Foiled by weather!

posted Jun 16, 2014, 8:40 AM by Sophie Cairns

May 1, 2014:
Just a quick note to say that I'm back from Russia, and that for the first time in this project we had to turn back from the summit because of bad weather. We had gotten as far as high camp when the forecast called for tempertures of -37C and winds of 50km/h and more. Brrr..! 

It seemed safest to head down given the outlook. Back-up plans are in place though. Fortunately Elbrus is one of the most affordable volcanoes to climb and I will be returning in early June under my own steam. It's also the very last one, so I'm determined to complete the Seven Volcanoes project. This means it would be done in 5 months rather than 4, which would still be an unofficial record. Until then, many prayers to the weather gods are in order...

In Cheget village at the base of Mt Elbrus!

posted May 1, 2014, 5:18 AM by Sophie Cairns   [ updated May 1, 2014, 5:19 AM ]

April 25, 2014:
Just arrived in the Caucasus region of Russia after an overnight flight to Moscow and another to Mineralnye Vody. Tired but excited - hard to believe this is the last climb! Wish me luck!!

Made it to the summit of Mt Damavand, Iran!

posted May 1, 2014, 5:16 AM by Sophie Cairns   [ updated May 1, 2014, 5:17 AM ]

April 17, 2014:
Summited Asia's highest volcano on Tuesday! Mt Damavand is absolutely beautiful - was a slog and managed to inhale a few lungfuls of sulphur at the top, but had a great climb all round. See photos and details here!

Made it up Kilimanjaro!

posted Apr 17, 2014, 8:21 AM by Sophie Cairns   [ updated Apr 17, 2014, 8:22 AM ]

April 4, 2014:
Just a quick update from Tanzania! 
MADE IT up Kilimanjaro!  Tough, tough summit day on the Marangu route, which took us from 2,700m-3,700m-4,700m-summit in 4 days. Seemed harder on summit night than the Lemosho route in 2009 - a lot of throwing up and everyone suffering. Myself and one other person were the only ones to make it to Uhuru peak at 5,895m so it was hard earned! 

So glad to be unwinding now... more later.

Off to Kilimanjaro next week!

posted Apr 3, 2014, 11:28 PM by Sophie Cairns   [ updated Apr 3, 2014, 11:28 PM ]

March 26, 2014:
Quick update: a few people have been asking how things are going.. one word: HECTIC. I've been dashing about like a happy but headless chicken  (see below for illustration) and will be posting detailed updates soon.

In the meantime, it's off to climb Africa's highest volcano! The mighty Kilimanjaro was actually my first mountain, back in 2009. We were a group of friends completely new to climbing / trekking, and although we had a wonderful time, five years on it looks like I'm the only one still doing it. Good memories and fun times.

At the top of Mt Giluwe, Australasia's highest volcano!

posted Mar 26, 2014, 9:52 AM by Sophie Cairns   [ updated Mar 26, 2014, 9:54 AM ]

March 3, 2014:
Greetings from Papua New Guinea! Just a short update for now - on March 1 we reached the summit of Mt Giluwe, which is located in the rugged Highlands of this beautiful country.

The trip was quick but tough: 10 hours to hike to base camp, followed by summit day in the chilly driving rain and fog (including some climbing on slippery rock) followed by the descent and another 7-8 hours of hiking back to the village. Not to mention jetlag and marching through the jungle in darkness!

My boots still haven't dried out, though at least they're no longer containing actual pools of water. Many thanks to the ace team from Paiya Tours and Mt Giluwe Eco Tourism for a brilliant time and keeping me safe. More details and photos to follow.

Ojos del Salado: update

posted Mar 2, 2014, 3:18 PM by Sophie Cairns   [ updated Mar 2, 2014, 3:20 PM ]

Feb. 21, 2014:
It's been a few weeks since setting out for Ojos del Salado, Chile, and as several of you have guessed, there has been a slight change in plans. Long story short, due to a number of different reasons (AMS, guide malfunction, time constraints) our group didn't get to the top. 

But only for now! A return trip (at minimal cost hopefully!) is being planned, and everything is being geared towards a successful summit day, including extra acclimatisation time. My better half is also coming over for the first week, which shows what a lucky girl I am :) . 

More soon!

Off to Ojos del Salado tomorrow!

posted Feb 21, 2014, 5:05 AM by Sophie Cairns   [ updated Feb 21, 2014, 5:06 AM ]

Jan. 30, 2014:
Feels like only a few days since getting back from Pico de Orizaba! I'm jumping back across the pond again tomorrow to Chile, to climb the highest volcano of the project: Ojos del Salado, at almost 7,000m. The expedition will last just over two weeks and hopefully acclimatisation will be much more gradual this time..for details on the expedition please click here. Wish me luck!

I'll be sending out updates on Twitter (@SevenVolcanoes) and Facebook. You can also follow our progress via the GPS tracking map.

Two down, five more to go: Made it up Pico de Orizaba!

posted Jan 30, 2014, 7:55 AM by Sophie Cairns   [ updated Feb 21, 2014, 5:06 AM ]

Jan. 17, 2014:
Tina and I summited Pico de Orizaba, North America's highest volcano, on Jan. 17! It was a very tough climb as the altitude had pretty brutal effects, but the good news is we're down now and feeling fine. Click here for the write-up!

In Mexico, with Pico de Orizaba towering 3km above us!

posted Jan 19, 2014, 8:06 AM by Sophie Cairns   [ updated Jan 20, 2014, 10:28 AM ]

January 14, 2014
Tina and I have arrived in Tlachichuca, Mexico, to tackle North America's highest volcano Pico de Orizaba! Summit day on Friday looks set to be tough, going from base camp (Piedra Grande) at 4,200m to above 5,600m in one push. Our base camp is about the same height as the summit of Mt Sidley! It will be interesting to see how we react to the altitude

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