Rob DesLauriers 
John Falkiner 
Frederik Jacobi 
Kit Katzenbach 
Ace Kvale 
Kasha Rigby 
Scot Schmidt 
Jim Zellers 

Whipped After 15 Times Zones
Sunday, March 21, 1999 — 7:27am (PST)

Ace Kvale
Hear Ace's Call from Base Camp
(Requires free Windows Media Player)

Hi you guys. This is Ace Kvale calling from Siberia and I just want to tell you that things are going great. We've passed through 15 time zones, everybody's been pretty jet lagged, but last night we got 12 hours of sleep — it was great.

And for some strange reason, we had to leave our passports in Barnaul, Siberia. I guess when we pass back through they'll give them to us, but maybe they keep their eye on passports here or something so you don't pass into another country... I don't know. It's all a bit strange to us, but people have been really friendly and it's been great.

We've been up here at Base Camp and we're sleeping in these barrels you heard about, and the Russians are looking after us like you can't believe. It's been really fantastic.

We went on a little reconnaissance ski tour today. I went up a 2,000 foot couloir right above our camp and skied beautiful, beautiful spring conditions. Very wind stripped, very windy, the mountains are really wind blown like a gigantic storm came through here and took all the snow away, but we found a beautiful slope to ski right back to camp.

We saw some fox tracks and some different animal tracks up there and just looked into this unbelievable mountain range. It's just so beautiful, but the north face of Belukha is covered in ice. It's blue and grey, and we can't completely see the ski route that we want to do yet — it's still hidden until we travel farther up the valley, but the main face is covered. And we're going to have to go all the way around toward the Mongolian side of the mountain to climb and hopefully there will be a great slope up there. We've seen some pictures and it looks like its possible to go way in there.

Last night it got to 30-below here at Base Camp, but the base has been pretty nice and sunny — down into just like the fleece jackets and still need your gloves on and stuff but 30-below last night. Sunny days, windy, just like the mountains around the Canadian-American border, you know, and I just can't say how great it is with these people.

We've been skiing — they have a sauna here, they have this most beautiful sauna. And as far as becoming a team, we're getting really well acquainted, we know each other pretty well, we're in two little barrels, 10 of us, with our Russian friends, and at the sauna, at the lake at Base Camp, we have to break the ice to go for the cold water dip after the sauna. It's unbelievable. Sounds scary, but it's so great. I know you guys would love it.

And in the sauna, they're whipping us with some birch branches, just like you've heard about in Finland. It's unbelievable.

Food is awesome, some of the things are pretty strange, there's some tastes we've never had, and things are going really great. I can say it's been one of the nicest trips to Russia I've ever had. We've travelled here so easily, and that's all I'm going to say for now and things are going really good. That's all for now, this is Ace Kvale out from Siberia.

Ace Kvale, skier, mountaineer and photographer


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