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.