Cerro San Lorenzo was an awesome expedition on so many levels. It was evident from the beginning that a tremendous amount of thought and planning took place before we even arrived in Balmaceda. I immediately felt the positive energy and excitement when meeting Paul, Breezy and Nataniel for the first time. It was very special that Paul had such deep ties and experience in Chilean Patagonia. I also appreciated that Alpine Ascents had Nataniel explore the mountain prior to our arrival to provide first hand knowledge of the route and conditions. It was clear from day one that Breezy was way more than a “client” with a tremendous skill set which played out as essentially having a third guide. I was the least experienced climber on the expedition, but loved having the opportunity to learn from everyone and challenge myself in a remote setting. I really admired Paul’s decision making process regarding the difficult weather conditions and felt entirely confident that he made safe and wise decisions throughout the entire trip. This was definitely a successful expedition in that we worked well as a group with terrific leadership and came home safely.
Paul is an outstanding leader for several reasons including his ability to observe each client individually to anticipate strengths and weaknesses. I was also impressed that he actively listened to what was important to each of us when making decisions as a team and facilitated transparent conversations about whether to move camp or stay put. Paul remained remarkably calm and collected in deteriorating conditions during our descent off the mountain which totally set the stage for us as clients.
Although Breezy was technically a “client” on the trip, she demonstrated strong leadership and teamwork skills. She picked up quickly that one of the clients would perform best if positioned directly behind a guide. Breezy also carried a tremendous amount of gear between camps, cooked delicious meals, and demonstrated how to build effective snow walls for wind protection. I was also very impressed with her helping clients put on crampons and puffy pants in 100 km/hr winds. Totally humble and fun to be around. Breezy will be an outstanding guide if she ever decides to go in that direction.
Nataniel was very kind and hardworking. Definitely appreciated the delicious meals he cooked, help with cleanup, snow melting etc.
Paul pulled out several maps and gave a terrific overview of the history/geography/culture of Cerro San Lorenzo and Chilean Patagonia. The gear check and refresher on setting up the North Face tents was also where we learned lots of pearls. Paul spent part of an afternoon teaching a very useful hands on crevasse rescue session. I was also impressed that Paul took the time to teach me basic rappelling technique even when conditions were less than ideal. I am fortunate in that Paul will be one of my guides this upcoming May in Alaska so he spent a lot of time and energy discussing gear, logistics, conditions on Denali etc. Breezy was particularly helpful on the first day we were on snow demonstrating appropriate glacier travel. She was very observant and gave helpful tips.
Paul, Breezy and Nataniel were all super tranquilo and easy to get along with. Lots of laughs. I felt totally comfortable. Terrific conditions of the tent, ropes etc. Definitely satisfied with the food. Impressed with the creative and delicious meals that Breezy, Paul and Nataniel put together. Felt like we had more than enough food.
Definitely believe that this is a trip many climbers would enjoy so I hope it becomes offered annually. Absolutely special because of the remote location and spectacular landscape. Great Denali Prep course. Totally possible I will join this climb again in the future! Can’t thank all of you enough for making this trip happen.