Saturday, May 23, 2015

AMS Mountaineering Military Training, 5/18: D'Alessio returns

The Military training team returned from Glacier 1 along with instructors Nick D'Alessio, Kai Girard and Curtis Green.  This group exhibited their military discipline as they got right to work sorting and organizing gear. The lines were quickly filled with drying tents, jackets and other gear.

The students learned glacier travel, crevasse rescue,  ascended a peak and did an 8 mile glacier hike. We are sure they will put their new mountaineering skills to good use.  We are proud to participate in their training.

Welcome back and thank you for your service.

Checking gear


Returning gear to storage


Friday, May 22, 2015

AMS All Denali Teams Update

Today was a good day on Denali, lots of good times and some good movement today.

The 5/8 AMS/AG Team led by AMS guides Josh Hoeschen and Beth Cleary called in with reports on all teams.  The 5/8 team reamined at 14,200' today, they geared up to move to high camp, but quickly turned back due to increasing winds on the route.  A wise choice, as winds have been aproximatly 40 MPH on the ridge today.  When they returned to camp, the set camp back up and buidl more snow block walls, they are all happy and are awaiting the weather.  They are ready to move when the weather allows.

The 5/11 AMS expediton led by Dustin English and John Sykes had a well earned rest day at 14,200' camp. they are eating a tasty pad thai diner tonight and are enjoying the comraderaie of the other AMS teams and climbers at 14,200', they too built snow block walls today. If weather is good, they will make a carry up to 16,200' tommorow.

AMS 5/15  lead by Noah Ronczkowski and Adam Fabrikant arrived into 14,200' camp at about 3:00 PM today and looked happy, heathy and strong upoon arrival.  Awesome News.  They set up camp, built walls and are enjoying a hot meal right now.  If weather cooperates tomorrow, they will descend to 13,500' to pick up their previously cached food, fuel and gear and return to camp at 14,200' this is a mini rest day and help with acclimatization.

AMS 5/18 lead by Larry Holmgren and Nate Emerson moved to 11,000' today, all is good with this team and they are traveling well together.  They are doing great and Larry says they are super strong, All is well with them!

AMS building camp and nice snow block walls on the Upper Kahiltna Glacier.
AMS moving around windy corner
AMS building an igloo at 14,200'
14,200' camp and the West Buttress Route track is shown in phot left. 
Typical AMS Denali kitchen and walls
Partial view looking toward the south west into the vast Denali National park from 14,200' camp.

6 Day Moutnaineering Course, 5/17: Runyan Returns

An enthusiastic AMS 6 day mountaineering team of climbing students returned with instructors Greg Runyan and Chelsea Bomba from the Coffee Glacier.   They are busy unpacking and sorting gear.  They enjoyed cold clear nights and warm daytime temperatures.  Everyone is happy with their new foundation climbing skills! This is a really great team, we look forward to climbing with them again!

Beginning to dry out the returning climbing gear

Sorting personal climbing gear on the lawn

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Denali West Buttress, AMS/AG 5/8: Hoeschen

AMS Guide Josh Hoeschen checked in today.  The May 8 AMS/AG team carried to 16,200' yesterday, and today they are resting and acclimatizing at 14,200' camp.   The next move for the team will be to high camp 17,200', they will see what the weather has in store.  The team is doing well!  We look forward to hearing from them again soon.


Climbers on 16,200' ridge, the next move to high camp.

Denali West Buttress, 5/4: Opp returns

The awesome 5/4 team led by AMS guides Nate Opp, Elliot Gaddy returned from their expedition today.  They are busy unpacking gear and enjoying fresh fruit, juice and salsa and chips.  They are happy to be back in warm summer weather.  Everyone is happy to be bare foot and walking on grass and they are all looking forward to a long hot shower!  They all have lots to tell about their adventure, and we look forward to hearing about it!

Welcome back team and excellent work to everyone!

The 5/4 team tents are on the line and drying.

Guide Nate Opp washing dishes



Enjoying fruit

Marlie and Guide Elliot Gaddy sort gear

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Denali West Buttress, 5/11: English and 5/15: Ronczkowski Teams

The May 11 team led by Dustin English, moved up to camp 3, 14,200' to a large relatively open area of glacier which serves as an advanced base camp, and is staging and acclimatizing area for the upper mountain.

They moved in some windy, but do-able conditions around aptly named Windy Corner, and are safe and sound at the14,200' camp this evening.  Dustin reports that they plan to back carry tomrorrow, weather permitting, and plan to keep building snow walls ( they did this at 11,000 toot) to protect their tents flies from the winds so they can get some rest.  For anyone wondering...the tents are anchored down well with special snow achors, but we still build big thick snow block walls to protect the tents from too much flapping and so we can get sleep at night!  AMS prides ourselves on building the most well crafted walls in the whole camp, and this iis a regular activity that all climbers one must do when climbing Denali.

The AMS May 15 team led by Noah Ronczkowski is sleeping at camp 2, @ 11,000' feet tonight after making a carry to 13,500' today.  The carryied food, fuel and super warm clothing items that they will need later during their expedtion.  this helps lighten their backpack and sled loads in the anticipation for the move to the next camp and helps them acclimitiaze to higher altitudes.

Photo of Denali and the route in red, AMS image, some samll disrepancies occur with elevations but main camp areas remain the same. 


Denali West Buttress 5/4: Opp- UPDATE!

AMS guide Nate Opp with Elliot Gaddy and team decided to head down the Great One today from 14K camp, as the forecast for the upper mountain showed no promise of clearing for a summit attempt and the team's fly out date is fast approaching. Everyone is doing well and will have a lot of great stories and experience despite not going to the summit. Everyone should be proud of their hard work on getting to 14K camp!

AMS team traveling on a windy, snowy day.  A tough and rewarding day.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Denali West Buttress, 5/11: English and Ronczkowski 5/15: Update!

AMS guide English leading the 5/11 team contacted headquarters today to say the team is continuing to hold at 11,000 feet, as Windy Corner is living up to it's name and is blustery. Windy Corner is on the route up to 14K camp. They are hanging tight and will be nicely acclimated for when they do move up to 14K camp, the plan is for tomorrow if the winds calm. Currently at 11k camp there is light snow and moderate wind.

AMS guide Noah Ronczkowski leading the 5/15 team has joined Dustin English at 11,000 feet yesterday with a strong team and cooperative weather on the lower glacier, allowing for quick travel. They will spend the day resting and acclimating,  while back-carrying to grab their previously placed cache at 9,800 feet.



AMS is all about teamwork and leadership! We take care of each other on the mountain. 

The most memorable trips are not necessarily those in which the route objective has been completed; they are the ones in which everyone worked well together while exerting their personal best effort. What exactly do we mean by leadership at AMS?  Good leaders never lose sight of the goal to work together as a team. Leadership is practical, like bomb proofing a camp before going to bed. Leadership reflects good judgment in finding a route strategy that identifies hazards and overcomes obstacles. Leadership is enabling the team to learn what questions need to be asked.  Leadership is about communication and interacting with others to get the job done. Being considerate, respectful, and tolerant to adversity are all qualities AMS staff strive for personally and model for their teams.

AMS camp setup at 9,800 feet, where on a typical west buttress you would cache here and not camp. 

AMS climber going up on the lower glacier with some wind in the area

Monday, May 18, 2015

AMS Denali West Buttress 5/18: Holmgren

The May18 AMS Denali expedtion led by AMS guides Larry Holmgren and Nate Emerson headed out with their team of climbers today to the Kahiltna Basecamp on a bluebird sky day.  Included in the group is one to be husband-wife duo from Eagle River whom hosted the whole team, one AMS student returning and one person all the way from Shangai.  They are a fun crew!

AMS Denali West Buttress crew Gilles, Mathieu, guide Larry, Jess, Tony, Marco, guide Nate

AMS camaraderie beginning already!  

AMS Mountaineering Military Training, 5/18: D'Alessio

AMS lead guide Nick with assistants Kai and Curtis headed out today with 14 team members from Georgia as part of a special military training. This crew will learn a lot about the mountains and how to travel in them, and many other specialized skills, and we are proud to be a part of their training. The team was extremely well organized while packing and preparing at the AMS headquarters and are flew out to the Alaska Range on a beautiful May summer day.
AMS Headquarters sorting gear


AMS guide Nick showing how to put crampons on mountaineering boots

AMS military crew gearing up! 

AMS custom military training led by guides Nick D'allesio, Kai Girard, and Curtis Green