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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. We try to post from each team on each day, but this is not always possible, due to communication challenges in mountainous regions, so keep in mind that “No News Is Good News!”
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. Click on a post’s title to open it in its own window to leave a comment for your favorite climber. Above all, have fun and dream big!
Everyone is at Basecamp and doing well after a hard day of whiteout glacier travel in warm wet conditions. This team has had to fight the weather every step of the way. Their ability to remain a team and plug away in tough conditions is admirable. Let’s hope the weather will cooperate long enough to get this team to Talkeetna soon.
Guide Kyle Bates checks in from 14,000’ camp. Everyone is happy and “has a full belly”. The weather forecast is calling for more snow and wind over the next few days. When the weather does break this team will carry loads to 16,000’ to set up their move to high camp at 17,000’. Let’s hope they get a weather window soon!
Guide Eli Potter gives us an update in English and then Olaf gives us one in Swedish. Sounds like these guys are making the most their time at 11,000′.
The weather on Denali has been challenging this season, but this team sounds very happy. Let’s hope the weather changes so they can make their way to high camp.
Joe Butler calls in from 7,800’. This team made great time and enjoyed some curry for dinner. With snow and rain in the forecast today and tomorrow they are watching the weather closely. If it improves they will cache food & fuel just below 11,000′.
The weather above 14,000′ is often harsh and dictates if a team can safely move up on Denali. Today Seba and the crew made a tough decision. With more high winds and snow in the forecast, the team will make their way down towards basecamp.
Guide Rene Welty called in from the broad basin camp at 14,200′. The team moved up today in brisk wind, but persevered and is now settled in next to two other Mountain Trip teams.
Today was a tough day, with 3000′ of elevation gain and the steepest climbing that team has encountered thus far. The ascended a long slope immediately above their previous camp that is known as Motorcycle Hill. Above that feature, they climbed a couple more slopes before making the long, rising traverse up to Windy Corner, a steep ridge that drops down from the heights of the West Buttress proper and kind of guards the upper mountain, when the wind is blowing fiercely.
Fortunately, today the wind was present, but not too extreme and the team pushed around Windy Corner and climbed another hour up to the basin.
Help! The following post is not in one of the four languages in which I’m proficient!
Please post a comment with a quick translation or email us at [email protected], so we can let other families know which team called in this update. -Thanks!!
Robert called in from 14,200′ today, reporting that the team spent the day watching the wind blow above camp, hoping for a break in the inclement weather that has been buffeting the upper mountain. The team hiked over to spectacular vista known as “The Edge of the World.”
This is a spot at the very edge of the 14,200′ basin, where climbers can climb up onto a granite outcropping and peer thousands of feet down into the Northeast Fork of the Kahiltna Glacier. This narrow valley is also known as the Valley of Death, for the hanging hazards that threaten the valley bottom. The feeling, as one pokes one’s head over the edge, lives up to the site’s nickname!
My Norwegian is about as good as my Dutch, which means almost non-existent. We have climbers from many countries on Denali at the moment, and I am guessing that this post is from our Norwegian team. If I am wrong, please let me know! Thanks!!
The team is at 14,200′ and today they back carried the cache of supplies that they had deposited at 13,500′ a couple days ago. This involved dropping down out of their current camp for about 20 minutes, digging up their buried supplies and ferrying it all back uphill for a bit over an hour.
Following the “work” for the day, the team reviewed a number of the skills they will employ on the upper mountain, specifically how to efficiently use mechanical ascenders to climb up the steep headwall above camp and how to quickly and securely pass running belays.
Joe Butler called in a post that was unfortunately cut off a bit short. Satellite transmissions from such a northern latitude can be tricky…
The team spent today reviewing skills at Base Camp. They finished rigging their packs and sleds for the journey up the Kahiltna Glacier, which will start in the wee hours of the morning tomorrow.
Base Camp can be a bustling place when the weather is clear and the planes are flying. It has the nickname of “Kahiltna International Airport,” although it is unclear if a plane has actually landed from Canada.
Robert Lentz called in a nice update from the basin camp at 14,200′. The team took a planned rest and acclimatization day today, after carrying gear and supplies up to 16,400′ yesterday.
This camp’s elevation is very important for climbers, as it is high enough to help build acclimatization, but not so high as to cause their bodies to deteriorate, which is often what happens after spending time up at the 17,200′ high camp. We typically plan to spend at least four nights at this camp, before launching to the higher camp.
The weather forecast called for fairly high winds, so the team spent some time fortifying their camp by cutting blocks of snow and stacking them so as to create walls around their tents. They have specific snow saws to facilitate cutting blocks from the firm surface of camp. This is tough work, but without additional protection, most tents cannot withstand extreme winds. The exercise is also important as it helps the climbers acclimatize a bit better than if they just spent the day lying around in their tents.
It was a blustery day but the May 13 team punched through it and they were able to cache a load of equipment and supplies around Windy Corner. Durny reports that aptly named Windy Corner lived up to it’s name, but all the climbers moved well and are feeling good.
The plan is to move to 14 Camp tomorrow, weather permitting.
Olivier reports that the team moved from Camp 1 to Camp 2 today. Based on Olivier’s comments, it sounds like the team got a taste of the strong winds that Denali is known for! Everyone is doing well and feeling good, and enjoying some of Eli’s famous mountain cooking.
The plan for tomorrow is to drop back down and pick up the cached items that the team left a few days ago.
The team moved to Camp 3 today. Here’s the report!
Today the team got their first taste of the upper mountain. They left camp and quickly ascended the head of the Genet basin, up the “headwall”, on a series of fixed lines. The team topped out the ridge, and followed it for another 200′ of elevation gain. At 16,400′ the team buried a load of equipment and supplies in a cache pit, took a rest, then descended back to camp. Ascending the ridge is steep, fun climbing, and Seba reports that everyone did really well. Good work, team!
The plan is to take a rest day tomorrow, and watch the weather carefully for an opportunity to move up to High Camp.
Due to some last minute cancellations we’ve got a couple of spaces available in our otherwise sold out Denali season. If you are considering climbing Denali this year, give us a call or email we have space on June 7th and 17th expeditions.
This could be a great opportunity for the right climber who is prepared for the trip, and we are offering discounts!
Durny reports that today the team dropped down approximately 1,000′ to pick up their cached equipment and supplies. It’s a relatively short distance to the cache site, and one of the easier days of the climb. Once back at camp, the team enjoyed a dinner of hot pulled pork sandwiches and pizza. Yumm yumm!