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

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!

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.

Pain is Temporary

Pain is temporary; the summit can make us extremely happy! Finally, we reached the summit of Mt. Elbrus together, 18,481′, highest mountain in Russia and the continent of Europe, achieving the second of our Seven Summits, in the summer of 1993.

Elbrus Summit Bids

After climbing throughout the night and into the morning awhile back, here was our team’s final route to the summit of Mt. Elbrus. Very exciting, lots of climbers led by International Mountain Guides reached the summit this week!

Pain Can Work

Pain can work. After sleeping in the hut at over 13,500’, we woke up at midnight and had a 5,000 foot day to climb to the summit of Mt. Elbrus. Here was Phil’s response: “Once or twice a year Sue used her hard-earned vacation days to come along. We woke up in the sleeping hut the morning of our summit climb and Sue felt completely trashed. Her head was pounding and she didn’t think she could move. I’d suggested she stay at the hut. We were going for the experience, not for the summit, and I only wanted her climbing if it was going to be fun. But Sue had said, “Well, I can stay here and feel like crap or I can climb and feel like crap. If I’m going to feel like crap I might as well go.” After a little bit of climbing she had begun to feel better, which hadn’t surprised me. Sometimes movement is the best medicine for altitude ills.”

High Camp on Elbrus, Russia

After a few days of acclimatizing, training and making practice climbs in the Caucasus we set out to climb to the hut on Mt. Elbrus. The summit of Elbrus is 18,481’, the hut where we would sleep was approximately 13,500’. Almost there and felt fine until the middle of the night!