About AWExpeditions

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The birth of AWE

The idea for AWE was born during a solitary Aconcagua climb in 2014. Today, AWE is running trips across multiple continents.

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AWE Trips are different

Our trips aren’t just about getting to the summit; we care about education, building skills towards self-sufficiency, and camaraderie.

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The people behind AWE

AWExpeditions is run by Sunny Stroeer, a passionate high altitude climber and advocate for women empowerment.

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The Full Story

It all started with a simple climb

It started with a solo, unsupported ascent of 22,838ft Aconcagua’s Normal Route. That type of ascent is not a big deal on Aconcagua since the normal route is heavily frequented and not technically difficult; the mountain sees numerous solo ascents each season. But for some reason… this climb was different.

Why? Because the climber was a woman, and that seemed to upset the normal order of things.

Sunny Stroeer was a management consultant and weekend warrior when she decided to climb Aconcagua solo and without support in the austral summer of 2014 - not to make a statement, but because Aconcagua seemed like the perfect (meaning: most approachable and least hazardous) mountain to attempt as a relatively new but motivated high altitude mountaineer. She wanted to push her personal mountaineering limits in a comparatively safe environment.

Which is why she was taken aback by the common reaction she encountered on the mountain:

“Where is your guide? Or are you here with your husband? Wait - you’re all by yourself?”

Sunny returned home to the US after a successful climb with a newfound appreciation for both high altitude climbing and the gender gap in mountaineering. Having been deeply involved in efforts to address gender bias and women empowerment both in graduate school and throughout her corporate career, Sunny decided to take a step beyond simply lamenting the gender gap in the mountains and instead actively do something about it; the seed for AWE was planted.

Five years later, AWE runs all-women’s (and a few co-ed but predominantly-female) high mountain trips across three continents, with more destinations in the works.


 
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AWE-some climbs

Here at AWE we are about more than getting to the top. Sure, summits matter - but what’s even more important is how you got there.

AWE climbs aim to provide environments that are focused on skill-building, sound decision-making and supportive team dynamics. That’s why our teams are small (typically no larger than 4-6 climbers) and our itineraries balance the desire to cover ground with sufficient time for acclimatization and skills practice as needed.

Pre-expedition support includes comprehensive gear lists, individualized training recommendations, and of course a detailed description of any trip’s logistics and on-mountain itinerary.

Success in our book: to have you walk away from any AWE climb having made memories for a lifetime and feeling one step closer towards self-sufficiency in the mountains.


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Testimonials

Our small group was nimble and able to change plans based on interest and feel rather than being stuck to a pre-ordained itinerary. I also learned a ton on this trip so that I will be more self sufficient in the mountains. I can’t recommend Sunny and AWE highly enough!
— Tara, Mera Peak 2017
[Sunny] is a strong, intelligent leader with a realistic understanding of the circumstances and limitations of the group in the moment and over the course of the expedition. Before the expedition she set forth some expectations of ability with training milestones to meet to be set up for success. During the expedition she will encourage and push for your own inner strength to shine through but will also suggest a descent if needed. That is why I’d follow her anywhere - I trust her level of awareness and knack for safety!!
— Teresa, Aconcagua 2016
 
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The Team behind AWE

 
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Sunny Stroeer - Founder & trip leader

Sunny started leading multi-day backcountry trips in the mid-2000s as a student at Harvard College. She went on to obtain an MBA from Harvard Business School and pursue a career as a management consultant while simultaneously expanding her climbing and mountaineering skill set. At the end of 2015, Sunny decided to leave behind the business world in order to focus full-time on climbing and running mountains. Today, she is a professional mountain athlete with multiple speed records on Aconcagua, the Annapurna Circuit, and in the Colorado Rockies. Sunny is a Wilderness First Responder and an AIARE Level II avalanche professional. You can find out more about her over at www.sunnystroeer.com.

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Paul Gagner - logistics manangement & basecamp support

Paul is Sunny’s husband, and a prolific climber with four decades of expedition experience around the world. While Paul’s speciality rests with big wall climbing in North America, his mountaineering resume includes Denali via the South Face (3rd ascent of the Haston-Scott route), Cerro Torre, Fitzroy, and attempts on 21,184ft Baghirathi III.

Paul heads up logistics management for most AWE climbs and provides remote basecamp and communications support.

If you’re curious to learn more about Paul, check out this Gripped Magazine story:
That Time Inuit Hunters Rescued Starving Climbers.

 
 
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Tara Miranda
accomplished adventurer, 100 mile ultra runner and assistant leader for AWE x Aconcagua!

 
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Dr. Gudrun Ströer
practicing physician of forty years with first-hand high altitude and expedition experience; AWE’s medical advisor

 
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Outdoor Himalayan Treks
& INKA Expediciones

trusted logistics partners in Nepal and Argentina

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