Friday, June 29, 2007

A small update from Louis

Photo: Louis Saas

Louis is hoping to carry up onto the Ridge tomorrow. The weather seems like it is going to remain good enough to make a carry. Everyone is still having a good time up there. From Talkeetna, today, it sure looked like a nice day up there, despite the winds up high.

That's all the info I have for now. I'm sure we'll hear more from others soon.

Mike Hamill and Elliot Gaddy are heading in tomorrow for one of our last departures for the season, as is Melis Coady, Todd Tumolo and Larry Holmgren.

Both of these crews are finalizing their packing today and making adjustments to food and fuel loads based on all the updates from the mountain on how much food and fuel other groups were able to leave for them. One of the perks of a late season trip: a little lighter.

We'll let you know as soon as we know more.


News From Marchy at 17,200'

Today is Marchy's Team "Up or Down Day" and the wind is still high up there so they tried their level best, but are coming down today. That is just the way it is in the mountains, moves are always dictated by the weather. The team is also taking a couple of other folks down from other groups this afternoon. They had some pretty tough weather with their waiting at 14K and with this last stint at 17K. They all worked hard up there and we can't wait to see them back in Talkeetna safe and sound sometime in the next few days.

All for now,

Thursday, June 28, 2007

More News from Big-D

Spoke with all the trips on Denali again today. Here's the latest and greatest:
Louis and Bayard just rolled into 14,200' camp today. Denali says "Way cooler than Antartica". Bev and Sam: "Super excited to be on the mountain". Everyone is doing well and they're most likely going to rest for the remainder of the day.

Marchy's group: At high camp. Everyone is doing great and happy to be there. Super strong crew.

Nate and Mike's trip is going well. They're at 14,200'. They rolled in yesterday and are planning on spending the next 4 nights there. They'll do a back carry today and carry up to high camp either tomorrow or the next day.
Another beautiful day here in Talkeetna!

Updates from Big-D

We had a few calls last night from the mountain. First one came from Nate Opp and Mike Janes crew. They're camping at 14,200' and today they will be doing a back carry to 11,000'.

Louis and Bayard's crew is at 11,000' and planning another day sitting tight. They'll most likely make a move higher tomorrow or the next day.

Good ol'Marchy is at high camp with their crew and are waiting for their summit window. Everyone is doing good and enjoying the beautiful day. That's all the news for now. Until the next post!

Sunday, June 24, 2007

June 19 Denali West Buttress with Guides Louis and Bayard

I just hung up the phone with Louis, he was calling in from 9,500' on the Kahiltna Glacier. They carried their extra food, fuel and equipment to 11,000' today and will move there tomorrow. They are in a whiteout storm, as they have been for the last several days, it is blowing and snowing, today they have about 6 inches of fresh snow in their camp. They can still move up to 11,000' camp tomorrow even in weather like this, they have put in a wanded trail today, so it should be good going tomorrow, despite the blowing and snowing.

A few messages from the team:

From Denali to her family: " See you in 30 minutes, having a great time."

From Sam: " Yo"

From Rip: " I don't have a computer." - author's note: Rip lives way out in the Alaskan bush, you can only get to his place by plane.

From Bev: "I'm having a great time and enjoying the scenery."

Mike, Nate, Zoltan and Krisztina are settled in at 11,000' having a rest day. It is pretty windy above them so they will wait to carry until the weather is better. I am sure they will be happy to see Louis team roll into camp tomorrow.

All is well!

- Caitlin

Team Kahn with Melis and Kirby Back at Basecamp

Team Kahn with Melis and Kirby are back at basecamp on the Kahiltna Glacier waiting to fly out. Well done Team Kahn on negotiating the lower glacier with the fresh snowfall, that should make for some good stories! It has not been flyable for the past several days, so we hope that the weather clears up enough for them to get back to Talkeetna in the next few days.

It's not a raging storm out there, it's just not good enough visibility for the airplanes to get there and pick them up. All planes flying in the Alaska Range are under a Visual Flight Rules protocol, because of the nature of mountain flying. They must be able to actually see where they are going versus an Instrument Flight Rules protocol where there are no obstacles in the way, like at 30,000'!

I'm sure they are hanging out in their tents, taking short walks, visiting with other waiting climbers and day dreaming about eating burgers and fries.

NEWS FLASH! When I just spoke with Louis he said he saw Team Kahn on their way out and said they looked great!

We'll see them soon!


Saturday, June 23, 2007

A few different updates.

Marchy is waiting out marginal weather and teaching classes at 14K. Nothing new up there.

Louis called in from somewhere around the 9,500' area. They are doing great and plan on carrying up to 11K tomorrow and moving up to 11K the following day. They are hanging out in a bit of a snow storm. That particular area is notorious for snow squalls. A lot of the weather gets funnelled over from the North through Kahiltna pass, just above the where Louis and Bayard's crew is right now. All is good.

Louis ran into Nate, Mike, Zoltan and Krizstina today and they were heading up to camp at 11K. He said they were all doing well. there is zero cell reception from 11K so we most likely will not here from Nate and mike until they roll into 14K.

Melis and the rest of the team, I heard through the grapevine were waiting at the bottom of ski hill until tonight when it gets colder and then they will travel across the lower glacier to base camp. There is no cell reception at the bottom of ski hill (7,800' camp). We expect them to roll into base camp early tomorrow morning and to hopefully see them tomorrow as long as it is flyable.

That's all I got right now. Sounds like all is well for everybody up there right now and we'll update all of you when we know more.


Friday, June 22, 2007

Marchy (A.K.A.) The Appalachian Mountain Samurai.

The Myth, the Man, The Legend. Christian March

Not much more to report. They're resting today. He said the weather looks like it is changing a bit. The winds are picking up higher up on the mountain. What does this mean for our June 12 Denali folks? Who knows? The weather can change very quickly up there. Sometimes, storms last for days and sometimes storms last for hours.

Melis and Kirby are still chillin in 14 as of a 1/2 hour ago. Supposedly it's raining on the lower glacier and they are going to try to avoid that. They are in no hurry and may or may not leave the comforts of 14 camp.

Later, Rob

Update From Melis Coady and Team Kahn

Guide Melis Coady phoned in last night at 8:30 p.m.

She and her crew are doing well, they descended to 14,200' yesterday, Thursday. They are doing "the hang at 14K" and will make their way towards basecamp and will fly out sometime in the next few days, weather depentant of course. We can't wait to see them!!!

As is typical for Alaskan summers, there are several large fires burning in the state. The big fire burning right now is between Talketna and the south side of Denali National Park. Yesterday we had tons of smoke in Talkeetna and it even delayed flights in to the mountains to pick up climbers and for flightseeing tourists. Team Kahn has been watching the smoke from high on the mountain since it started burning several days ago. It can create some dramatic skies.

Good work Team Kahn and we look forward to your stories!

- Caitlin

Thursday, June 21, 2007

News from Denali!

Got a couple calls this morning... first one from Talkeetna Air Taxi letting us know that Postle and crew are in basecamp and awaiting a flight. Should be back at AMS around 10:30-11:30. We have a little watermelon to wet their parched, dry, sunbaked lips when they arrive. This team did an amazing job and still managed to come back a few days early. Yeah!

The second call came from Nate Opp and Mike Janes. They're setting a cache at 10,200 feet and then heading back down to 7,800 feet for tonight. Everyone is doing well and enjoying the gorgeous weather!

Third call came from Kirby Senden on Melis and the Kahn's trip. We couldn't understand everything from the message but got that they tried for the summit yesterday and were turned down due to weather. They're currently at high camp, 17,000 feet, and are hoping to try again for the summit today.

That's all for now. We'll keep ya posted AMS style!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Happy Birthday

Mark Postle wanted me to wish his mom a happy birthday.

That funny looking guy (Mark Postle) and his merry group of summiteers will be leaving 14 tonight to head out to base camp.

It's perfect weather up there right now.


Marchy at 14!

A self portrait (almost) of part of Marchy and crew heading toward 14 with windy corner in the back ground.

He said his group was "good, real good!" "Strong, Man".

Now they are going to get set up and dug in and go to sleep until the sun hits them in the morning and forces them out of their tents. That'll be sometime around 10:00 AM if I remember correctly. Then they'll go get the cache, just down from camp about 20 minutes, (20 min. down, but an hour or more coming back up the hill to 14K) Too bad it can't be down hill both ways, eh?

From here on out, lots of things come into play as far as what they do next and when.

We'll keep you posted as we find out what they are up to.


Kahn's going for the Big View!

Melis called in this morning saying "Another beautiful day"! Everyone is doing great, strong and happy at 17,000 feet. They are heading for what Rob called the "TippyTop" since this may turn out to be another day just like yesterday... one of those perfect days. We hope to get news from them later and will post again as soon as we do.
Good luck to Melis, Kirby and all the Kahn boys!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007


Most guides are just a little funny looking, see... This is Mark Postle about two days after his last summit, only a few weeks ago.

Postle called in from the top AGAIN. Every one of his folks made the top. I think he also said they were wearing t-shirts.

All was casual and they will, hang out up there for awhile and head back down to 17 in a bit.

If any of you want to click the link to the south side webcam on the side of this Blog, you'll see they do not have any weather to worry about what so ever.

Today's summit day is one of those days you might describe as the best of the best. Some people might say that about Postle too "the best of the best"), and if they don't say that, I'm sure at least they say he's a darn nice guy (and funny looking).

He also said that Melis was moving up to 17 today. She might even be going for the summit tomorrow. That's all I know there.

Louis and Bayard's trip made it into base camp this afternoon and are planning on doing classes tomorrow in camp and then heading out.

Nate Opp and Mike Jane's also made it in to base camp and will be moving out tonight. They are with Zoltan and Krizstina from Hungary.




Christian called in from 13,500', which is on the 14 camp side of windy corner. They were making there cache in Hawaiian shirts he said. Super warm. Perfect conditions. They are going to head back to 11 and move up to 14 tomorrow assuming the weather holds. Everyone is doing really well and send their best to all there friends and family.

Christian didn't really have much to say, just that all is well.

He did say it looked like a good summit day.


Monday, June 18, 2007

Update from Marchy's Group

Climber's at 12,000 feet of Denali's West Buttress route.

Christian (aka "Marchy") called in from Kahiltna Pass at 9700'. Cell reception is really good due to the clear weather. Today the group is picking up their cache as they move to 11,200' camp; a little behind on schedule due to the weather days at the beginning but nothing significant. Everyone is doing great and really strong. They're enjoying the day and celebrating Chris Wood's 21st birthday! What a great way to do it Chris!

A few messages:
Big shout out to everyone at AMH!
Much love to the brunette beauty!

And the newest verse from Marchy...
"From Haites to heaven
8 Souls take their ride
Sure enough, climb with
in that they take pride"

If the weather stays good tomorrow they'll be moving to Windy Corner at 13,500'.
Good luck guys!

June 12th Denali, West Buttress Expedition

Finally a post about the June 12th Denali expedition; sorry for the tardiness! For those of you wondering, Marchy & Leighan's group was weathered in Talkeetna until the 14th. They got into basecamp that morning bright and early. They had made an attempt into the range on the evening of the 13th but cloud's socked in basecamp before they got there preventing the plane from landing.

The last few days have been amazing however! Practically not a cloud in the sky with just a slight breeze. Ideal! According to this groups itinerary, they should be at 11,000' camp and carrying to 13,500', at Windy Corner soon. We typically don't receive any calls from groups until they reach approximately 14,000' due to cell reception and weather so hopefully we'll get a call soon. When we do you can expect another posting.
Until then!

Saturday, June 16, 2007

A quick update from Mark Postle at High camp.

Since Postle's group did so good getting to high camp I thought I'd give a brief update.

They made it to high camp in 6 1/4 hours! That is almost unheard of. Mark said his pack weight was half what it normally is (I seriously doubt that), but everyone probably did have lighter packs than normal.

No one is overly tired and if the weather is absolutely perfect they will consider going for the summit tomorrow, otherwise they will rest. I understand where he is coming from. Some years you don't get all that many summit windows and you have to take advantages of the ones you do get.

Mark said High camp is a ghost town right now. There were only 4 other tents there when he moved in. They are just chillin and brewing up right now. He said the weatther report sounded a bit dubious but for those of you (if any) who have been following this blog, you'll have already heard my opinion about the weather reports, BLAH, BLAH, BLAH!

That's it. Those guys are doing awesome and MArk sounded confident. He said he'd call me tomorrow regardless, yeah right, I've heard that before.


Team Kahn June 6 Denali Update

Team Kahn, the June 6 Denali departure's, lead guide Melis Coady phoned in at 10 pm Friday night, June 15th. She said that they were enjoying the awesome weather on Denali and their plan is to carry food, fuel, and extra equipment up to 16,200' today, they are all doing very well!

She relayed messages from the team:

From Ed:
To Hana: " I love you, I wish you were here."
To Alica and Alesandro: "It's a little colder here but you would still love it."
To Rachael and Erik: "It's like nothing you have ever seen."

From Joe:
To Nancy: " I love you and Becky good luck at camp."

From Samuel:
To Mom: " I had a great birthday party, I had ice cream that rivals Dad's."

From Brian:
To Mom, Becky and Maggie: " Life is good at fourteen thousand feet, my backpack weighs more than both of you."

I am sure we will be getting more updates from Melis, Kirby and the guys in the near furutre!


May 29 Denali Summit!!!!

A summit photo from back in the day. For the last several years our Denali climbs are capped at
6 climbers.

Tork called in this morning from High camp.

His entire crew summitted yesterday in perfect weather. To all their friends, you can look forward to some shaweet photos. The views from the summit ridge are glorious.

They went up in 9 1/2 hours and down in 3 1/2 hours for a total summit day of 13 hours. That's a pretty normal summit time. Tork said everyone did awesome yesterday and are still strong.

I just talked to him a little while ago and they were packing up camp and getting ready to head down to 14K.

Mark Postle, the AMS lead guide right behind Tom is heading up to high camp as we speak. Tom and Mark's teams are doing the, elusive, often talked about but rarely done..."14, 17 tent swap.

This means that neither group has to carry the weight of tents up or down for that move. This makes a big difference.

I'm not sure what Mark's plans are as I did not talk directly to him, but I imagine they will take a rest day at high camp. They are in no hurry.

Tom plans on hanging out in 14 until tonight, when it gets colder and heading out latter. Their plans are to make it down and out for tomorrow, but he said since they still have extra time they might just take their time coming down and shoot for flying back to Talkeetna on Monday.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Mountain Update

Greg Collins called in from 14,200' today to check in and give us a mountain report. He is now on a personal trip on Denali but you may be interested to know that he along with 6 other friends skied the Messner Couloir yesterday and they are planning another ski descent on the mountain as long as the weather holds. He said he hopes to be back in Talkeetna in a few days and is looking forward to a hot shower! Good luck to Greg and his ski buds on the mountain!

The June 5 Denali climb with Mark Postle is at 14,200' and having a rest day today. All is well with them.

The May 29 Denali Expedition with Tom Torkelson is rumored to be going for the summit today. We have not heard from them directly but if they really have gone for it today the weather couldn't be any better.

Greg said that you could be up there in a T-Shirt today!

Stay Tuned,

Kahiltna Dome Expedition Update

One of the many views from base camp, The Moonfloiwer Buttress on the North face of Mt. Hunter.

Everybody headed up to climb Kahiltna Dome last night. They left camp at about 10:00 PM, this time of year at those elevations we climb and travel at night to make use of the freezing temperatures making the climbing conditions more favorable.

The group ended up turning around at about midnight due to poor avalanche conditions. They made a very wise decision. I think people sometimes learn more about hazard evaluation and etc. from turning around as they do from reaching the summit never having encountered danger.

Earlier in the season there were two climbers killed in an avalanche on a private expedition in a different area of the range. Tim and Lindsay are both very conservative and very knowledgeable about the snowpack and know when to say when.

Their plan is to head back to base camp and do some more classes back there. They should be there by now as this message was left last night at about 7:15 PM. They were going to go from 9,800 foot camp to base camp at 7,200'. Obviously that is mostly down hill but they have to go up the seemingly never ending heartbreak hill to get into base camp.

We won't hear from them until they get out from the mountains. 9,800' camp is the last place they will get cell reception.


Thursday, June 14, 2007

Kahiltna Expedition Going for the Summit!

Tim called in last night at 9:00 pm to let us know that his crew is doing great and they were going for the summit. It's typically to climb like this late at night to take advantage of cooler temperatures. I'm sure they had a great climb since this morning there's practically not one cloud in the sky!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Tork at 17,200' - High Camp

Climbers building camp at 17K. Brian Okonek photo.

Tork and crew are installed at highcamp and EVERYBODY is doing really good. They made it up there in 9 1/2 hours, which is very respectable.

He said the weather looks good and the report the weather service is giving backs it up. Their plan right now is to take a rest day and go for the summit on Friday if the weather holds.

That's all he had to report.

Greg and Sam's team are all off the glacier. As of right now Greg and Sam are still stuck at base camp. There is 55 other people waiting to be picked up from Base camp too, so our air service, Talkeetna Air Taxi, will launch the fleet if and when they can and pick up all the base camp dwellers.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Another upper mountain update, Tork, Postle, Melis

Tom Torkelson called in a bit ago. He said the weather was good at 14,200' but the visability wasn't all that good (probably some clouds were floating around them). He was pretty certain that his whole crew was going to head up to high camp in the morning. This move day from 14 to 17 is a hard day. I bet it takes them somewhere between 9 and 12 hours. He said they will take a rest day the following day and go for the summit on Friday. This is all depending on the weather of course. So take this plan with a grain of salt. Tom's group took a hike up to 15,600 feet on the upper rib today for a little acclimatizing.

Anja, a climber from Jared VIlhauer's West Buttress expedition, joined Tom's group. The rest of Jared's group headed down several days ago. Anja is a strong addition to the crew. Anja has climbed the direct Polish Glacier on Aconcagua with Tom this past winter.

Tom handed the phone off to AMS Guide Mark Postle, so I talked to him as well. They are all doing well. They rolled into 14 today I believe, and are planning on back-carrying tomorrow and then front-carrying to the 16 ridge the following day, then rest and then move if all goes well.

Postle said he had been hanging with Melis' team down at 11K and said she and her crew looked and felt great and, weather depending of course, they were planning on heading up to 14 tomorrow.

The June 12 Denali West Buttress departure with guide, Christian March just got word from our air service , Talkeetna Air Taxi, that they were not going to be able to get them in to the Kahiltna glacier tonight, so they are on hold until tomorrow. They were hanging out doing classes aroud the shop all afternoon.

That also means that Greg and Sams group did not make it out of the mountains and will be back to Talkeetna at the earliest tomorrow morning if the weather cooperates and there are not too many people ahead of them in line to get out.

And that's it.

Toodaloo, Rob

I have no photos to post, I'm on someone elses computer, sorry.

Kahiltna Dome Expedition Doing Great!

Tim called today for a quick update. Everyone is at camp 4, approximately 10,000 feet and practicing self arrests. Their plan was to head for the summit tonight but they received a little bit of weather earlier today. Their plan is to rest tonight and go for the summit tomorrow given good weather and conditions. As we hear, we'll update.

Monday, June 11, 2007


Photo of "Tork" aka Teton Tom

Torkelson and Jeff are at 14 and all is well. They have been reviewing all of the necessary skills needed to travel safely higher up. He is hoping to move up to high camp tomorrow. Everyone in his group is doing well.

That's all for now.

p.s. Claire, I sent Sandro your wishes of a 1000 kisses. (that rhymes :-)


Kahiltna Dome

Here's a photo with Denali in the background with the summit of Kahiltna Dome in the immediate foreground.

Tim and Lindsay's team is at 9,800 foot camp and doing great. Tim said "an hour ago it was stormy and now it's 'bluebird'".

Today is Lindsay's Birth day. Happy Birthday Lindsay!! Tim dragged a cake from the roadhouse in his sled for her.

They will be doing more classes all day tomorrow and weather permitting, climbing Kahiltna Dome the following day. Everybody is having a good time.

Update from Kahn & Postles Crew's

We recently had a call from Melis and the Kahn crew. They're sitting pretty at 11,000 feet and today will do a back carry to 9,700 feet to pick up more supplies. They're planning to take a rest day tomorrow and do some skills and class reviews before heading further up on the mountain. Everyone is doing well, strong, and according to Melis "still family". We most likely won't hear from them until they reach 14,000 feet which may be a few days. As a note to family, the Kahn's cell phones do not work on the mountain.

In other news... Postle's crew is making their way to cache at 13,500 feet today and should be heading back to 11,000 feet tonight. Everyone in this expedition is also doing well and enjoying the climb, especially after an amazing day yesterday... the weather was phenomenal!
Until the next post!

West Rib Team Back at Notch Camp

Guide Greg Collins left a message earlier today telling us that they made it safely back to Notch Camp at 1:40 am this morning.


We look forward to having this team back in Talkeetna sometime in the next couple of days.



Greg called down from the football field at 9:30PM while descending from having summitted with the whole crew. They are going to reverse their route back down to notch camp at 16,400 on the rib. All is well and the weather is still fine.

Nice job!!!


Sunday, June 10, 2007

Breaking Upper Rib News - Mountain Update

Greg Collins and the Upper West Rib team just called in and said they are at the top of the rocks at 18,200' on the West Rib, they are on their way to the Summit as I type. During the phone call they were hooting and hollering in the back ground - so all sounded well! GOOD LUCK!!!!!

To clarify our previous posts about these guys: They had talked about changing plans and going for the West Buttress when the snow conditions were not optimal on the Rib, but since then the snow has become nice for climbing on the Upper Rib so they are on their way up now and very happy to be doing so. Things change constantly in the mountains, we just have to go with the flow and do our best to keep you informed, sorry for any confusion. Stay tuned for more on these guys!

The May 22 Denali Departure with guide Jared Vilhauer and his crew came out this morning they had a good experience and a lot of fun with all of their time spent at the 14,200' camp. There was tons of nasty weather up high so they stayed put, making a smart safety choice.

Jared reported to us that the May 29 Denali Departure with guide Tom Torkelson (aka "Tork") and team did arrive at 14K on June 8th. The weather is nice up there today. I have not talked to Tork yet, but we hope to soon.


Sunday Weather forecast

Here's an up to ate picture of the weather in the mountains

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Greg and Sam at High Camp

A viwe of Mt. Huntington from the summit ridge of Denali.

Greg's boys shoed up at high camp this afternoon in good weather and Greg said it looks good for tomorrow.

They are going to give it a go. He said everybody is doing really good.

Shaweet!! and Gooooood luck!


Kahiltna Dome June 8 departure, Tim Hewette

The 2007 AMS Kahiltna Dome Expedition: Guides; Tim Hewette and Lindsay Howk, and climbers; Drew Tegeler, Daniel Wuestenberg, Brian Fry, Jesse Tanner and Aaron Millner were packed and ready for their scheduled departure on June 7th, but the air taxi said it would be better to wait until the weather cleared a bit. It cleared a bit in the later evening, but still not quite good enough to fly.

The first thing on the moring of the 8th, the weather cleared and they flew in! I am sure they didn't miss a beat once they landed on the South East Fork of the Kahiltna Glacier. The field reports tell us that the weather is glorious on the Kahiltna Glaicer today.

We probably won't get too many updates from this team, as cell phone reception is spotty for most of the way to the Dome. You can rest assured that we will update you if we hear from them!


Melis and Kirby's team.

Here is a picture by Brian Okonek of camp at 9,700' where the Kahn clan will be sleeping tomorrow night, weather permitting.

I just listened to a message from Melis about ten times to try to hear it all.

The only thing I could hear for sure was that they were making a carry up towards the top of ski hill and they were doing great.

She said the weather is and has been nice where are but looks not so good above 11K. They will be returning back to sleep at 7,800' camp and hopefully moving to 9,700' tomorrow.

The rest of the message was just some chit chatting small talk that I could not make a word out of.

Melis and Kirby both are very fun and extremely patient and conservative, and while her folks were a bit nervous starting out, I'm betting they are a lot more relaxed now. Climbing Denali is a one day at a time mountain and it is understandable how people cam get overwhelmed, especially after seeing all the intimidating photos posted up all over town, in the restaurants, cafes, ranger station and National Park Service climber briefing, everybody, including guided groups must attend.

That's all for now, Melis sounded like her regular happy self.


Friday, June 8, 2007


Jared just called a little while ago. Several groups tried moving up to high camp on the West Buttress today. All of them turned around and returned to 14K due to high winds.

Greg and Sam's team, as it turns out, never even left camp.

Jared said the weather looked a little didgy below 14K as well so he was going to feel it out, and either leave later on today or first thing in the morning.

That's the latest.


The latest...

Heading down around windy corner

I've got a few updates for everyone.

The weather has gotten a little bit better up on the upper mountain. It is still fairly windy up there but they're calling for another increase in wind speed by this afternoon. Who knows how accurate that weather forecast will be. I never listened to the wx reports when I was up there 'cause they are wrong so often.

Jared and Chris's crew has had enough. They have been stuck at 14 for 10 days now I think. Today was their "up or down" day. They are pretty much out of time and are heading down. Jared and Chris are going up the fixed lines to the 16 ridge to retrieve their cache of gear up there. They will most likely depart from 14 this afternoon and time it so that they are on the lower glacier during the coldest part of the night. It was a tough decision they had to make this morning whether to go up or to go down. They felt that with the weather conditions they have today and the conditions they feel they are going to have later today and tomorrow and the lack of time they have left, they would head down.

Greg's crew on the other hand has more days left than Jared's team. They also are moving VERY quickly and Greg feels that they can safely make it up to High Camp. Greg's original expedition was slated for the upper rib of Denali, but they are going for the slightly less difficult West Buttress option hoping to increase their chances of summitting.

Tom Torkelson's team is at 11K camp and have been experiencing a little bit of what Denali can dish out on the mid mountain. While usually not as severe as the upper mountain, it can get pretty tough there. Sometimes more snow falls at that elevation and while you might not have the 100 mph winds you might have 50+ mph with more snow falling which is why we say Denali is a blue coller mountain, 'cause of all the digging and wall building needed to fortify camps, etc.

I have not heard from Tom today, so I do not know if he is moving up today to 14 or not. I do know that he has a cache in at the corner and is poised to move up as soon as they get the chance.

We have 3 other expeditions lower down on the mountain that are not in cell phone range yet, no updates yet on them.

stay tuned


Wednesday, June 6, 2007

14K freight train

Wind plumes coming off of the 16 ridge. I think it is a bit windier up there right now than this photo shows.

Jared called in again from 14K. He said it looked a little better this Morning and they thought about heading up, but by 7:30 AM it was Nuking again. Some other random parties have tried to make it to the 16 Ridge over the last several days and no one has even made it above the bottom of the fixed lines.

They are still hanging in there and patiently waiting for a weather window. Greg's group is still hanging at 14 as well.

There are some other parties that have been "doing battle" at high camp for well over a week and have been unable to go anywhere.


June 5, West Buttress Departure

Yesterday was a beautiful day here in Talkeetna! A great day to start an expedition! Mark Postle and Josh Hoeschen, along with John Davis, Neil Murphy, Jared McFaddin, Dan Walters, John Quillen, and Erik Jansen's expedition started without any hitches and were able to fly to basecamp around 4:30 pm. According to their itinerary they should be practicing and reviewing glacier travel and crevasse rescue today at basecamp, in preparation for the haul up the mountain. I'm sure they're all working on their racoon tans as today is another practically cloudless day.

They'll start to move tomorrow on their way from basecamp (7200') to 7800'. It'll be hit and miss on communication until they reach 14,000' due to cell reception but we do hear from other groups coming off the mountain. We'll update the blog as soon as we hear anything. Until then!

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

The 14 hang.

Photo of a couple folks hangin at 14K.

Jared called in for a quick update. His and Greg's crew are still waiting it out at 14. Jared said it sounded like a freight train up at high camp. They should definitely be psyched they are waiting it out at 14 rather than getting pounded up at high camp. Everyone is doing fine. Jared's crew is on day 7 at 14K and Greg's group has been there a day or two longer, I think. They should be nice and acclimatized for when they head up. Both teams still have plenty of days built into the schedule. I heard Greg's group was getting in some good, roped up, skiing.

I'm sure one of those crews will update us if and when they head up higher.


Saturday, June 2, 2007

May 29 West Buttress Departure, Tom Torkelson

"Tork's" group at the Ranger Station in Talkeetna the day the flew in.

Lead Guide Tom Torkelson phoned in from the 9,700' foot camp today and said that the whole group is doing really well! They will be moving up to the 11K camp tommorrow. They plan to stay at the 11K camp for 4 nights to acclimatize, during the days they will go to pick up some gear they have cached lower on the mountain, take some well deserved rest, and carry their food, fuel and equipment further up the mountain. They said to say hello to all friends and family and they sounded like they were all strong and having a super time out there. The weather today is beautiful, sunny and no wind.

We probably won't hear from them until they get to the 14,200' camp on June 7th or 8th, because the cell phone reception is poor at the 11K camp. But when they carry to Windy Corner in a few days they may get in touch from there. Whenever they call in we will keep you posted!


Friday, June 1, 2007

Greg and J Rad caching

Greg called down from their high camp up at 16,400 on the upper Rib. He said "all systems go". That's Greg speak for, everything is going as planned and looking good for the future. They were heading back down to 14K for the night. He did not say when they were going to move up to the high camp. But he has left gear up there on the ridge, so that is different from the last time I spoke with him.

Jared's crew was carrying to the 16 ridge on the Buttress today, that's the only update I got about them.

And Christian's group left 14K to head down toward base camp this afternoon annd should be arriving there late tonight or tomorrow.

I don't have any more info. I just got a phone message today.