Dear Friends and Family,
Several climbers have had to overcome the unknown, suspense and challenges posed by a COVID-19 outbreak at Everest, and/or traveling to the United States in order to get a chance to climb on Denali this year. We had a very diverse team with interesting backgrounds, stories and pictures to share.
Even more memories were made that would become new stories to be shared, including the time we could just be ourselves and enjoy the moment by building and decorating a snow ’bear’ man, stick a speaker in its mouth, dance around it and worship it for good weather as early as day 5 during a second wx day at Camp 1.
The obvious goal to come and climb Denali is to reach its prized summit. It also happens to be surrounded by a spectacular 360 degree view of the Alaska mountain range with glaciers and come with interesting history. What makes this particular spot very special and rewarding is that it is hard to reach even in the best conditions.
I hope sponsors, supporters, the general public, friends and family appreciate the challenges and processes an individual/ team faces before, and during the climb, in order to safely reach the summit and back in good fashion. For the climbers, I hope the process was informative/educational, rewarding and as enjoyable as an expedition like this can be.
No doubt the team members will be successful should the conditions allow them to experience the well deserved fun part of the route i.e. the 16k ridge to High Camp, and the climb to the summit and back with a great view after all the hard work to get to that point.
Many of us return to civilization with renewed appreciation for simple pleasures, convenience and good companionship that we take for granted within our daily lives. To top this off, getting three Mountain Trivia questions correct in a single trip is a personal best record. Watching the film “Eurovision” during a storm from the previous trip turned out to be useful to answer one of the questions regarding naming a country where 80% or so of the population believes in elves.
In parting, I’d like to share a few images from the climb to give you a better sense of what it was like behind the sat phone voice recordings.
Congratulations on completing the expedition as far as we can safely take it and still part with smiles despite the disappointment of not getting to see the shy upper mountain. On behalf of my co-guides Matthew, Tom and Mountain Trip, I thank all friends and family who have followed our progress and left messages. It means a lot to those on the mountain.
Here’s Yoshiko with the final audio dispatch, as well. Thank you to the team for your hard work.