Monday, July 16, 2007

Jason to return to Talkeetna

Melis called in this morning with the news that their team will start descending from 14,200' camp tonight due to the high avalanche danger at Denali Pass. They still have to climb to high camp at around 17K' to retrieve the gear and food which was carried up there previously. It's always unfortunate news when trips have to descend early but this is one of the few aspects of climbing in the Alaska Range... the unpredictable weather and conditions. The up side is that the last few days have been amazing. The entire range is visible from Talkeetna with practically no clouds! What a way to end the climb.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Mike Hamill, homeward bound

Mike, Elliot and the boys are leaving 14K tonight to head back to basecamp. They sat it out up there at high camp for 5 days, but didn't get a window. That's the way it works sometimes.

Hamill hasn't not made it to the top for a long time.

Melis is still hangin in up there. She's sticking it out with Dave Hahn and his group. They are still planning on heading up when they get a good break in the weather. They still have lots of time. I did not talk to her today though.

We have a 12 day mountaineering course hoping to get in early tomorrow, so if all goes well Hammy and crew will get to come out first thing in the morning on the plane that the course went in on.

Now you know as much as I do.


Thursday, July 12, 2007

Happy 69th birthday Pidgeon Man.

Melis, Jason, Todd and Larry are still chillin at 14 and Jason is "having a magical time".

Melis said they were eating like kings up there. They've been chowing hamburgers, salmon, cheesecakes etc. All kinds of stuff you wouldn't expect to get up there. Nevil Percy Smith left them a bunch of food when they vacated the 14 K camp.

She said it is crappy weather above and below them. It sounds like they are hangin in the sun and everyone else on the mountain is not.

They are just waiting for their window to move up to high camp. They are all doing fine. in fact Melis said they are strong.



Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Mike Hamill resting at 17,200'

Mike Hamill just phoned in and reports that everyone is feeling great at 17,200' (high camp) today. He said the weather was good at high camp right now. Mike and the team took a rest day today and have been assessing the snow conditions for their summit attempt. During the recent storm system, the normal route up to Denali pass received a lot of wind deposited snow and there is evidence of avalanches on the route making it unstable for travel right now. The alternate way up is a more direct route through some rocky areas. They have lots of time, so they will wait to see what happens with conditions and the weather. They are sitting pretty and ready for good weather and conditions.

- Roger, The comment about Jaro's pants made Mike laugh, he'll pass on the message.

Mike said he thought Melis and the team would make their way to high camp tomorrow.

Let's hope that a nice, big high pressure system is in their future!

All for now,

Monday, July 9, 2007

News from Melis

Melis called in this morning. Beautiful day in the Alaska Range! Rainy and overcast here in Talkeetna but the range was still wide open! Everyone is doing well! Still a ton of food and fuel at 14,200', therefore Melis sent Todd and Larry to carry more gear, food, and fuel higher up the mountain. Melis is taking it easy with a happy Jason and did a little climbing to around 15,000 feet. Depending on weather and conditions, they're planning on moving to 17,200 either tomorrow or the next day. In the meantime, Jason says "Leg feels better and having a FANTASTIC time"!

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Melis and crew at 14,200'

Melis, pulling down in Croatia.

Melis called in and she tells us that everything is GREAT with them at 14,200' and they have a 100 days of food and fuel. So, they won't be lacking hot water and hot meals. I can just imagine the amazing hot lunches they are making, hot soup and quesadillas anyone? It is still a ping pong ball up there, they are sitting in a cloud that is just hanging out with them at that elevation. It is clear above them at high camp but it it STILL very windy up higher.

And just so you all know, I am able to give Melis the messages/comments that you are leaving here for Jason, Todd and Larry. Have a good day!


Saturday, July 7, 2007

Life inside of a ping pong ball.

Life inside of a ping pong ball is how guides often describe being in a whiteout.

Mike and crew are in a white out right now up at 14. There is no wind though, so they're not stuck in a gnarly storm or anything. I'm actually not sure if it's snowing real hard or if they're just inside a cloud.

He said his crew is super strong and psyched. They have carried up onto the 16 ridge already and are just waiting for good enough weather to move up to high camp.

Mike said that Melis had just rolled into camp, but he had not had time to talk to her yet. I'm sure we'll hear from her soon.


Update from Melis

Melis is planning to move to 14 K today and all is well with them.

Yesterday, they carried to 13,500' in a snow storm, there was so much snow they used snowshoes all the way to windy corner, they said the conditions were great. Todd's birthday on the 4th was super they had pizza, ice cream and fireworks all thanks to Melis, I think she gets the ice cream maker award this season! Larry contiues to be the bird whisperer of the Kahiltna Glacier.

They all say " What's up cuz" to Robby G. (yes that's you, Rob)

Jason says " Hi to all his bitches back home." He said that message didn't need to be edited for the blog...

Update from Mike Hamill and Louis Sass Teams

All is well on Denali here are some updates for everyone, sorry for the delay!

- Mike Hamill is at 14K all is well with them. They are resting there today.

- Louis and Bayard's team are back in Talkeetna. Welcome Back!!! The team continued to see very high winds up high so they descended from 14K on Thursday night. They had to wait a basecamp all day before the weather was good enough to fly out. All except Louis flew out last night, when the weather closed in, leaving Louis to spend another night on the glacier. No worries though, he came out this morning and is chatting with the team, completing paperwork, packing up gear and generally enjoying the green of Talkeetna's summer! Denali and Sam had a good rest in the AMS tents and LOVED their hot showers this morning.

All for now,

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Happy 4th of July!

Louis called in recently to let us know his group is still sitting tight at 14,000'. The upper mountain has been seeing quite a bit of wind so they haven't been able to move yet. They're hoping to give it another try later today. A few messages from his team:
Denali: "Enjoying the Chill phase... getting ready to ATTACK"!
Sam: "Yo"
Bev: "Doing good"
Enjoy the 4th of July!

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Big Mountain Updates

Nate and Mike called yesterday with news from their group. Looks like they're making the difficult choice to descend today. Both Zoltan and Krisztina have flights to catch and they're planning on making them. They'll be pulling their cache from 16,200' and we should see them in a few days.

Melis called this morning. Everyone is doing great and making a cache at 10,000'. Their plan is to move to 11,000' tomorrow. Today is overcast and rainy here in Talkeetna, but Melis said there's nothing but blue skies right now where they're at. There's a few birthdays happening... the assistant guide, Todd Tumolo is having a birthday tomorrow on the 4th of July on the highest mountain of North America! Jason has a message to send out also... "HAPPY BIRTHDAY CLEO"! The last news from this group; Larry has made a friend with a bird on the Kahiltna Glacier. They're not sure what type, but Larry's catching fly's and feeding the little guy who is sitting on his shoulder. Not sure if the bird should be up there, might've gotten lost, but Melis said it was happy and nice and fat yesterday!

Melis also passed on news about Mike Hamill's group. They're currently at 11,000' and most likely planning a move to 14,000' tomorrow. Everyones extremely strong and they've been making a few single carries up the mountain.
Until the next post!

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Our last two teams for the 2007 season

Todd, Jason, Larry and Melis at the airstrip

We thought they might not get in last night but the weather lifted and both Melis and Mike Hamill's team made it in. Melis, I believe is still in base camp doing classes and will be getting ready to move out and get totally onto a night schedule. They will all travel at night during the coldest part of the day. They will be doing this all the way up to 14 camp presumably.

Elliot Gaddy and the boyz, Mike Hamill not in photo.

Hamill's team should be at the bottom of ski hill right now. They passed Marchy and Leighan at the bottom of heartbreak hill early this morning. Leighan said the glacier wasn't too bad. It froze last night or came pretty darn close.

We'll hear from both of these teams in another day or 2 perhaps when they get cell reception.

That's all for now.


Louis Louis

Louis's gang is resting today. They made a a carry up to the top of the fixed lines yesterday. All is good up there. They are planning on heading up to highcamp tomorrow if the weather is nice. If the weather is marginal they will hang out and try it the next day.

It's foggy and cloudy today up at 14 with light snow. One of our guides called down from 17 today and said it was windy up there and they were sitting tight. Sounds like perfect rest day weather.

Part of Marchy's team made it out this morning. Leighan made it out with the Bob, Mike, Bill and Chris. Hopefully Christian and the rest of 'em will be out later. The weather is kind of junky right now in Talkeetna, but is nice at basecamp. We just need it to lift a little here.

Best of luck.