Thursday, May 26, 2016

All AMS Denali Expedition Updates

AMS 5/11 Denali Led by Larry Holmgren and Jake Kayes stayed put at 14,200' camp, they are perfecting their snow and wind camp skills and awaiting clear and calm weather to carry upwards, winds were too high to move today. They are well.

14,200' camp on a clear day, a 100% human made temporary snow village, with Mt. Hunter's summit peeking out from the clouds.

AMS Custom Denali 5/17 led by Erik Remza and Jimmy Voorhis are at 11,200', they are awaiting good weather to move higher and are posied to move up when the time is right and are doing well.

AMS 5/18 Denali led by Dustin English and Michael Gardner with Team Lebanon are camped at 11,200 camp and are hoping to carry extra food fuel and equipment to the windy corner area tomorrow, all is well with them.

AMS Custom Denali Traverse 5/21 led by Todd Tumolo and Aaron Devine are camped at 11,200' and hope to take a trip higher tomorrow to cache some extra food, fuel and gear tomorrow, its a bit windy there today, so they are hoping for a calm day. They too are all good, and took some movie footage today to share when they get home.

AMS 5/22 Denali led by Nate Opp and Scott Patch moved to 11,200' camp today and saw a large flock of Ruby Crowned Kinglets in camp, they are migrating through the Alaska Range.  It's a major treat to see bird life on the glacier. The team is good spirits and feeling strong.

AMS 5/23 Custom Denali led by Colby Coombs moved to camp at 11,200' today.  They are doing well. They plan to rest tomorrow. Colby reports that the travelling conditions on the Kahiltna Glacier is fast going and the route is in good solid condition.

Previous AMS climber photo of 11,200' Camp on Denali's West Buttress Route after a fresh snowfall and a clear day.

Upper Kahilnta Glacier camp at 9,000', All the teams travelled through this area bewteen 7,800 and 11,200'.  Colby team had an intermeidate camp here as well. 

AMS 5/25 Denali led by Noah Ronczkowski, Jeremiah Phelps and Leigh Frye are at basecamp and plan to move to camp at 7,800' during the early morning tonight/tomorrow to take advantage of the cold night temperatures and firm snow conditions.  When it is sunny and clear, the days can get very hot on the glacier, so it's a good strategy to avoid moving during the heat of the day in order to conserve overall energy levels.

NPS photo marked with the West Buttress route in red.

Previous AMS teams building camp in a storm, the 14,200 and 11,200' camps look similar this evening. Everything has its place and is nice and tidy.  Both camp areas are in flat glaciated sections of the route, all AMS teams are doing well and are in wait and shovel mode. Photo: Brain Okonek

AMS Denali WB 5/25, Ronczkowski

AMS guides Noah Ronczkowski, Jeremiah Phelps, Leigh Frye and team are  flying to the SE Fork of Kahiltna glacier base camp.  The team had a busy day preparing for the flight.

The team was appreciative of the great lunch intern Becca Erdman prepared for them.  She also made sure they had hot pizza for diner at basecamp tonight.

We look forward to hearing from them during their expedition.

Gear check


Packing gear

Final lunch food

Becca getting lunch ready

AMS Guides Noah Ronczkowski, Leigh Frye, Sam, Steven,Mathieu
Tomasz, Yuri, Jeff, AMS Guide Jeremiah Phelps in front

Custom Climb 5/22 Girard Returns!

Guide Kai Girard and Markus returned from the Range today.  The climb began with a weather delay but ended great.  They did some climbing on Frances and summited Radio Tower.

They are enjoying the sunshine and swatting at mosquitoes

Kai and Markus enjoying summer

Radio Tower on left photo by Kai Girard

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

AMS 5/24 Custom Denali, Coombs

AMS 5/23 Custom Denali West Buttress team departed yesterday with AMS founder and director Colby Coombs leading the crew. It's noteworthy that Alaska Mountaineering School is the only Denali guiding company that has a director who climbs Denali each season.  We wish this great custom team the best of luck! 

Family photo: AMS Directors Caitlin Palmer, Colby Coombs with their daughter Lisle at the Talkeetna airport, prior to departure with Talkeetna Air Taxi.

Their gear, triple checked, prior to loading the plane.

Mountain Update: all AMS Teams

It was a good day in the Alaska Range. Here are the updates.

AMS 5/11 Led by Larry Holmgren and Jake Kayes are at 14,200' camp, they are doing well and are in camp with snow falling and with some winds.  They have a great camp to be hanging out in. THey hope that the weather will clear so they can carry to 16,200' tomorrow.

Looking down at 14,200' camp and beyond, during a very clear day, camp can be seen in the fore/mid ground as a small collection of tents in the broad snow slope. This photo gives you a great sense of place.  Photo by AMS Guide: Adam Fabrikant
AMS Custom Denali 5/17 led by Erik Remza and Jimmy Voorhis are at 11,200' and are poised to move to 14,200'. They are doing very well.

AMS 5/18 led by Dustin English and Michael Gardner with Team Lebanon and fellow climbers, moved to 11,200 camp today, they traveled well and are all good! They will likely take a rest day tomorrow.

AMS Custom Denali Traverse 5/21 led by Todd Tumolo and Aaron Devine moved to 11,200' camp today from 7,800' camp, they are happy to to be making it higher and are feeling well; they will likely rest tomorrow.

11,200' camp on a clear day, the route upwards is seen clearly on the snow slope, just beyond camp. Photo: Tom Torkelson
AMS Team making their way into 11,200' on a cloudy day, it might look like this today. Photo: Tom Torkelson

AMS Custom Climb 5/22 led by Kai Girard are doing well; they are climbing peaks around base camp and are planning to return to Talkeetna tomorrow.

AMS 5/22 led by Nate Opp and Scott Patch at camped at 7,800, Camp 1 tonight.  They made a carry extra food, fuel and gear to approximately 9,800' today.  If the weather is good, they will move to 11,200' camp tomorrow.

Setting up camp at 7,800', Camp 1, with incoming winds and snow.
AMS 5/23 Custom Denali led by Colby Coombs moved to 7,800', Camp 1, last night.  They are doing well and enjoyed their rest today.  They plan to carry loads upwards tomorrow.

NPS photo marked with the West Buttress route in red.

12 Day Mountaineering Course 5/15, Sykes Returns

The May 12 day Mountaineering Course led by Instructors John Sykes and Chris Welsh returned to sunny Talkeetna today.  The group was happy to return to sunny warm weather and green grass.

They were quick to unload and sort the gear.  They enjoyed fresh fruit and orange juice at the AMS HQ.

Snacks and phones

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Mountain update AMS

AMS teams are doing well with weather patterns getting better:

AMS 5/21 Denali Traverse led by Todd and Aaron with climber Koen have arrived at 7,800 feet on Denali's West Buttress after landing at basecamp (7,200ft). They made it to camp in good time and just called in to say they accomplished the planned early morning cache to 10,500 feet. Plan to move to 11k camp tomorrow. They are on an early morning schedule and the winds have subsided to a bluebird and light glacier wind day. 

AMS 5/18 Denali WB team led by Dustin English and Michael Gardner  are currently on the same schedule as Todd's traverse team as they flew in one day apart due to weather delays. 

AMS 5/17 Custom Denali led by Remza have checked in yesterday and are at 11,000 feet and doing well. 

AMS 5/22 Denali WB team led by Nate Opp has arrived to 7,800 camp safe and sound. 

AMS REAL TIME: guides Larry and Jake with 5/11 team enjoying a bit of sunshine at 14k camp today. High winds were in forecast, but these walls look bombproof. Great job up there team! 

AMS archive photo by Adam Fabrikant: Denali basecamp beauty

Monday, May 23, 2016

AMS: Denali Traverse, Tumolo and Custom Climb, Girard: DEPART!

AMS groups are moving in and out of the Alaska Range after some "Talkeetna hang" time. Guide Kai Girard with climber Markus have made it into Kahiltna Base to see what climbs are in good shape. Their original goal was 11,300, but due to the weather delay re-routed.

AMS traverse led by Todd Tumolo and Aaron Divine with climber Koen made it in to start the long haul up and over Denali West Buttress and hiking out the North side of the park.

AMS Traverse crew: starting Left: lead guide Todd Tumolo, climber Koen, and guide Aaron

AMS archive photo of a muldrow traverse, this is the area the crew will be exiting after going up and over Denali. 

We will update when we get word from the groups of their whereabouts, but this is not a daily occurrence. Wishing these teams goodluck!

AMS mountaineering course-6 day- RETURNS!

AMS guides Wes and Chelsea  with students are doing well, but were on a weather delay. They were due out yesterday, but spent one more night on the glacier. This is something that can happen with the mountain weather and AMS are fully prepared. Looking forward to the fun stories they will have upon return.

AMS archive photo of camping at Pika

AMS basecamp photo: example of packing the runway

Saturday, May 21, 2016

AMS Denali WB 5/11, Holmgren & Denali WB 5/17 Remza

AMS Guide Larry Holmgren checked in from 11,200 camp today.  The weather has kept them at camp longer than planned.

AMS Guide Eric Remza and Jimmy Voorhis with climber Mark Zorn  are at 7,800 camp on a holding pattern due to high winds. Everyone is doing well and tucked into camp. 

Archive  photo 11,200 Canp

Archive photo team leaving camp

Archive photo Windy Cornor