Monday, May 11, 2009

El Viento Blanco, The White Wind

Brian Okonek Photo of "el viento blanco". This photo depicts lenticular clouds over Mt. Foraker. When evert you see these pillowy looking clouds you know that there is high winds up high. This particular photo is alarming because of the # and intensity of lenticulars. Not a good time to be on Foraker. This photo was taken years ago. Not a current picture.
Second Photo: A rope team traveling in high winds. This doesn't look too bad since you can actually see the climbers behind. But as you can see, this person is having a hard time protecting his face. And as soon as you start trying to protect your face you you expose your hand more even if you are not taking your gloves off. This is the reason we are unable to travel in these conditions for the most part.
Updates from Team Melis: Melis called in from 14K with 60+ mph winds. She says, "hopefully the walls will hold". They will! We build burley walls at camps to protect from the winds. The winds could be raging up there, but with good walls and tents that are properly guyed down they are probably sitting inside the tents playing cards in their capalene. From the looks of it, they are not getting too much snow with the wind. When you also get the big snow loads along with the wind that is when you really have to work. Sometimes you have to get ouot of the tents every 30-60 minutes throughout the duration of the storm to dig just to keep the tents alive. I think they just have the wind. No problem!

Here's the love notes: (from a message left on the phone last night by melis, so forgive nme if I get some of it wrong)

"Happy birthday Mariche. I hope the party is big. I'll drink a hot chocolate for you. Don't worry, my face is still its original size."

Hello friends and family, I need you all to do more to speed up global warming, it's cold up here. We're hoping to be at high camp early next week. Love you all, I miss you, especially my beautiful wife. I know you're having fun, love you and can't wait to see you, happy mother's day.-Jesse Tanner

Happy birthday Mom- Christine

They all say happy mothers day and that despite the wind and cold, they are all staying warm up there.

Greg Collins, from 10,600' on the West Ridge of Hunter, says:
"Hunkering down, strong winds with severe gusts." "It'll knock you down if you let it." Greg has been in touch with all the AMS'ers in the area via FRS radios. All AMS groups tune in to a certain channel at 8:30 PM every evening to touch base. He said everyone is doing well.

These tents we use up there are very capable of withstanding these types of wind. Walls or no walls. All of these guides have spent lots and lots of time in storms and weather much more "real" than this. Everyone is always psyched, after the fact, that they got to experience the gnar up there. It's always way more cool, when you look back at it from the comfort of your local neighbor hood bar or restaurant.

That's all for now.

All of these shots below are taken on or while approaching the West Ridge.



treo600user said...

If you talk to Melis, tell her that her sister Marge wishes her a HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Thinking of her!

Lily Darney said...

Please can somebody tell my husband David from the west ridge(greg an Larry) ME AND LuLu miss him immensely ! we would like to hear from him. The girls are counting the days as well.
good wishes for good clime.

Alaska Mountaineering School said...

David is up there with Postle and larry. And Post hole is stuck at 11K with no cell reception. But i will try to convey the message. looking at the isobar pressure map makes me think that the winds will start to subside late tonight.


Lily Darney said...

Thank you AMS for your reply.
All is well at home. We just miss our David.
The 7 Darney Princesses :)