Wednesday, June 4, 2008

June 4th update

Brian Okonek photo of some climbers returning to 11K. You can tell by the size of their sleds that they are coming down from the upper reaches of the mountain. If Kirby, Nate, Jon and Moises even used sleds today they would be returning with empty sleds, most likely stuffed inside of their backpacks. This particular photo was taken at night and the Western edge of the Polo field just nearing the top of Squirrel Hill, about 10-15 minutes from the top of Motorcycle Hill, FYI.

Kirby Senden called in from the 14K side of Denali Pass. They were putting in their cache. He said all was good. It's been pretty cold still up there he said. It was 0 deg. F. this morning at 11K. There was just a little bit of wind when he called some high clouds but not bad in the weather department. To me it looks like it may be cloudy for a couple days but I don't see anything major moving in. I'm not one to try to predict the weather. Guides, up on the mountain, can do the best job of determining what the weather might do. Kirby is planning on moving to 14K tomorrow if the weather allows.

Greg Collins has carried a load up to high camp on the Upper Rib. He said they are in no hurry. They have been making great time, but if the weather is nice enough tomorrow they will establish themselves at approximately 16,400 feet on the Rib. Snow conditions are still very favorable, they have received about 10 cm of light snow on a nice bootable surface.

Colby Coombs, Josh and Henrik are on there way up to 17K as we speak. at about 1:00 PM they were just about getting on to the fixed lines at 15,600 feet. My guess is thaty it'll only take them 5 hours or so to make it up to high camp. Weather permitting they will summit tomorrow. I haven't talked to Colby directly, he calls his wife Caitlin instead of me. Smart man. He told her that they are all doing great. More news from them soon, I'm sure. Colby was able to pull off a move to high camp today when other groups may not be quite as flexible. Keep in mind that Colby's team is on a 5-6 day summit track. They are all fit and Henrick is well acclimatized.

Brian McCullough and his team were heading off to do their back carry this afternoon. That probably means that they ate a bunch of pancakes while having a leisurely rest this morning. They are all strong he said. Brian is having a fun time and said everyone is working really hard.
14K can be a really social place with climbers from all over the world cruising around.

Brian, Johnny and Scott just before heading over to TAT.

Scott Woolums and crew should be carrying up to 11K today by my estimation. It sounds like the weather has been good enough to be moving about on the lower mountain. Scott has spent as much or more time on Denali than just about anyone, so if anyone can find his way around the lower mountain to cache or move it's Scott.

Mark Postle is at 14. One of his team members, Franz, re-injured an old back injury while at 14K. It was an old lifting and twisting injury that he re-hurt by lifting and twisting, I believe while building snow walls in camp. Franz is going to head down as soon as the weather gets good enough. Mark's gang is going to head up to high camp as soon as they get a break in the weather. Mark said there has been several guided groups up at 17 these past few days and no one has been going for the summit, so they are actually doing really well by still being at 14K. They are only getting stronger, instead of getting weaker by hanging out at 17K.

Mike Janes and Leighan Falley's team.

Mike just flew off of Denali a week or so ago from his first trip. He flew back to Juneau, AK to visit with his wife and son for a few short days and he just flew out this after noon. They have a real nice team.

They were supposed to have flown out yesterday afternoon, but the weather did not allow it. One of their expedition members, Carsten from Denmark, didn't arrive until really late last night. He got lucky that the rest of the crew was unable to launch on time. Mike was waiting up for him when he arrived at AMS in Talkeetna last night to check his gear and get all of the rental items that he needed for the trip. We were at it first thing this morning with Carsten, getting everything finalized for an early morning plane flight into the glacier. Now they will spend the rest of the day and into the evening going through several classes in and around basecamp before the single carry to 7.8K. So, even though they flew out a day later they still have not lost any time. They will most likely leave base camp real early tomorrow morning right on schedule.

that's all folks.



John Koenig said...

Paul & Tom:

Glad to hear you made it to base camp on schedule. The CE Program team is watching and with you in spirit! Kick butt tomorrow on your way to 7.8K!

Cecilie said...

- Cathrine Lagerberg/"West Butress Group"-

I am so glad to hear that you`re doing fine! I am however so sorry that I didn`t make it to the phone when you called earlier today!
Very proud of u! Good luck to the TOP!! Girlpower rules hi hi:-)

Hug from your sister

bill callahan said...

Paul and Team, (Janes & Falley),

God's speed on your venture. Good weather and good health. We will be following you.

Bill & Sue