May 30 Denali Team – Ted Talks!

Our guide Ted Grosgebauer called in from 14,200′ as the team took their first weather day of the expedition.  They are all set to move up to high camp, but the tell tale plumes of snow streaming off the ridge between where they currently are, and where they want to go next, told them that the wind was a bit too high to make the push.

The move up to high camp makes for a big, tiring day.  The team did great when they put in their cache at 16,600′ a few days ago, as that location is higher than most teams make that push.  This tells the guides that everyone is strong and should do well when they load up their packs to climb up to high camp, but they still need good weather, as they will have a lot of work ahead of them upon arriving at the 17,200′ site.

Climbing to high camp is, in some ways, just the start of that long day.  After arriving, the crew will need to cut numerous (possibly hundreds) of snow blocks, which they will stack around their tent sites like Minecraft walls, in order to provide additional protection from the potentially extreme winds that can occur.  It is hard to overstate the amount of effort it takes to cut those blocks from the wind-packed snow bed, carry them over to the tent site, and stack them meticulously, whilst trimming each block so that it fits like the Incan stone walls of Cuzco.  Oh yeah, all that in an atmosphere that contains roughly one-half of the oxygen found at sea level!

The weather forecast, which is not something we put too much faith in, looks favorable, and the team has plenty of time, so they will hang out, eat like kings and watch the winds.

Here is Ted:


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