Sunday, May 16, 2010

A note from 14

I talked to one of the climbing rangers at 14 yesterday. He said that the weather had been quite poor lately. We often use the term "ping pong ball" or "stuck inside of a ping pong ball" to refer to being in a white out.
Mike Janes called in from 14K this afternoon. He said the weather was pretty nice there, but it was quite cold. The winds weren't too bad today like they have been in the 14K basin. Winds were pretty strong on the 16 ridge and nuking at high camp and higher. He thought that it would be a nice day to move from 11 to 14, so perhaps some of our other groups like Nate's, Todd's, Rodrigo's and/or Postle's might get around the corner and up to 14K.
Some of the moves and carries on the lower mountain can be done in marginal weather but getting to 14K, and even the carry to 13.5K requires better conditions. And the move to 17K demands almost perfect weather, especially early in the season when the temps are frigid already, never mind adding the wind chill factor into the equation.

Mike was hoping to be able to move up to high camp within the next day or two and get poised for the next good summit window. It usually takes between 7 and 9 hours to get to high camp (17,200') from 14K camp. The move from 14 to 17 is broken up into two sections: 14 to 16.2 (top of the fixed lines) and the 16 ridge into camp. 16.2 is where the team will pick up their cache. The first part of the move they have lighter packs (not light, but lighter) the the second part, the more technical, they have the heaviest packs. Denali is one of the few mountains where there are NO options for hiring porters. Every one who climbs Denali MUST be able to carry all of his or her own weight.

That's all for now.


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