Monday, May 25, 2009
Lots of updates and a couple shout outs from the field added tuesday.
This photo was taken from aboard a big green helicopter this morning. The winds were a bit squirly this morning as you can see from the picture. It may have gotten better as the day went on. If I hear news from Mark soon I'll let you know.
Picture of a group returning to 14 camp from just a few hundred feet above camp.
Leighan, Dusty, Steve and Gio got turned around while they were trying to move to 17K today. Like I have said before. The move from 14 to 17 is a hard one! One of the hardest days of the expedition. In some ways a summit attempt is like a carry in that you get to return to an already setup camp, hopefully with full pots of water waiting. That move day needs to be good. Because you have to have good enough weather and plenty of energy reserve to be able to build a camp from scratch. This is why guides like to have that extra little margin built into the day. If just barely getting to camp is all they have time, energy and weather for then they don't have any room for error... I just talked to Leighan a few minutes ago and she is going to hopefully make the move tomorrow. It looks like the weather might be good tomorrow.
Steve sends love to Eva. Helan, Welcome to AK and the Arctic circle.
Gio misses Wendy, Laura and Angela and is looking forward to seeing you soon.
Mike called a bit ago. His crew made it to 14 camp today. They are stoked!! When he called they were building camp and melting water. Last season I figured out how much water a Denali guide melts per expedition and posted it on the blog. I can't remember how much it is, but it's a lot.
Climbers heading up Squirrel Hill.
They got stuck behind another slower group today heading up Squirrel Hill, but were able to pass them somewhere in the Polo Field. *In some ways this blog is written like a story. I talk about certain sections of the route in detail from time to time so unfortunately if you want to find out more detail u might need to read back a ways.
Anyway, Mike said that his group is doing great! They have a good pace. He said they made it to their cache at 16.5K yesterday in 4 hours. That is great time.
He said he couldn't really tell how it was up high. They were getting orographic snow showers up there which doesn't mean anything as far as the weather goes. There is definitely a bit of a breeze I heard. We can often deal with a breeze, if that's all it is.
8:30 Mark Postle just called in while I was writing this entry. They made it to between the Japanese weather station and the football field. They encountered some wind up on the ridge above Denali Pass. They hunkered down for an hour to an hour and a half and then started up again. Today was one of those not ideal days to be pushing it on the upper mountain. We can push it a little bit on the lower mountain with regards to weather, but NOT on the upper mountain. It's better to turn around and come down safely than to take any unnecessary risks for the sake of the summit every time. NO mountain is worth dieing for or losing digits for.
Mark and the rest of his crew are heading down tomorrow. The earliest we would see them is Wednesday mid morning. They all did a great job up there. They have been up there for over 20 days and still have a long trip out. Every single person on this expedition has done amazingly well. The folks that came down from the mountain before the rest of their teammates also did a great job and had an incredible experience.
You must all keep in mind that if you stand on the summit, it is literally only for a few minutes. And you are on the mountain for a few weeks. You learn more in all the time it takes trying to get up to and down from any summit that you ever will on the top and the views and the tales are equally as good.