Thursday, June 4, 2009
Nate Opp AKA "Special Opp" called in from 10,000 feet today. His group, the upper ribbers, are doing well. They were doing a back carry from 11K. That means that they rolled in to 11 yesterday. George says hi top Karen, Ben says hi to Nicky and Nate says hi to Purcy. He did say that is was quite windy.
Kirby and Operation Denali are also moving to 11 today. I just heard that from Nate. It's flyable today in and out of the range, it is travelable on lower parts of the mountain, but not on the upper mountain. Here's a picture looking down fron 11K toward the 10,000 foot basin where Nate called from and where Kirby and his boys and Girl are. I just got a SPOT message from them saying that all is well and they are in c amp at 11.
Check out the real pillowy looking cloud sweeping up and over something down below. That something down below is Mount Capps, it's at the far end of the North Ridge of the Kahiltna Dome. It sounds like most of the mountain is windy again today. Groups lower on the mountain are able to move in these conditions mainly because it is warmer. It is a little too easy to get frostbite if you move in cold windy conditions up high.
While all of the climbers up on Denali have been training for months, or years, have done training climbs and mountaineering courses and etc., they are still in training. Every thing they do and learn on their way up the mountain is all for getting ready to go to the upper mountain. Many groups do not even get to the upper mountain. Even lower elevations on on Denali can dish out some of the worst weather most anyone will ever encounter in their lives. Some storms at 11K have been known to destroy 70% of the tents in camp.
Brian Okonek photo of a moderately windy day of the upper slopes of Denali. Taken from 17K. You can see the very beginning of the "Audubon" (the "trail" up to Denali Pass)Brian McCullough called in from High camp a bit ago. He said it was super windy. He also said that it wasn't that bad. Not too much phases Brian though. Definitely not a travel up to high camp day or a summit day. He was camped next to Lhawang and the rest of the AMS Mountain Link group. Brian said they had a good move day yesterday and that they have all of their supplies with them in camp. They're hunkered down waiting for good summit weather now.