Cerro San Lorenzo Testimonials

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.

2018 Climber

I very much enjoyed the expedition. The overall quality was excellent, particularly given that this was AAI’s first expedition to Cerro San Lorenzo. Everything from lodging to group gear to food to the itinerary were well planned and executed and the guides were adept at making changes as circumstances dictated. The experience was both fun and challenging.

Paul demonstrated exceptional leadership. In situations where there were several viable options with respect to moving up the mountain, he did an excellent job of communicating the pros and cons of each option and guiding the team to a consensus decision. He also did not hesitate to let the team know when there was only one safe option. He did an excellent job in balancing the desire to provide the team with a full experience and keeping us safe. As noted above, he was adept at making alternative arrangements when we left the mountain one day earlier than scheduled due to weather. He also did a very good job working with the local guide. And the extra added bonus was Paul’s wife, Breezy. Although a client and not a guide, she provided significant assistance in many respects, including helping the rest of us get on our crampons in high winds, cooking several delicious meals and cleaning up after meals, and building a bomber snow wall at our second camp. I was having difficulty downclimbing a rocky slope because my pack would throw me off balance and she kindly carried my pack down that pitch. And she was an absolute delight to spend time with. She definitely added significantly to the overall quality of the experience.

The guides did a great job of providing both formal instruction, for example practice using prussiks and setting up our tents, and in providing “on the go” guidance while we were climbing and also sharing information during our meals at the hut. This was my 6th AAI trip and I continue to learn useful information on the trips. One example that I learned and implemented on this trip was “happy socks” – keeping one pair for sleeping in the sleeping bag that is swapped with the hiking socks at night.

Paul and our local guide Nathaniel were a pleasure to be with. In addition to being very capable guides, they were interesting, kind and fun companions during our two weeks in Patagonia. Paul was especially helpful to me during the last part of our descent down the mountain, which was on rocks and scree that could be challenging. I was moving a bit more slowly than some in the group and Paul stayed back with me and chatted which very much helped take my mind off my tired legs! As noted before, Breezy was an added bonus – she had so many interesting stories to share and very much helped pass the time during the day we spent at out first camp to wait out high winds by visiting our tent.

The staff was very responsive when I had questions about gear. The course materials had a few inconsistencies, which is not unexpected with a new program and that were quickly fixed when brought to the attention of the office staff. The tents were easy to put up and held up well in some pretty windy conditions. The food was excellent and it was clear that the guides (and Breezy) put a lot of thought and effort into the menu planning.

The strengths were the quality of the guides, the beauty of the area, the warmth of the Chileans, my fantastic teammates, the food, and the challenges posed by the Patagonian weather and climbing the mountain without porters. I felt like I had a true alpine experience even without summiting. This climb would serve as an excellent prep for Denali given the need to carry loads and the interesting weather. The asado at the Soto Campo was another highlight – it was a truly magical night.

2018 Climber


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