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Expedition Dispatches From Around The Globe!

Posts for every team can be found under the drop-down menus at the right of this page.  We have organized our expeditions into Denali, International and Mount Everest categories, with further organization by their Team Meeting Date.

Click on the audio dispatch icons to hear phone calls from our climbers and guides, so that you can better enjoy the experience through their words, not ours.  Above all, have fun and dream big!

June 23 Team – Garbled Last Message From the Glacier

By: Mountain Trip

The team on our June 23 West Buttress expedition made quick time descending from the 17,200′ high camp and they arrived at the 7,200′ base camp this morning.  It was cold at all elevations last night, making for very solid conditions for traveling.  They collected supplies that had been cached at 14,200′, 11,200′ and 7,800′ while they made their way down the mountain.

Half of the team has already flown out and are back in Talkeetna, and we expect the remaining climbers to fly out within the next hour or two.  The weather for flying is a bit unsettled, so there is a chance that some climbers might get to spend an extra night on the glacier, but we are optimistic and are hoping that they all sleep on a soft bed tonight.

Great job everyone.  It’s unfortunate that their arrival at high camp coincided with a spike in avalanche hazard, but they did well to push so high in the face of challenging conditions.

Here is a mostly unintelligible call from Eric West:

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June 23 Denali Team – Headed Down to BC

By: Mountain Trip

The June 23 Team spent yesterday watching wind load snow onto the steep, rising traverse above high camp known as the Autobahn.  They had hoped for a calm day, with sunny skies, so that the snow that had fallen on the Autobahn would have an opportunity to settle and stabilize.  At such cold latitudes, it takes snow longer to settle than it does in warmer temperatures.  The winds of yesterday served to exacerbate the hazard, and the team has determined that they just don’t have sufficient time or reserves to wait for the wind-loaded slopes to stabilize.  They are looking at a two day descent, and are scheduled to fly out no later than Monday, so they have chosen to capitalize on the clear day below them to begin their descent.

As one of our guides wrote in a recent post, Denali can be fickle.  Our team was hammered by rough weather lower on the mountain and missed a brief window that opened to allow them to move up, which translated to arriving at high camp just in time for a significant snowstorm that increased avalanche hazards beyond what our guides felt was acceptable.  The climbers are healthy and that defines success in our mind, so we’d like to extend a hearty congratulations to each climber for his and her hard efforts over the course of the past 19 days.  We’ll post an update when they arrive at Base Camp, which will probably be at some point on Sunday.

 

Posted in 2013 Denali - June 23 Team | Tagged | 1 Comment

June 23 Team – Wind, Snow and Sun at High Camp

By: Mountain Trip

Adam Smith called in from high camp, following a long night of maintaining their tents under the relentless pressure of Mother Nature.  It “snowed and blowed” last night and the team awoke at regular intervals to dig their tents out from the accumulating flakes.  The sun came out in the morning, however, and they enjoyed a much more pleasant day at the 17,200′ elevation.

The route up from high camp crosses a short section of what is known as accumulation zone, at the very top edge of the Peter’s Glacier, before climbing somewhat steeply onto a long snowy face that is crossed via a rising traverse.  Known in the dark humor of Alaskan climbing as “The Autobahn,” this stretch demands respect.  The guides have assessed the newly fallen snow on that stretch as posing some degree of avalanche hazard, and so they are planning to give it at least another day to settle out, before venturing onto the Autobahn.  They still have time left on their planned schedule and everyone is doing well, so they’ll just sit tight and let things mellow out a bit.

Here is Adam Smith, calling from 17,200′:

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Denali June 23 Team – High Camp!

By: Mountain Trip

Most of the team moved to high camp today, while some are planning to remain at the 14,200 ft camp with Mt Trip guide Blaine.   They did great on the move, and the weather cooperated for most of the day until the afternoon when winds picked up, but they are all settled into high camp now.   They’ll take a rest day tomorrow and then hope to get a shot at the summit as early as Thursday!

Here’s Nick with the evening audio dispatch.

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June 9 Denali – Final Thoughts From Caitlin

By: Mountain Trip

Denali is a fickle gal and she certainly threw a few curve balls our way. Record high temperatures in Talkeetna made for dangerous rockfall conditions around Windy Corner and on the fixed lines, causing us to travel at night even on the upper mountain. We could also smell and see the smoke from wild fires burning north of the mountain and had to navigate a gaping bergschrund coming down the fixed lines. Not to mention the thunder and lightning storm on summit day!

Team “Into Thin Hair” did a great job adapting to all these unusual challenges and being patient in waiting for our weather windows. We shared quite a few laughs over dinner in the mid (kitchen tent).

On behalf of the guide team, I want to thank all the climbers and let you know how much we all enjoyed getting to know you and climbing with you.

Keep Climbing,

Caitlin Hague

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Back in Anchorage

By: Mountain Trip

The weather finally cleared just enough for planes to reach base camp today and our friends at Talkeetna Air Taxi swooped in and picked them all up.   Special thanks to those guys for working hard to get our climbers out safely today in challenging conditions.   After a short time in Talkeetna to get some food, everyone loaded up into our Mountain Trip van and headed back to Anchorage for the night.    We’ll get the guides to do a final trip wrap-up in the next day or so, but everyone is back down the Alaskan civilization tonight.

Posted in 2013 - Denali June 15 Team, 2013 Denali - June 17 Team, Alaska | Tagged | No Comments

June 24th Team Heading Down Tonight

By: Mountain Trip

The team rested today at the 14,200 ft camp after summitting a few days ago.  One team member tweaked a knee coming down from high camp, so they spent a day resting before continuing the descent.   They’ll take off early in the morning tomorrow and head towards base.

Here’s Pablo checking in with an evening dispatch.

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Rest and Acclimating at 14k

By: Mountain Trip

It was a day for the team to rest up and acclimatize before moving up to high camp and pushing for the summit.   They hope to push on up to the 17,200ft high camp tomorrow.

Here’s Eric with the evening dispatch.

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Posted in 2013 Denali - June 23 Team, Alaska | Tagged | No Comments

Waiting at Base Camp

By: Mountain Trip

The team is at base camp for another night tonight, waiting for the clouds to clear so planes can fly into base camp and pick them up.  The planes can only fly into the mountains when there is visibility, so the low cloud layer has prevented them from reaching base camp for the last 2 days.  They are all well, if a bit anxious to get back to a cold beer and a warm shower.   We’ll hope for a bit of clearing in the morning.

Posted in 2013 Denali - June 17 Team, Alaska | Tagged | No Comments

Heading down the mountain

By: Mountain Trip

The climbers packed up camp at 17,200 ft this morning and started down the hill.  They stopped at the 14,000 camp for a rest and some food, and plan to continue on down to base camp tonight and should be there some time tomorrow.

Posted in 2013 - Denali June 15 Team, Alaska | Tagged | 2 Comments

June 23rd Team Climbs to 16,200 ft

By: Mountain Trip

The team climbed up to 16,200 ft today to acclimatize for their move to high camp and to cache a bit of food and fuel.  It’s a big day as they encounter some of the steepest terrain of the trip, and a 600 vertical foot section of fixed lines used for protection.

Here’s Adam with the update.

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June 24th Team Summits!

By: Mountain Trip

Congratulations to all the climbers on the June 24th team who reached the summit of Denali today!  It was a windy day, and the weather was deteriorating in the afternoon, but they were able to get to the summit and are now back safely in high camp.

Here’s guide Ted Grosgebauer with the evening audio dispatch.

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Eli Calls from Camp 3 at 14,200 ft

By: Mountain Trip

Eli called in this evening to give us an update on the team.  They moved up from the 11,000 camp yesterday after waiting out some bad weather for 6 days.  They are pretty happy to be climbing again!

Listen to Eli.

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Posted in 2013 Denali - June 24 Team PRIVATE, Alaska | Tagged | No Comments

Safely back to camp tonight

By: Mountain Trip

The climbers pushed for the summit today, but their brief window of good weather shut down again and they were forced to turn around before getting to the top today.  It hard to make the decision to turn around, but we are happy to hear that they are all safely back in camp tonight.

Here’s Kim with an audio dispatch from high camp.

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Posted in 2013 - Denali June 15 Team, Alaska | Tagged | 3 Comments

June 17th Team in Base Camp

By: Mountain Trip

The team arrived in base camp this evening after descending through the night last night from high camp.  They gave it a good effort, and waited out a bunch of bad weather, but ran out of time on their trip.  They are waiting in base camp now, as the continued cloudy weather isn’t allowing planes to fly in to pick them up.  Simon and Zac flew out last night in a brief spell of clear weather and are back in Anchorage already.

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Going for the Summit!

By: Mountain Trip

Pearl and Anis along with guides Kim Grant and Dan Starr left for the summit this morning as they watched the weather improve a bit. They hope to take advantage of a break from the winds and snow and get to the top late today.   Cason and Tyler remained in high camp and will be waiting for their return with some hot soup and dinner.  Best of luck to the team today!

Posted in 2013 - Denali June 15 Team, Alaska | Tagged | No Comments

Denali June 23 Team – Camped at 14,200′!

By: Mountain Trip

Well, the weather finally let up a little, and the team packed up camp and departed the 11,200′ basin for a new home!

They climbed up the moderately steep Motorcycle Hill in cold and windy conditions, but the wind slackened as their morning went on, and by the time the arrived at 14,200′, it was still and the sun had warmed things up quite a bit.  The move up to this camp makes for a long, hard day and the team is relaxing in the relative comfort of a custom kitchen tent, warmed by the purr of a half dozen stoves.

Tomorrow, they will drop back down to retrieve a cache that they had buried at about 13,700′ several days ago.  They will spend at least several nights at 14,200′ before moving up to their high camp, located another 3,000′ above.

Here is Eric West, with the update:

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June 15th Team Update

By: Mountain Trip

The June 15th team had an interesting day on Denali, and they are spread out in a couple of different camps as Suzanne is descending with a cold injury on one hand accompanied by Beau and teamed up with another Mountain Trip team.  Cason joined yet a different Mountain Trip team with just one other climber and 2 guides and pushed up to the summit today in some challenging weather conditions.  Congratulations Cason, they are almost back to high camp as I type.   The remainder of the team, including Pearl and Anis are going to wait it out at high camp until they get a nice day to go for the top.  Guide Dan Starr is back up at high camp to support Pearl and Anis on their summit attempt.

Posted in 2013 - Denali June 15 Team, Alaska | Tagged | 1 Comment

June 24th Team moved to High Camp

By: Mountain Trip

Viviane called in from the June 24th Team from High Camp at 17,200 ft this evening.  They woke to much nicer weather than was forecast, and made the climb up another 3000 ft to high camp.  They could go to the summit as early as tomorrow if the weather cooperates.

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Denali Update July 4… Stormy Independence Day

By: Mountain Trip

It’s been a stormy few days on Denali and temperatures have returned to “Arctic” in the Alaska Range in the last week.  We went from some record breaking hot days with sunshine, right into a classic Denali low pressure storm system with moderate winds, clouds and light snow.  Some of the teams managed to move up to high camp (17,000 ft) from Camp 3 (14,200 ft) on the 3rd of July, but the June 23rd team and the June 24th private team are both waiting out the weather at Camp 2 (11,000 ft).  Windy Corner is living up to it’s reputation and kept the teams from moving up to Camp 3.

The forecast for the next few days isn’t great, but they’ll all be hoping for a break and chance to move again.   The forecast is just a guess, and they’ll get up every morning and stick their heads out of the tents and see what the day brings.

 

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