Monday, April 30, 2012

Rutger, Dan, Joey: Returned!

The team returned to Talketna!  After patiently route finding for the best conditions to climb Mt. Hunter via the NW Basin and then to the Ramen Coulior they climbed and skied several other peaks in the area, including Mt. Francis.  They got a true Alaska Range mountaineering expereince, they stuck their nose in it, assesed the conditions, stayed flexible with their goals and got some great climbing in. We are super happy for them because they did it right.

The weather was great and alas, it was time to come back to the land of fresh fruits and veggies.  They returned slightly sunburned and happy.

Rutger has become a warmly welcomed friend after several years with AMS and had this to say about his experience:

"AMS is a world class team.  Not only do you learn how to climb in an awe inspiring environment, but you have a great time doing it!"

Thanks Rutger, and we look forward to seeing you next year in AK, or perhaps sooner in your neck of the woods!

Dan, Joey and Rutger

Denali Exhibit, Anchorage Museum of Art

Next year is the anniversary of the first ascent of Denali which is big news around here. The Anchorage Museum of Art has taken this on and is showing a large exhibit on Denali and invited some speakers. Brian Okonek, the most respected guide on the mountain, was singled out to give the presentation on the first 30 years of climbing the original Muldrow route. On May 4th, I will be showing how the most popular West Buttress route is climbed. You can read about the show in today's Anchorage Daily News.
Colby Coombs

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Happy Birthday Rob Gowler

It's our Operations Manager, Rob's Birthday today and we are not going to let him forget it!
When he's not on the phone he's guiding a Denali Expedition.
It's a quiet day at AMS with students on a 12-Day Mountaineering Course in the field~they went to the Ruth Gorge area. We have guides packing for a custom mountaineering course. Our intern Josh is working on yard that we have a yard back. The snow is almost all gone.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Rutger, Mount Francis

Traversing along the East Ridge of Mount Francis with summit in the background.

Hi there.  I just talked to Dan Corn, one of the guides out climbing with Rutger.  He was calling from the summit of Mount Francis.  Francis is directly North of Mount Hunter.  It is a super cool climb and you get sweet views from up there.  Joey and Dan did not like the looks of any of their options of getting onto the West Ridge of Mount Hunter.  

They are busy climbing other objectives in the area and are having a blast.

That's all for now.

Denali West Buttress Availibility

The 2012 climbing season has arrived and we are excited to see AMS climbers and guides arriving!

Denali, West Buttress Expeditions
May 11 - May 31 (FULL)
May 13 - June 2   (FULL)
May 21 - June 10 (FULL)
May 26 - June 15 1 spot available
May 28 - June 17 (FULL)
June 4 - June 24 1 spots available
June 5 - June 25 2 spots available
June 11 - July 1 (FULL)
June 18 - July 8 (FULL)
June 25 - July 15 (FULL)
June 27 - July 17 2 spots available

21 days, $6400, 6 climbers: 2-3 guides
Waiting List:
If an expedition date you're interested in is currently full, please contact us to complete expedition paperwork to join the climb's waiting list. In the event of a cancellation, qualified applicants will have the opportunity to register.

AMS climber on the summit of Denali, 20,320'

Hoeschen 12 Day Mountaineering Course

Instructors Josh Hoeschen, and Matt Montavon with students Bill, Ed, Collin, Shaina, Ianne and Mike
The 12 Day Mountaineering Course spent a busy morning at AMS yesterday.  They worked efficiently with Josh and Matt to complete the food packing and gear checks so they could be on their way to the Ruth Glacier.  They were all happy and anxious to get started on their course and see more ice and snow!  Talkeetna will be full of the spring green leaves when they return in 12 days.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Josh Hoeschen Honored

On April 20, Alaska Pacific University recognized AMS guide and Instructor Josh Hoeschen for his commitment to excellence in teaching. APU says of Josh, "Josh is a long standing adjunct instructor at APU who is respected and admired by students and faculty alike. The award comes with a certificate and a check—safely sealed in an envelope—so we don’t know what kind of celebration Josh can afford, but we confident  there will be one."

We have known for some time what a great instructor Josh is!  Josh began with AMS in 2006 and we are proud to have him working with AMS as one of our instructors and guides.

Josh and fellow AMS instructor, Matt Montavon are getting lesson plans, gear and food pack up and ready to begin a 12 day Mountaineering Course in the Alaska Range tomorrow.  We know the students will have a great experience and learn a lot during their course!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Rutger, Dan and Joey Checking In.

Guide Joey McBrayer called in to say that all is well. They are at base camp on the Kahiltna Glacier, waiting out some weather and doing a little snowed one foot last night. They may ski down glacier and do some climbing in the Pika Glacier area.
Mount Hunter as seen from Kahiltna Base Camp.

Dan Corn Receives Citizen's Award for Bravery

AMS Guide Dan Corn, currently guiding on Mt. Hunter, received the prestigious Department of the Interior Citizen’s Award for Bravery.

The award was presented by Department of the Interior Secretary, Ken Salazar in Washington DC last month.

Dan was part of a major rescue on July 21, 2010, when a fast- moving lightning storm caught 17 climbers near the summit of the 13,770-foot Grand Teton in Grand Teton National Park. Sixteen of the climbers were rescued; one died from injuries in a fall during the brunt of the storm.

Dan's skills in the wilderness are exemplary and we are very proud of him.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Happy Climbers Back From the Range

Mark and Guide Joel flew in after a successful climb on Peak 11,300. Ohrun and Kejal with Guide Pat came back from Ham 'n Eggs. All had a good time and it is a beautiful sunny day here in town--50 degrees!

Pat with Kejal and Ohrun

Mark and Joel

Gear sorting...
Guide Mat Montavon showed up today to start packing for our 12-Day Mountaineering Course

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Updates from the Range

Guide Pat Ormond called in from back in camp reporting that they had all climbed Ham and Eggs on the Moose's Tooth.  They were all super psyched and were looking forward to hanging out around camp the next day (today) and relax.  They were planning on doing some runway stomping and maybe some exploring around the area.  Brian Okonek photo of The Moose's Tooth, Ham and eggs climbs the obvious couloir to the notch.

Guide Joel Kauffman just called in as well.  He and Mark are also back in camp.  The too are psyched as they just climbed Peak 11,300.  Job well done fellas!  Joel was just about to have his first cup of coffee in 4 days.  I couldn't tell whether he was more excited about having just climbed 11300 or having a cup of coffee.

This photo of 11,300 was taken by Brian McCullough from the French Ridge on Mount Huntington.  Joel and Mark climbed the SW Ridge, which is the striking center ridge.  Their descent was the right hand skyline.

Both of these crews are planning on flying out of the Range tomorrow sometime, weather depending.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012


Guide, Joel Kauffman called in last night as they were melting snow for drinking water and dinner.  He and Mark were having a fun time climbing.  Joel said the snow conditions were good and the weather was equally as good. 

From Talkeetna this morning I can see all of the mountains as clear as day.  All of our crews (Pat and the Kantarci's, Joey Dan and Rutger, and Joel and Mark) are all enjoying clear skies today and hopefully more to come for the next several days.

For those of you who don't know what or where Peak 11,300 is...  It is a stunning Mountain in the West Fork of the Ruth Glacier.  Joel and Mark are climbing the SW ridge.  The South West Ridge has all sorts of cool climbing on it.  Steep snow climbing, rock climbing, ice climbing.

This is the S Couloir on 11,300.  Joel and MArk climbed through this yesterday and are camped at the "grey rocks".

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Northern Lights from the Mountain House

Matt Brown, a former AMS mountaineering course student, took these photos last week while staying at the Don Sheldon Mountain House. They had a variety of weather during there stay there from beautiful clear nights to packing three feet of snow down for the runway so they could fly out.

The Mountain House is very popular and books one year in advance. It is inside Denali National Park but the hut and rocky outcrop, totaling five acres is owned by Roberta Sheldon. AMS handles the bookings.

We are losing our dark nights rapidly but the northern lights continue to be visible.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Spring Skiing Remains Amazing

It is hard to stay inside with this beautiful weather. AMS guide Melis and admin worker, Laura, joined a couple of friends for a ski/bike down the Chulitna River this week. The conditions are spectacular. We skied about 20 miles on the frozen river from north of Talkeetna right back to Main Street.

Laura was skate skiing and Melis was on a fat tired bike. Her daughter also tagged along in a ski baby buggy being pulled by a friend. We had a little dog power too!

Melis (in red) and Laura (in pink) with one baby, two friends and four dogs.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Around HQ

AMS Owner, Caitlin Palmer helps unload the first Costco order of the season.
Meanwhile....Colby is not going to wait for Mother Nature!
Rutger (on left) with guides Dan and Joey standing on 2-feet of crust snow before heading to the airport.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Custom Climb on Mount Hunter

Our first custom climbing party of the season is in the AMS bay getting ready. Rutger with guides, Dan Corn and Joey McBrayer, will fly in at 2:00 PM for an attempt on 14, 570-foot Mount Hunter. It is a fantastic day and the flight in should be beautiful. This will be the first ascent of Hunter this season.

Rutger and Guide Dan Corn (showing off this year's red AMS jacket) checking the gear.
West Ridge of Hunter, photo by Brian Okonek

Friday, April 6, 2012

Meet Our New Intern Josh

Josh Murphey will be interning with us this summer. He took our Advanced Mountaineering Course with us last season and we are psyched to have him back in this new capacity. Here he is getting the gear ready for our Glacier Travel/Crevasse Rescue workshop this weekend on the Matanuska Glacier. He'll be assisting Melis Coady on the course.

Josh Murphey on the job!

Melis gets ready to guide the GT/CR class this weekend.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Busy, Busy, Busy at AMS HQ


Oh, Spring time in Alaska is a wonderful thing. Guides are returning along with the trumpeter swans and snow buntings.  Next week we've got lots of climbing going on all over the Alaska Range.

And this weekend is our first Glacier Travel and Crevasse Rescue workshop held on the Matanuska Glacier. There is still time to join this fun and informative course. We also have workshops scheduled for July 21-22 and August 18-19

Here is the most current availability of positions on AMS' 2012 Denali West Buttress Expeditions:

Denali West Buttress Expedition, 21 days, $6400
May 11 - 31:  FULL
May 13 - June 2:  FULL
May 21 - June 10:  FULL
May 26 - June 15: 1 space available
May 28 - June 17:  FULL
June 4 - June 24: 1 space available
June 5 - June 25:  2 spaces available 
June 11 - July 1:  FULL 
June 18 - July 8:   FULL 
June 25 - July 15:  1 space available
June 27 - July 17:  3 spaces available

To be considered for an AMS climb and one of these positions, you must complete and submit an AMS application and Expedition Questionnaire, along with deposit information to AMS.  We then review your application and contact you with any questions - if all looks good, we process your deposit and the space is yours.

Denali and the Big Su River taken May 25, 2008