Thursday, May 31, 2007

Greg Collins giving an update

Denali with a lenticular cloud sitting on top.

Greg's boys are going to head up to 15,900 feet toward the rib and go work on some roped skiing techniques. They have been getting a lot of strong S.E. winds lately. This is the same thing that happened to Kevin And David's Upper Rib trip that forced them on to the Buttress. Greg's gang has not shifted their sites to the Buttress yet. They are not going to commit any material to a high camp on the Upper Rib though. Greg said their crew is strong enough to send it alpine style. That means that they do not stock camps up above and return to lower camps. This means that they go from 14 to a high camp and then up from there.

This is a great option for folks that are in good shape and acclimatized. They were also going to go "mess around" up by Washburn's thumb on the 16 ridge on the Buttress to further acclimatize. Everyone in Greg's crew is doing great.

Jared (" J-Rad") and Chris and crew have arrived at 14K after a long hard day yesterday. They rolled into 14 last night. They had left 11K yesterday morning and ran into strong winds at the top of Motorcycle Hill, just out of camp, and turned around and headed back down to camp only to have the weather get better and so they turned around and headed back up M.C. Hill and on to 14K. So they were pretty tired when they got to camp to say the least. They were planning on doing a back carry today and I assume they will either do a front carry up onto the ridge tomorrow or take a well deserved rest day.

Greg said it has been very cold and windy up high and there was a big ol' lenticular cloud up on the summit right now indicating high winds up there. Greg said he talked with Christian on the radio and his crew is heading down today. High camp is a very hard place to be in the cold and the wind. It doesn't sound like the weather is going to be good up high for a little while anyway.

I'll update more on Marchy's crew if or when I talk to him.


May 22nd West Buttress Expedition

We just received a message from Jared Vilhauer's group. They were able to make their way to 14,000 feet last night and today will be doing a back carry for the gear they left lower on the mountain. 14,000 feet is a great place to aclimatize. They'll most likely rest a bit and prepare for another push to their next camp at 17,000 feet. Everyone is doing well and in good spirits.
Till the next post!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Christian March, 17K

This is a photo By Brian Okonek of what our gang Led by Christian and Mike were probably doing last night when they were tired and cold and dehydrated: building camp. This is part of what makes climbing Denali so difficult. Having to build camps in crappy weather. Ideally you don't ever have to build camp in bad weather, but it almost never works out that way completely.

Christian got to 17 K last night. It was a nice day for a move in the morning when they left and all the way until they got to the top of "Thumb". As Marchy said "we got smacked by the wind". He reported steady 40 mph with gusts to 60mph.

They are all doing good but tired. That's pretty normal. 14K to 17K is a hard move in any weather and certainly much harder in windy conditions.

It's not too cold out up there right now and there is almost no wind, the visability isn't great.

Marchy says if the weather is splitter (perfect) tomorrow he will go for the summit. If the weather is marginal they will hang. They still have several days to wait out bad weather. If getting rested up is still a top priority it is better to hang in camp for another day unless it is absolutely perfect. Marchy knows when to go and when not to go.

So, all is good up there. They got a little taste of what Denali can dish out when it wants to yesterday. Those are often the things that people remember. We call it the full Denali experience. Anyway, they are no longer experiencing the full meal deal and are just waiting patiently for a window.

I'll keep you posted.


Flying out of Base Camp!

The weather is flyable! There are many many expeditions waiting in basecamp for the quick flight back to Talkeetna. Two of our expeditions that have been waiting for numerous days just arrived here at the office looking like they've visited the Bahama's! Robert Link and Kevin Mahoney's crews are currently unpacking and debriefing, happy and I'm sure looking forward to a nice cush bed, perhaps a burger and brew from a local pub.

Mark Postle's crew has arrived in base camp and awaits the flight to Talkeetna. Since this expedition just arrived there they are lower on the totem pole and will have to wait for other groups ahead of them to fly out first. As soon as this group joins us here in Talkeetna we'll do another post. For now, we'll put out some good fresh fruit (something these guys haven't seen in awhile) and listen to a few stories of life on the mountain!

Monday, May 28, 2007

May 23rd, Denali Upper Rib, Greg Collins with an uper mountain teams update.

Photo of Greg, "G Money", "G Dawg", "The Mutant" Collins, in his element.

Greg called in from 14K today. They rolled in to camp today after only 4 days on the mountain. He said it was snowing very lightly, maybe just orographic precipitation and the winds were non-existent. Every one on Greg's crew was psyched to move at a quicker pace than our normal expeditions. Everyone on his trip is feeling really strong and doing great. Greg said the snow is perfect for skiing. They have skied, skinned and ski cramponed their way up to 14 so far roped up at all times. Skiing with ropes, heavy packs, sleds and funky snow conditions is very tough at times. There is only one little 400 vertical foot slope they are able to ski right out of 14 camp with out a rope, otherwise the skiing they are doing is roped up. They plan on doing a quick back carry tomorrow to retrieve their cache at windy corner. Also tomorrow they, perhaps just Greg and Sam, will start heading up towards the Upper Rib to evaluate the route conditions. Greg said he will call in soon with more updates on his team soon.

Greg's team passed Mark Postle's gang today around windy corner while Greg was moving up and Mark was moving down. By now Mark has probably checked in with Jared V.'s group at 11K and has already moved out towards base camp (which is still unflyable at the moment and has been for a few days now by the way).

Jared's plan is to move up to 14K tomorrow, weather permitting.

Christian March moved up to 17K today. Most likely, that means that his group will take a rest day at camp tomorrow and then start looking for weather windows to go for the summit.

If it remains unflyable we will soon have 3 AMS groups in base camp waiting to fly out. It is first come first serve as far as getting out of there. I believe Robert is probably at the very top of the list since one of his team members already made it out (Solveigh) and Kevin and David I bet are near the top of the list as well. Once it gets flyable though, a couple of rounds with all of Paul's planes will clear out base camp and Lisa the base camp manager won't have anyone to hangout with anymore.

That's all for now. Hopefully the weather gets a little nicer and our teams can make it out of Base camp tonight.


Update from Jared's Expedition: Windy Corner

Climbers Heading down around Windy Corner.

I just heard from Jared Vilhauer's expedition, departure date on May 22nd. The group was able to make it to Windy Corner at 13,500 feet for a cache of gear and supplies. They're on their way back down to the 11,000' camp and will spend the rest of the day there. Their plan is to either move to 14,200' camp tomorrow or use it as a rest day to recuperate. Everyone is doing great and enjoying the climb. They all send their best wishes and greetings to their loved ones. We should hear another update from them in a few days.
Until then!

Sunday, May 27, 2007

A message from Basecamp

Kevin just called. TAT (Talkeetna Air Taxi) got one plane out, with robert's assistant guide, Solveigh, and they sent in another round to get the rest of the troops out of base camp but it shut down for the night.

So, unfortunately Kevin, David, Robert and crew won't get out until tomorrow at the earliest.

Hopefully the weather clears a bit tomorrow.


May 23 Denali Custom Upper Rib, Greg Collins

We just heard from Greg, he phoned in from WIndy Corner where they carried to from 11K today and are putting a cache of their food, fuel and gear for pick up later. He said they had light snow, calm winds and good ski conditions. Everyone is doing really great on their team. They will go back to 11K tonight and weather permitting, they will move to 14,200 tomorrow!

Also he said that the May 22 Denali Departure with lead guide Jared Vilhauer is doing well at 11K, we will most likely hear from them directly when they move to 14,200'.


May 8 Denali Departure, SUMMITED!!!

Photo: The summit ridge, where the team was yesterday.

Lead guide, Mark Postle just phoned in and told us that yesterday the team went for and made it to the summit!!! They made it back down safely to high camp in the evening. Everyone is doing well. Mark said the wind was a moderate at high camp today so they will have hot drinks, start to pack up and watch the weather. They may go to 14,200' today or they will spend tonight at 17,200' and descend to 14,200' (or maybe further to basecamp) tomorrow, as always if the weather cooperates! He said everyone on the team is haapy to know that the blog is being updated so family and friends will know what is going on with them. They are all thinking of you as well!


Saturday, May 26, 2007

2 Expeditions back in Base camp.

Photo: base camp from above.

Kevin and David and Robert link and his crew are back in base camp. There have not been any planes flying in our out of base camp all day due to poor visibility. All of the planes that we use to fly in and out of the mountains are VFR only. Visual Flight Regulations, this means that they have a certain amount of vis in order to fly.

It looks like the weather is lifting around town here and it sounds as if it is doing the same at base camp. There is a chance then that both teams may make it out tonight. If not they will just pitch their tents and wait the weather out at base camp. We have plenty of food and fuel in there just in case.

The next updates about these guys, they will more than likely do themselves from Talkeetna on their own cell phones.


May 2 Denali Departure, Robert Link at Basecamp

Robert Link phoned in and the team is at Basecamp! They arrived early this morning and are organizing their equipment and loads for the flight out. The weather is not flyable to Basecamp today, so they are waiting for the weather to clear up so they can come back to showers, burgers and beer! We look forward to having them back, they worked hard up there!


May 15 Denali Departure, Christian March carried to 16,400'

Photo: This is 16,400' where the team has put in their cache

Christian just called in from 16,400', the has team carried some of their food, equipment and fuel to cache for their move to high camp in the next few days. The carry to the the top of the fixed lines is an exciting part of the climb. The terrain gets steeper and more techical. Most people really feel the altitude on this day and this carry really helps them acclimitize well when they make the move to high camp. Christian said the mountain had light clouds at the 15,000' foot level and that it was clear above!

Stay tuned for more info on Christian's team and from the May 8th Denali Departure Mark Postle's group, we expect to be hearing from Mark soon!


May 8 Departure, Mark Postle's Team at 17,200'

Photo: Taking in the view from Denali's West Buttress High Camp at 17,200'

We got a message from Mark last night, the team made it to High Camp at 17,200'! He said that the weather was good and the team worked hard getting to camp, which is expected! Once they arrived in camp they decided on a good place to camp, set up their tents, reinforced snow walls, drank hot drinks, ate dinner and enjoyed getting settled into their new camp. By 9 pm the team was all "dug in" for the night. If the weather is good they will try for the summit today, but so far we don't have a weather report, so I'm not sure if they are resting or going for it today. Mark siad he would call in later today so stay tuned!


Friday, May 25, 2007


Photo: Summit ridge, Brian Okonek Collection.

I just got a message from Kevin at High camp. He and David are back from the summit. He sounded good. Most likely they will camp at 17K (high camp) for the night and start down tomorrow sometime. Whoo Hoooo! Nice job!!


An upper mountain teams update from "Marchy"at 14K.

A birds eye view of 14 camp.

Christian March called in with a bit of an update. They did there back carry yesterday and are taking a rest day today. They were about to head out to the "edge of the world" for a view and some light exercise. Even on rest days it is good to get the heart pumping a bit. At altitude the idea is to keep the respiratory and heart rates somewhat elevated to keep the O2 levels up. The more you breath the more O2 you can get on board and with light exercise your heart rate will increase and deliver that oxygen where it needs to go, like to your brain and muscles.

Marchy said the weather is nice today and as long as it continues they will make a carry up onto the ridge and get established for when they are all rested up and well acclimatized to move up to high camp when they get a weather window to do so.

Mark Postle and crew are on there way to high camp right now. Christian said they have a great day to do so. Robert left mid morning this morning to make his way down to base camp. He will either get down tonight late or more likely sometime tomorrow morning.

Marchy thought that Kevin and David were probably attempting the summit today. He could see a little evidence of wind up high, but that's pretty normal to have little wind plumes first thing in the morning and have the wind die down as the day goes on, so we're wishing them the best of luck. There are probably quite a few parties attempting the summit today since there has not been to many opportunities in the last week or so.

We expect Mark to be rolling into high camp sometime around late afternoon. They will either take a rest day tomorrow or because they had so many days at 14, they may be up for an attempt tomorrow. The move from 14 to 17 is a hard one and is often just as hard as a summit day.

Christian was going to teach all the necessary classes this afternoon to get folks ready and refreshed for ascending the fixed lines and traveling safely on the ridge. All in all they will have a pretty mellow day today, but they have a lot of material to cover. It should be review for everyone but we like to make sure everyone is efficient with their systems before they get up any higher. They'll be going to bed early and getting up early to try tpo beat other crews out of camp so they don't have to wait in line to get on the fixed lines leading up to the ridge.

Christian wanted me to let everybody know he thought he was lucky that he had a girlfriend that still loved him even if he spends all his time guiding up on Denali. He will be heading right back up there for another trip when he's done. He wanted me to tell Courtney he loves her too. He just wants brownie points so she won't send him down the road for a guy that works in town and comes home to her every night. :-)

Climbing and guiding on Denali is blue collar manual labor climbing to say the least. Everyone one on every team up there is working hard and doing their best. I'm sure everyone up there sends their best to all their friends and family. If the guides let everyone call everybody they wanted when they wanted they would not have battery power when/if they need it.

All is well and everyone is moving or carrying somewhere on the mountain. Jared and Chris's team should be making a carry to somewhere at the top of ski hill today. And I'm sure Greg and Sam's Upper rib trip is at the base of ski hill by now and will be continuing on there way in some fashion tomorrow, whether thay are moving up tomorrow or just making a cache.

The mountains were wide open this morning. Check out the link on the side for the south side denali web cam.

Later, Rob

Thursday, May 24, 2007

May 15 departure at 14K, Christian March, and an upper mountain update.

May 15th departure Lead guide, Christian March

Christian just called in from 14K. He rolled in last night. They ended up hanging out at 11K for an extra day due to high winds. Those decisions to not move up are often hard for some people to understand. Even with waiting out the windiest of weather their crew still made a carry and cache to the corner (Windy Corner) in windy conditions. Despite the name windy corner it is not always windy up there. They made the move yesterday in windy conditions as well. Sometimes you just got to do it. Every one is strong and doing fine and they are very excited to be at 14K.

They were just getting ready to do a back carry when I spoke to him. This means they will be heading down to the corner to pick up food and fuel and whatever else they may have cached there when they did their carry from 11K. Christian said he wants to spend 5 nights at 14K before moving up to 17K. Depending on weather tomorrow they may do a carry up onto the ridge somewhere or take a rest day and carry the next day.

He said the weather right now is "super mellow", light breeze and he said he could see windy corner from camp. That is good news for Robo's crew who were coming into 14 camp about now. Christian's gang got the royal treatment from other AMS guides already at 14 last night. Kevin Mahoney had hot drinks waiting for everyone upon arrival and Mark Postle let them cook up and hang out in his kitchen tent.

Kevin and David decided to move up to 17 today. Being a smaller group and able to move a little faster and lighter they are able to get away with traveling in slightly marginal conditions. Kevin and David will most likely try to summit tomorrow if the WX allows.

Mark's crew is holding tight and hoping to get a little better weather to move up to high camp tomorrow. Their gang still has plenty of days left to make stuff happen and hopefully they will get the weather window they need.

That's all folks.


Robert Link

Climbers descending to 11K camp.

Robert called in this morning with an update from the ridge. It sounded pretty calm up there today. It had been Rockin and Rollin up there yesterday he said again.

Robert said the weather is better today, but they are pulling the plug and coming down today. They have been up on the mountain for a long time and gave it a good go. They waited out the weather longer than a lot of people would be willing to do. So far this season there have only been 33 people summit. That is quite low, that's an approximate success rate of 27%. The weather has not been too cooperative yet this season.

Robo said they would head down to 14 and make there way down to the lower glacier through the night and try to make it out sometime tomorrow, weather permitting of course.

That's a wrap.


Wednesday, May 23, 2007

An update from the Ridge

Photo from a far. Robert and his crew are camped at the next bench up from the lowest part of the ridge.

Robert said "It is honking up here". Referring to the winds. They are still doing fine he said. Robert, Solveigh and their folks are still motivated to head up to high camp tomorrow if the weather permits. If the weather does not look good for tomorrow their plan is to head down as soon as they get a break in the weather. Robert is one cool cookie.

I hope they have a deck of cards, Rob

West Buttress Expedition Departure May 22nd

Greetings from little Talkeetna Town! The expedition lead by the guides Jared Vilhauer and Chris Nance started yesterday fairly smoothly. Bob, Anja, Suzy, Honda, Tim, and Ray were all here at 8:00 am sharp to start the process of packing and preparing before the flight into the Alaska Range. We had some delays in regards to Bob's luggage but it arrived this morning so we may be able to get a few items into him. In the long run this really isn't that much to worry about.

Everyone seemed to be in good spirits and having a good time even though their flight time was delayed a couple hours. They were still able to get into base camp last night and according to their itinerary they'll be practicing a few skills including crevasse rescue today. We'll send out updates whenever we hear anything from the field but for those of you interested feel free to call or emaiil the office.

Update from 14K, Kevin's team and Mark Postle's

Tent life.

Kevin Mahoney just called in with a weather and conditions update from 14K. Kevin reported light winds, but kind of stormy weather over all. It's not particularly bad weather I don't think, but it's not quite good enough to move up yet. Moving from 14 to 17 is a long hard day and the guides want to roll into 17 with decent weather. Folks are going to be really tired from the move up there so the guides want to make sure that the weather is good enough so that the tired people can set up camp. We call that having margins for error. We like large margins for error. That is why they might be sitting out the bad weather and waiting for good weather to move and private parties might be moving up. The guides have all learned it is better to wait it out than to move in marginal weather.

Kevin and David of the May 15th Upper West Rib expedition are both feeling great and are still psyched. They have made a couple of acclimatization hikes up to 16+ thousand feet on the upper rib. The winds have been predominantly out of the south east lately and they are reluctant to move up to the high camp on the Rib and have decided to switch gears a little and move their sites toward climbing the West Buttress. Kevin and David are planning on heading up to 17k (high camp) on the Buttress tomorrow, thursday, and weather permitting go for the summit the following day. They have spent 5 nights at 14 and are anxious to move up. Kevin said that they have decided that if they are unable to summit by Sunday they will start heading down.

Mark's crew is also still at 14k. They are hoping to move up tomorrow as well. According to their schedule this is will probably be their 7th night at 14. This means several things. one is that they will all me much more acclimatized when they do move up to highcamp. And when they do move up they will be able to move up a little lighter as they will have a little less food and fuel to haul up. They still have plenty of days left and are sitting in the perfect spot. As I have said before, the more days at 14 the merrier.


Tuesday, May 22, 2007

An update from Robert Link on the "16" Ridge and Mark Postle's crew at 14K

An old photo of some windy looking clouds over Mt. Foraker by Brian Okonek.

I just talked with Robert from up at his camp on the ridge. He said it actually isn't too bad up there, but it is a little too windy to make the move along the ridge to high camp. I suspect that the moving along the ridge might not be a problem but that the breaking down of camp at 16 and setting up of camp at 17 might be the problem.

If the weather improves and the winds die down by tomorrow; Robert, Solveigh and the other 4 team members will move up to high camp and try to summit the following day. If the weather does not improve by tomorrow then they will head down and start their descent to base camp. All is well with them other than the fact that they are waiting out some weather. Pretty standard up there.

I did not talk top Mark today, but he was talking with Solveigh on the radio as I was talking to Robert on the cell phone. He is holding tight at 14 K waiting on better weather to make his move up to high camp. This is probably their 5th night up at 14. As far as the guides are concerned, the more days at 14 the better. 14K is the best place to get strong. People generally have not lost their appetites like they do at 17,so they are still able to eat a good diet and are getting more and more acclimatized. 16K, where Robert's gang is is also a good place to acclimatize. 17 camp, highcamp, is the best place to try to summit from but 14.2 and 16.2 are better camps to acclimatize at.

That's all for now. We have another West Buttress flying on the mountain tonight Led by Jared Vilhauer and Chris Nance and an Upper West Rib of Denali starting tomorrow led by Greg Collins and Sam Johnson.

Stay tuned 'til the next episode.


Monday, May 21, 2007

Current Conditions on Denali from Mark Postle at 14K

Robert said there was a "cap" setting in on top of the mountain. Here is a pic of a "cap" on the mountain.

These lenticular clouds mean that there are high winds aloft. They do not mean that there is bad weather coming in necessarily or anything like that. They just mean that you do not go up towards the summit when they are lingering.

Mark Postle and his crew are holding tight at 14K. He said that the Weather isn't too bad at 14K, but looked a little windy up on the ridge. They are going to hang and get a little more acclimatization at 14K. They are still doing great.

Two members of the May 8th team led by Mark have come down off of the mountain. They had a great trip and were in amazingly high spirits for having just come out from 14K to basecamp in a push. Steve and Michelle Tierney of Anchorage decided to come down a few days ago. Michelle was in a lot of pain from her boots. They wish the team well and are looking forward to rejoining them for a few beers in Anchorage when they get down.

That's all for now. Everyone is doing fine and I'm sure we will here from some of our other crews as soon as they get into celery phone range.


May 2nd Denali Departure, Mountain Link, 16,400

Okonek photo of a camp at 16,200'

Just talked to Robert Link a few minutes ago. He and Solveigh headed up from 14K yesterday in perfect weather with the 4 remaining team members. They put in a camp at 16,200 at the top of the fixed lines. Tomorrow is their official out date. That doesn't mean much though. All that really means for this crew is that they might be running a little light on food and fuel. Luckily other teams have left them plenty of food and fuel at the next camp up, 17,200'. All of the team is doing well, and still very motivated to keep going.

Robert said that hanging out at 14k this past week has been like being at the beach it was so warm. They are dug in at 16.2 camp now, but are planning on sitting tight until the winds die down a bit. From where they are now on the ridge they are close enough to potentially be able to make a run for the summit the following day after reaching high camp.

This is all old hat for Robert. He has spent as much time on this mountain as anybody up there these days. The winds weren't too strong where they were but were a little stronger higher up. This is one advantage of all the updates in communications over the years, is the ability to find out current conditions almost anywhere on the mountain with the click of a button.

So that's the word from Robert. He is extending the length of his trip as it stands right now to give those that want to continue and don't have to be back for anything the chance. If anyone needs to get down for prior commitments he will be able to make arrangements from up there to accommodate them.

That's all for now.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

May 15 Departure Upper West Rib, Kevin Mahoney, 14,200'

Photo: View of Denali's Upper West Rib route

Kevin and David are enjoying a rest day at the 14,200' camp along with the May 8 West Buttress Expedition and many other climbers and National Park rangers. All is well. Kevin and David are planning on making a carry of their equipment, food and fuel up to the Rib tomorrow. The weather is fantastic up there today.


May 2 Denali Departure, Robert Link, 17,200'

Photo: AMS climber on the looking out at the view of the 16K ridge and beyond from high camp at 17,200 feet

We just heard from another AMS team that the May 2nd team has moved today to the 17,200 - high camp, we will wait to hear more from them directly, but today is a beautiful day on the mountain so they have plenty of time to get there and set up their camp. We wish them all the best!


May 8 Denali Departure, Mark Postle, 14,200'

Photo: Climber's on the 16K ridge heading to high camp

Lead guide, Mark Postle just called in from the 14,200' camp where the team is taking a well deserved rest day. It is very beautiful day up there today, everyone is enjoying the warm temperatures, sunshine and commroderie. Yesterday they carried some of their equipment, food and fuel to the top of the fixed lines at 16,200'. It was a bit windy and there were many other people on the fixed lines, this slowed their pace a bit, so they decided to put their cache of gear at the top of the lines rather than further up the ridge. He said everyone did well on the carry and is in good spirits. They are looking forwrd to their move up to high camp at 17,200' tomorrow.

The move to 17,200 is one of the most beautiful days of travel on the mountain, once they reach the top of the fixed lines they will climb along the ridge, moving around big boulders and looking down at the mountain world below. They will be moving slowly, coordinating their steps with their breathing and when they arrive a 17,200' they will be happy to be there. They will put up their tents and the guides will soon have hot drinks, soup and a hot dinner ready to eat! The team will settle in and hope for a good nights rest!


May 15 Denali Departure, Christian March, 11K

Photo: building camp at 11K, with the Kahiltna Dome in the background.

We got an update that Christian's team has moved up to camp at 11,200'. They are right on schedule.

I picked Steve up at the at the talkeetna airstrip, where all of the air services land and take off from to take climbers to and from the mountains. Steve is doing well despite his knee problems. He and the team had to make a very difficult and hard, but wise decision to send Steve out. Steve felt that even if he could continue on and endure the pain that he would potentially be a liability to the team.

Steve was able to "get a ride" with another guided group from the bottom of Ski Hill to Base Camp. By doing it this way Mike and Ben were able to stay with the rest of the team and continue up the mountain to 11k camp and Christian and the gang never missed a beat.

So they are doing there thing up there at 11.

That's all folks.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

May 12th Denali Departure, Christian March

Photo:Heading out from 7,800 ' camp at the bottom of Ski Hill.

Christian March, the lead guide called in yesterday from the top of "Ski Hill". His crew is doing well. You cannot get cell service from everywhere on the "hill" and guides are trying to conserve batteries for an emergency, so we only get calls every few days if we're lucky.

One of the team member's knees is bothering him. As far as we know, Steve Carter made the wise and difficult decision to come down because of his knee. Steve did not tweak or injure his knee but must be battling some chronic knee pain.
There is so much up and down climbing on Denali annd carrying heavy packs and awkward sleds etc. that it is nearly impossible to function on Denali with any type of injury. Christian said Steve is still very positive but feels he can not carry on with his knee the way it is.

If Steve does in fact come out, more than likely he will come out, from the bottom of ski hill, 7,800 ' camp, with assistant guides
Mike Janes and Ben Criswell as a rope team of 3. Then, as soon as Steve is on a plane from Kahiltna Base Camp to Talkeetna, we will pick him up from the airstrip and Mike and Ben will race back to the rest of the team at the bottom of ski hill (7,800 ' camp) and rejoin them to head up to the next camp.

Christian is waiting for the return of his assistants before heading up to his next camp. He is staying put for a couple of reasons. First reason, it is safer to travel with the backup of other experienced glacier travelers/climbers such has Mike and Ben, and second it is against National Park Service' protocols to travel in a 1:5 ratio rope team.

These types of scenarios are quite common on Denali, where guides are moving up and down the mountain to take care of different logistics while always making certain that other team members are taken care of.

We will update everyone as soon as we know more.


Denali May 8- May 28, 14K camp

Photo: Brian Okonek Collection
Mark Postle, the lead guide on this expedition called in last night to report that everybody is doing well. They did a "back carry" to 13,500 feet on Friday. This means that they went to retrieve some food and fuel that they had cached during a carry while the crew was camped out at 11K. A back carry is somewhat of a rest day, but folks are able to get out and excersise getting the blood flowing which aids in acclimatization.

Their plan is to make a carry to the top of the fixed lines or further today. Depending on conditions and energy will determine how far the group is able to cache. I think their plan is to take a rest day tomorrow and then start thinking about making the move to high camp in a couple of days when they have a good weather window.

We have 3 AMS groups up at 14K right now and more coming up behind them as we speak. We will up date more as we get phone calls from the field.


Upper West Rib, Kevin and David

Photo: looking up at the Upper Rib from 14K on a super windy day.

Just got a call this morning from Kevin. They were at 14K camp chillin drinking some coffee and hanging out with some other New Hampshirites. Kevin and David have single carried all the way to 14, which let me tell you is no easy feat. They broke trail yesterday from camp at 11,200 feet up motorcycle hill until they ran into other climbers coming down the mountain at around 12,500 feet. They still made it in about 8 hours. By making this move in 8 hours means that they are both very strong.

!4 K camp is considered by all climbers and National Park Service to be a safe camp as far as crevasses go, so they are now able to walk around freely withoiut being tied into the rope. Kevin and David had moved into the first available campsite that they found last night, brewed up, ate dinner and basically went to bed, quite tired I would imagine. They are going to go scope for a better camp this morning amongst the vacated camps in the 14 K climber city.

They are both feeling strong, and plan on resting for 2 days at 14 to acclimitize. They are going to start stocking their upper camp or camps at 16+ thousand feet on the Upper Rib in a couple of days.

As soon as we get another call from Kevin we will update you.

Cheers, Rob