Team Aconcagua/Don-Davis-FoSchizzle-Byrner, 2011
Happy New Year! Tomorrow is my last day of work; the trip is finally here. The first big piece of my voyage south is an expedition up the highest peak in South America, Aconcagua, 22,841ft.
After being guided on previous trips in the Cascades and Andes, I decided that for Aconcagua I didn’t want a guide. The accumulated skills of some of my best friends with whom I’ve climbed for the past few years in the Sierra make this peak well within our reach. Moreover, isn’t it purer and far more fun to climb a big mountain with close friends rather than paying a few grand to be led to the summit?
So here we are, team Aconcagua 2011! We’re still working out a creative team name–a combination of last names, Don-Davis-FoSchissel-Byrner– but for now, here’s the lineup:
Jeremy Foster, aka: Foster. I met Foster at my last job, AYUSA Global Youth Exchange, in December 2007. When I started, I heard that there was an outdoorsy guy that hiked the PCT with his girlfriend. “Cool”, I thought. I needed a climbing partner and in March of ’08, I convinced Jeremy to buy an ice axe and crampons, strap on some snowshoes and climb a snowy peak in the Sierra during a storm. We had a blast and from then on were climbing together every chance we had.
Ryan Davis, aka Davis. Also from AYUSA. Davis and Foster are best friends. After my trip with Jeremy in March ’08, Jeremy, Ryan and I organized a guys’ trip to Matterhorn Peak in northern Yosemite. Davis provided the wheels, music and late-night musings about life and the future over yee ole’ whiskey bladder. Since that initial trip, Ryan came along on just about every other Sierra jaunt. Now, freshly liberated from cubicle life, Davis seeks longer trips and more distant peaks for his late night musings around the fire, whiskey bladder in hand.
Chris, aka “Knuckles” or “Chico”. I don’t really remember where I met Chris, probably at Davis’s house over beers. What I do remember is Chris coming on the Matterhorn trip with Davis and Foster. Somehow he trusted me to lead the group into the wrong couloir, far above our skill level at the time. Chris is a man of few words, but after our climb, he and I stayed up around the campfire speaking Spanish. Three years later, Knuckles and I still love thumping up snowy couloirs and this time, we won’t be the only ones speaking Spanish in the mountains.
Eliza, aka “Little Boots”, “Oracle” and “Koala”. Eliza and Jeremy just got married, thus making their last name FoSchissel. Little Boots first came along on our snowy Memorial Day trip in 2008 to climb Mt. Lyell… in mesh running shoes. Back at camp she added to the hilarity of the group with her hard core hip hop and 19th century poetry recitals. After Aconcagua, team FoSchissel will be traveling the world for two years or so before settling down somewhere out west.
Then there’s me, Steve. Everyone calls me the Byrner. I’m lucky enough to have everybody on this team join me in climbing Aconcagua. When I decided to do this trip, I was alone and in need of partners. Almost immediately after I sent out a message to my friends, the four above told me that they were all in. What more could a guy ask from his friends? I can’t wait to wake up above the clouds at dawn and share coffee and stories with these guys. Vamos al Sur!!!!