Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Operation Denali Update - The Headwall

Kirby called from the ridge around 16,200 feet with an Operation Denali report. He said everyone made it, all are doing well! "We have a little wind but it's clear & sunny. Will call back with more updates." They are scouting out that area for a potential camp at 16,200 feet and are caching supplies. With the wind that the other groups have been dealing with they are considering snow caves.

This means they have conquered the steepest part of the route! The Headwall can be intimidating for some people, but I know that the Operation Denali team has been doing lots of practice clipping into running protection and working on the other skills needed to negotiate the fixed lines there. The hard part is bending over to manage your carabiner at each anchor with a heavy pack on your back, while maintaining your hold on the hill with crampons and ice axe. These guys have amazed me with their ability to negotiate running pro!

They will go back down to 14-camp tonight and take a rest day there tomorrow. If the weather cooperates and if everyone is feeling good, they'll try to move to 16,200 on Friday. They will have that same climb to do again up the fixed lines. They can relax for now and do some eating, drinking & sunbathing!

Vince & Pat called in from 14-camp. They are doing well and plan to spend two days there acclimatizing before making their next move. They'll let us know what that move will be later.

All for now,
Julia

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