan airport, and drove to Switzerland for a last few productive days climbing before their time ran out. They had good weather, and quickly climbed the Jungfrau, followed by the Eiger via the Mittellegi Ridge and South Ridge descent. This exciting, extremely exposed ridge climb was a long, committing, beautiful climb on a gorgeous day. Following that, with one day left, they drove over to Piz Bernina and climbed the beautiful mixed ridge on the Piz Palu, before parting company in Milan.

Cho Oyu, from Base Camp
Cho Oyu as seen from Base Camp. The wind blows a big lenticular over the summit.

Mount Conness, North Ridge, Sierra Nevada
Chris and Kathy on Mount Conness.

A Winter at Home (mostly)

We hadn't been home long before Chris Kulp made the drive over the hill for a quick climb of the North Ridge of Conness, a great fall day. This winter we have been working away on a writing project, and skiing and climbing too. Since January our skis have had less use than our ice climbing gear however. Kim McElhinney and Hugh Driscoll came out for a weekend at Lee Vining with Kathy, while Mark roped up with several other visitors: Chris Kulp, Frank Sainburg of Avila Beach, Wanda Neste of Palm Springs, and Scott Anderson of Pacific Palisades.

In late January Kathy headed back to Ouray, Colorado for the 3rd annual "Chicks With Picks" event hosted by Kim Reynolds of San Juan Mountain Guides of Ouray. This year Chicks was better attended and organized even than before. The clinic was expanded to include a few more participants, and several new, extremely strong and professional guides joined the line-up: Carolyn Parker, Abby Watkins, Mattie Sheafor, Anna Keeling and Amy Bullard joined the established group of Kitty Calhoun, Angela Hawse, Jen Grimes and Kathy. The depth and strength of this group of instructors allows women of all levels of experience and ability, from absolute beginners to experienced leaders and mixed climbers, to be challenged and get a lot of climbing and learning in a short time.

Abby and Kathy gave well-received slide shows attended by the "chicks" as well as by local residents and visiting climbers. These events, featuring auctions and a bar stocked by a local brewery ("cheap gear and free beer"), benefit a local women's shelter and every year raise more money for a great cause. Kathy says she feels honored and privileged to be a part of this event, which she looks forward to every February.

Now we're breaking in our tight little rock shoes, and trying to get out rock climbing in the Owens River Gorge a couple of times per week. Spring is just around the corner, and we want to be in shape for it, and for y'all!


March • Sunny Rock & Frozen Ice

At the end of March, Kathy heads to Joshua Tree to join Marian Marbury of Adventures in Good Company for a week of rock climbing with another fun group of women. Mark will be climbing on spikes on the still-frozen waterfalls of Banff, with Chris Kulp for our annual pilgrimage.

Skiing in the Aiguilles Rouges, Chamonix, France
Skiing toward the Col du Belvedere. The Chamonix Aiguilles and Mont Blanc Massif behind.

April and May • Alps Ski Tours

Mark and Kathy will meet at the L.A. airport, in time to fly to Geneva for several ski tours, on which there is at the time of writing still room for more folks, in case anyone is interested. We're doing 2 Chamonix - Zermatt Haute Routes, one by the slightly mellower Verbier route (April 3-10), the other by the steeper Plateau du Couloir route (April 23-30). We will also run a 6-day tour of peak ascents/descents in the Berner Oberland (April 3-8), in addition to a couple of private trips.

Tocllarauju, Cordillera Blance, Peru
Tocllaraju in the Ishinca area. Peru
June • Peruvian Mountaineering

We'll be home in early May, and then off to Peru on May 26 for two trips to the Ishinca Valley. The first trip will be various ascents from the traditional base camp in the valley, the second will involve two high traverses into and out of the valley, to explore other nearby peaks and climb some less frequented summits. There may still be room on these trips, write us if you think you'd like to join us there.

July to Spetember • Alps Alpinism

Early July will see us briefly at home, for family visits and the wedding of a dear friend. Then we're off again to the Alps where we already have every day accounted for!

Late September • Mount Kenya

In mid-September Mark and Emery Dameron will be heading to Mount Kenya, to climb the North Side Standard Route of the Batian summit (some of you may recall that Kathy and Mike Christianson did this climb in autumn of 2000). Kathy is available to head up another rope team there. If any of you thinks you'd like to join her, please drop us an email for more information. It would be ideal to hook up with the same dates and itinerary, which have Mark and Emery arriving in Nairobi on September 13 and leaving the 27th.

October & November • Nepal

After that, we both have tentative plans to hook up with Mike Christianson for a private expedition in Nepal, and possibly another with Chris Kulp. We're keeping an eye on events there, and will have to make our plans as time and circumstances unfold. It's a bit hard to plan things in Nepal these days.

Winter 2002-3 • New Zealand

Back home, we hope to be in Bishop for the holidays, and then in the first two months, we are planning a long vacation in New Zealand!

Center Falls, Lee Vining
Center falls, Lee Vining.

So that's as far as the crystal ball extends, for now. As Kathy's mom likes to say, "Lord willin' and the crick don't rise", we'll see some of you along the way. Please let us know if any of these trips sound interesting to you, or if you have ideas of your own about how we can spend our time with you! We would love to hear from you, and hook up for a trip together. In any case, have a great year out and about, and keep in touch.

You can as ever contact us by email, by phone or letter. Email is usually the best way to reach us quickly, unless you catch us at home. You can refer to our calendar on our web site to increase the chances of snagging us while we're airing the tents here in Bishop. And have a look at the "recent trips" page to see more picks of what we have been up to.

Happy Trails,

Kathy & Mark
1627 Dunbar Lane
Bishop, CA 9351

phone: 760-872-3811

Kathy Cosley & Mark Houston
UIAGM / IFMGA Internationally Certified
Mountain Guides

AMGA Certified
Rock, Alpine, & Ski Mountaineering Guides

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