Cosley & Houston, Alpine Guides

Bishop, California
July 2001

Andy Latham descending towards the French Ridge hut, New Zealand

Trips of first half of 2001

Hello Friends

Juncal, Chile

Christmas and California Ice

Parlez Vous Français?

"Chicks with Picks"

Storm on Mount Whitney

New Zealand

Back in Chamonix......

Joshua Tree

Banff Waterfalls
Chamonix to Zermatt Haute Route
Mark & Kathy's Skiing Vacation
Guides Training &AMGA Exams
Alpamayo & Huascarán
Canadian Rockies

So, what's next?... 2001 (what's left of it) & 2002 Schedule

July and August


September and October

Cho Oyu Expedition

November to March

Writing Project

early February, 2002

"Chicks With Picks"

April and May, 2002

Chamonix to Zermatt Haute Route and other tours

June and July, 2002

Peru Trips

July ,August and September, 2002

Alps summer climbing

Hi Everyone:

Greetings from Bishop. We are actually home right now, and will be for another whopping 48 hours! A couple of which we wanted to devote to staying in touch with you all. We hope you've had a great winter and spring since we last wrote, and that you don't get this newsletter right away because you're off having fun in the mountains this summer, too.

Thanks to all of you who helped make the last 7 months rewarding, adventurous and fun for us and for our fellow travelers. Here's what we've been up to lately:

Jane Sheldon, Jennifer Wolfe and, Rosanne Engelhardt on Juncal, Chile.

Nevado Juncal, Central Andes of Chile

In December Kathy went back to Nevado Juncal in Chile, with 2 of last year's trio - Jane Sheldon and Jennifer Wolfe, plus a new third, Rosanne Engelhardt, an artist from the Bay area. This time we were successful, with plenty of time to spend, much better snow conditions (fewer and smaller penitentes), and great weather. Our biggest adventures involved wild river crossings, in exploratory forays after our climb!

We also met a lot more people on the mountain this year, though this was probably a fluke. There were a pair of glaciologists in base camp, doing research for the University of Edinburgh - on the formation of penitentes, of all things! They had some pretty high tech machinery staked out on the glacier, and took advantage of their incredible location to do some climbing too. If you want to see their research you can find it at:

Also on the mountain were a group of 15 youngsters from the Universidad Católica in Santiago. This university has a very active climbing club, whom we've come across in Patagonia from time to time. They all summitted and were coming down by the time we were heading up high on the mountain.

Home for Christmas & California Ice

After Christmas get-togethers with our families, we had most of January to just play around here. Ed Pezalla joined us for a weekend of ice climbing in Lee Vining and June Lake. As some of you may have heard, the roadside ice at June Lake has been officially off limits since the Southern California Edison company which owns the land, discovered it had some liability issues to settle. Local climbers and guides–who by the way have been improving the ice by means of hoses and such–and the Access Fund are currently working on a plan that will be acceptable to all parties. We hope it will be settled before the next ice season.

Parlez Vous Français?

Near the end of the month, Mark flew off to France for his language course. He learned a lot and had a great time, doing a lot of skiing in his spare time with fellow guide and also student on the course, Ramsay Thomas.

"Chicks with Picks" Ouray, Colorado

Meanwhile, in the first week of February Kathy was off to Ouray for the second annual Chicks With Picks ice climbing seminar put on by San Juan Mountain Guides guide Kim Reynolds and her friend Kellie Day. This year was just as much fun and even more successful than last, with two clinics: a 4 day seminar (18 participants total) and a 2 day sampler (about 15). These clinics fill up early, so if you think you might be interested, keep an eye on their website,, for the 2002 dates as soon as they become official.

Sierra Winter Storms & Waterfalls

Back in the Sierra Kathy was joined by Alan Bellinoff of Virginia for an interesting exercise in "Sierra Winter Storm Survival" (in lieu of a Mount Whitney Trail Winter Ascent, as originally planned). The timing was perfect for an eye-of-the-storm experience, and they took full advantage of it. The trip included a lesson in the limits of snowshoe buoyancy in fresh powder, waist-deep wading training (a lot like underwater jogging, from what I've heard of it), and also a test of the response capabilities of the Amateur Radio enthusiasts of Bishop, who eagerly called a county snow plow to extricate Kathy's car from a 3 foot burial in the snow. If the definition of "adventure" means plenty of unexpected events, this definitely qualified.

Kathy had time to spend a weekend ice climbing with Chris Kulp, working on leading skills in Lee Vining and June Lake (much less eventful, and we mean that in a nice way, Chris).

Andy Latham on the summit of Mount Aspiring, New Zealand

Andy Latham on Mount Bevan, Mount Aspiring behind, New Zealand.

New Zealand's Southern Alps

Then she headed off to New Zealand with Andy Latham. Some of you might remember they had been over there together last year as well, where they had to sit out a dreary rainy week enlivened only by the world famous partying skills of Australians, a group of whom shared their hut. They were back this time with a specific goal in mind: 3025 meter (9922 foot) Mount Aspiring. After a windy no-fly day spent waiting and sampling the local sport crag (pretty good!), they helicoptered in to Bevan Col and after a short walk across the Bonar glacier were settled in the Colin Todd hut at the foot of the long Northwest Ridge of Aspiring. The very next morning they climbed in perfect weather, following the ridge along its rocky crest to summit in a decent six and a half hours (the descent took almost exactly as long).

The following days were mostly mixed to good weather too (making up for the rain Andy saw last year!), so they went on to do some other really fun climbs in the area: Rolling Pin, Mt. Bevan, and Avalanche Peak. They did have one day of lashing rain, just enough for a rest and relaxation day in the hut. It's hard to believe so much water can be flung out of the sky in such a short time! A long, scenic walk out from the hut brought them back to civilization in Queenstown, where Andy overcame Kathy's better judgment and talked her into a bungy jump. Kathy admits that Andy's style and aplomb were more than she herself could muster up, and she settled for a craven slump headfirst into the void. A driving tour and sight seeing boat cruise on Milford Sound finished up the trip (and convinced Kathy there's lots more climbing to be done in the Darran Mountains).

Chris Kulp climbing Louise Falls, Banff Canada

Meanwhile, back in Chamonix....

Meanwhile, Mark had a bit of guiding work between classes. David Ewing and Derek Porter joined him for an ascent of the Cosmiques Arête on the Aiguille du Midi and a bit of waterfall climbing at La Crémerie, a local area near Argentière. Mark also worked with our friends and colleagues at the North American Ski Training Center (NASTC) guiding the off-piste sections of the their annual "Chamonix Ski Week".

Joshua Tree Rock

Back at home, in the last week of March Kathy joined Marian Marbury of Adventures in Good Company, for the second year in a row to teach a 7-day rock climbing course for women. Andy's wife Jan was along for the ride, as was two-year veteran Chick (without her pick for this one) Kirsten Rosvall. You can find out more about this very cool yearly Joshua Tree event by going to

Banff Waterfalls

While Kathy was basking in the sun of Southern California, Chris Kulp and Mark were enjoying the cold of winter, up in Canada again for the annual pilgrimage to Banff. As usual they had a mix of weather but did manage some good ascents. Probably the best of these was the Coire Dubh Intégrale, a long mixed climb with a bit of everything. Also memorable was the classic steep climbing on Weeping Wall Right.

Stowe Kelner and Dave Landman on the Haute Route.
Stowe, Kathy and Dave on the Col du Mont Brulé.

Chamonix to Zermatt Haute Route, twice

In April Mark and Kathy were together for another Chamonix to Zermatt Haute Route ski tour. We were joined by 7 skiers, Rick Luskin and Lori Stevenson from Los Angeles; Paul Farrelle from the Bay area; Martha Hilken from Santa Barbara; Clark Fox from Denver; and an old High School classmate! Christine Burnell and her daughter Ariel, who by the way, was learning French in the same program as Mark. The world is full of these tangled webs, it seems.

Kathy climbs up toward the Plateau du Couloir on the Haute Route.

While we had what are beginning to seem like the usual challenges with weather, our group was not only game and almost too much fun (if there can be such a thing!), but also very skilled skiers, and we managed to do most of the tour. We had an extra day in Zermatt at the end, and it being the first truly fine day we'd had, we took advantage of it to end the trip on an exhilarating note by descending the Schwarztor in perfect powder conditions. This tour is similar to the Vallée Blanche in Chamonix, a long glacier descent in a spectacular high mountain setting, and accessible by cable car. It's steeper and more demanding of skiing skills than the Vallée Blanche however, and the exit from the glacier snout at the end involves not only labyrinthine obstacle course type skiing through the ice formations, but also some pretty interesting use of fixed ropes, wooden pallets and burlap bags!!!

This tour was followed by a cold snap, and a bout with "The Swedish Plague", as we dubbed a vicious flu bug that swept through the young, alcohol weakened Swedish population of the French language school, and to which we both succumbed. We were back on our skis however in time to repeat the Haute Route, this time with Dave Landman and Stowe Kelner, both Americans living in London. I'm pleased to report that for the first time ever, we actually completed the entire tour from start to finish with no deviations! The bad weather was not as bad this time, being mostly cold and windy. This actually worked to our advantage by discouraging others, and we had several huts entirely to ourselves! Also to ourselves were several deliriously untouched powder runs, most notably that from the Trient Hut down the Arpette Valley to Champex, where the bus to Orsières pulled up just as we were taking off our skis.

Kathy skiing down the slopes of the Finsteraarhorn, Berner Oberland, Switzerland.

Kathy & Mark's skiing vacation

After saying good-bye to Dave and Stowe, we took a few days to ourselves to explore the Plateau du Couloir variation (the route of the first successful crossing in 1911). We were impressed with the quality of the skiing and the more remote feel to this tour, as well as the lovely town of Bourg-St. Pierre where we stayed in a beautiful little mountain hostel.

We also found some time to explore more of the huts, peaks and descents of the Berner Oberland. From Grindelwald we took the train to the Jungfraujoch, and toured in poor visibility to the Konkordia Hut. The following day was much better, and we skied over the Grünhornlücke to the Finsteraarhorn Hut for our second night. From there we climbed (most of) the Finsteraarhorn, and had a fantastic ski descent back to the hut. We continued east and finished that day at the Oberaarjoch Hut, again the only ones there. The following day was beautiful weather. We had perhaps the longest and most enjoyable descent of our entire season on this day: from the summit of the Vorder Galmihorn (fantastic views of a vast portion of the Swiss Alps) we skied 6000 feet of perfect corn- OK it got a little slushy at the end - to just above the town of Reckingen, a little village on the train line back to the upper Rhone valley.

For more information about these areas, or to check out some new photos and ski tour options, please visit our updated ski tours pages,

Guides Training and Exams

The rest of May was very hectic for Mark: once we got home he hit the ground running - first for Red Rocks in Nevada where he conducted a Rock Guides Exam for the American Mountain Guides Association, and then for the Cascades where, for the second, year he helped conduct the yearly guides training for Mountain Madness.

Ken Cooper, Ken Browne, Lynn Hirschkind and Paul Scanlon at the Moraine Camp on Alpamayo.

Paul Scanlon on Alpamayo's summit.

Alpamayo & Huascarán, Peru

Kathy mostly twiddled her thumbs and packed up for Peru, where in June we were together again for an expedition to Alpamayo. This time we were joined by Ken Cooper of the Boston area; Ken Browne from New Hampshire; Paul Scanlon from Seattle, and Lynn Hirschkind from Cuenca, Ecuador. This was a great, strong group and we all managed to summit, though not all on the same day. Again the weather was less than perfect, and again this worked in our favor, being good enough to do the climb, but bad enough to discourage others with whom we would have had to jostle for position in the lead. We saw a very significant increase in the numbers of climbers from 2 years ago.

Mark then headed back to climb in Canada with Chris Kulp, while Lynn and Ken Cooper stayed on with Kathy to sprint on up Huascarán. It's great to be so acclimated going into this climb, and to be able to move relatively quickly. We had very cold, but calm and sunny weather for our summit day. Some pretty interesting snow and ice formations had to be climbed, and Ken got to see the inside of a crevasse, and Kathy had a pretty tough day not feeling 100%, but despite these challenges we managed to get our sorry butts up and back down without permanent harm.

Chris Kulp high on Ha Ling Peak, NE Face route. Banff, Canada

Canadian Rockies

Chris and Mark had a great time in Canada meanwhile. As is so common in the Canadian Rockies early season (or any season, for that matter) the weather was mixed. When they first arrived the forecast looked perfect. But recent and very heavy snow made for some sloppy going up high. First on the list was Mount Victoria, and the pair headed straight away up to the Abbot Pass Hut. A warm and overcast night prevented the snow from freezing and the already unstable snowpack was just too steep above the hut to gamble with. They retreated, defeated but healthy.

Thinking that rock ascents might be a better choice, at least until the nights should cool off and the snow stabilize a bit, they chose Mount Louis. This is a great climb, and one they both thoroughly enjoyed. The fact that Conrad Kain climbed this peak in 1916 is an inspiration for all of us. A couple days later they were on the summit of Athabasca, having just climbed its North Face, one of the classic ice faces in the Columbia Icefields area. And finally, after being chased of Castle Mountain by threatening weather, they squeezed in a final climb of Ha Ling Peak via the NE Face, a very fun alpine rock route.

WHAT'S NEXT FOR 2001 and 2002?
Click the trips below for more information.

Chris Kulp on the North Face of Athabasca, Canada

July and August • Alps Mountaineering

So now after catching our breath we're heading back to the Alps again, for a couple of months climbing with several of you, gentle readers. We are already booked up for this year, and I would imagine you have made plans for this summer as well.

September and October • Cho Oyu Expedition

From Europe, we'll head almost directly to Cho Oyu. I imagine we'll have some stories to relate after that. We return home in mid-October, but dash straight away to Boulder, Colorado for the annual meetings of the American Mountain Guides Association. We should finally resurface again sometime in November.

December to March, 2002 • "Our Big Writing Project"

Our schedule for next year is a bit up in the air. We hope to be involved with a major writing project for the winter months, so we have tentatively planned no trips from December through March.

Early February, 2002• "Chicks With Picks"

Kathy Again will be teaching and having fun at the "Chicks With Picks" ice extravaganza in early February in Ouray.

April and May, 2002 • Haute Route and other Alps Ski Tours

In April we plan to head back to the Alps for more ski touring. We are offering 3 trips, one Chamonix to Zermatt Haute Route with the Verbier start, one Haute Route which includes the classic route via the Plateau du Couloir, and a great tour of the Berner Oberland. We have also blocked out about 10 days for a private ski tour for you or your group of friends. This slot is still available, but our guess is that it will go soon. If you are interested please let us know.

June and part of July, 2002 • Mountaineering in Peru

One thing we would very much like to do in June of 2002 is to explore more options for climbing in the Cordillera Blanca. There is a lot more to do besides the increasingly crowded Alpamayo and Huascarán. The Ishinca Valley is particularly interesting, being very quick and easy of access from Huaraz, and having both easier acclimatization peaks, and harder projects like Toccllaraju. The base camp is roomy and convenient to all the peaks, or there is the option to stay in the new hut funded by Italian monks from the Salesian Order and built by Peruvian volunteers. We would like to explore a three valleys traverse from the Cojup valley to the south, over a glaciated col and into the Ishinca valley, and on into the Quebrada Aquilpo to the north, climbing peaks along the way. A visit to an Inca ruin could wrap up this 10 - 12 day trip.

We will also be returning to Alpamayo. And for those that want to take good advantage of their hard won acclimatization, we will do an 8 day "add-on expedition to Huascarán.

July to September, 2002 • Alps Mountaineering

Again, we will return to the Alps next year. This year our Alps season was completely booked up about 8 months in advance. Next year might be even more busy. If you think you would like to join us there, we need to get you on the schedule soon–give us a call (or perhaps an email might have a better chance of catching us) to talk about dates.

So that's as far as we've gotten with plans for this coming year. We hope to see some of you in our travels, and wish you all a great year with plenty of time to commune with the nature gods whether in the mountains or some other landscape.

For more information about any and all of the above destinations or expeditions, please feel free to contact us by phone, mail or email, and also to visit our website at

We sincerely hope you'll be able to join us somewhere in the mountains this year, it's always a pleasure to climb and ski with you all.

Enjoy your Summer!

Kathy & Mark
1627 Dunbar Lane
Bishop, CA 93514

phone: 760-872-3811

Chris Kulp at Abbot Pass, Banff Canada


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

AMGA Certified
Rock, Alpine, & Ski Mountaineering Guides

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