Susan's Blog


Trekking in Bhutan

When we were preparing to climb over 16,000’ in Bhutan, eastern Himalayas, loved this nice trek to Paro Taktsang, a beautiful monastery also known as Tiger’s Nest. Trekking at first always led to getting acclimatized.

Phil and Susan Ershler at the Tiger’s Nest Monastery in Bhutan

The Third Kili Still Great

Climbing up to the summit again, on our third climb of Kilimanjaro, was delightful! (Highest mountain in Africa, 19,340’)

Susan Ershler on the Kilimanjaro expedition

The Denver Blue Bear

Events in Denver are always wonderful. The giant 40’ blue bear is still peeking into the Convention Center this week :-)!

The Highest Spot in Antarctica

Today on December 3, 1998, in a twelve hour day, we reached the summit of Vinson. The sun was so strong that with all the heavy breathing, I burned the inside of my mouth on the reflection from the ice. But who cared? We’d made it! We’d stood on the top of the bottom of the world! (Highest peak in Antarctica!)

Climbing to Camp 1 on Vinson

After our last night at Vinson Massif base camp in Antarctica, we headed up to Camp 1 to get closer to the summit. Even though it was bitter cold at times, loved this climb with our team!

Like Landing on the Moon

Once we landed on the ice at Vinson base camp in Antarctica, it was like landing on the moon. There was no vegetation, no color, no living creatures—nothing but ice as far as the eye could see. We set up our tents—bright spots of color in the all-white world. The next day, it was a beautiful sunny morning so we climbed and carried gear, food, etc. from base camp, delivered it to Camp 1 and then descended back down to base camp. It took us from 11:30 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. which led to a nice long sleep in the tents.

Written in the Ice

The first year Phil and I started dating, 1992, he took off to guide climbers up Vinson Massif in Antarctica in November. We missed each other on Thanksgiving that year; however he took this picture with my name carved into the snow when he landed at base camp. This so inspired me to climb Vinson Massif in the future!

The Seven Summits Dream Born in Antarctica

Today, a while ago, we left Seattle to climb Vinson Massif, 16,067 feet, the highest mountain in Antarctica! Just getting there was an adventure: flying first to Punta Arenas, Chile, the very tip of South America, and then, in a C130 cargo plane, 2,000 miles more to Patriot Hills, just 600 miles from the South Pole.

I’d seen pictures of the endless ice and the midnight daylight, and I was eager (if a little nervous) to see them for myself. But I was also excited because Vinson would be our fifth of the Seven Summits.

I had told Phil my hope of doing all seven, and he’d rolled his eyes the way he does when he thinks I’m chasing a pipe-dream, but after Aconcagua, I didn’t think it was that unreasonable. He, himself, admitted that I’d done fine at 22,841 feet, and that he believed I could climb higher.