Saturday, May 12, 2012

Several updates rolled into one post

Tom Torkelson and the DAV summit club are moving up to Camp 3 (11,200', 3400 meters) today.  During this last storm they got over a meter of fresh snow.  They are only 2-3 miles away from their next camp.  They are going to have to break trail all the way there.  Tom and the crew will be psyched for the extra exercise after spending an extra day in the tents.

Joey Mcbrayer, Alex Stroud and the 5/11 Denali crew flew in today after a small short delay in town.  They were able to cover some classes in town so there was no wasted time. 

Spending an extra day here and there on the mountain due to inclement weather is no big deal.  There are lots of ways to make up extra time, plus AMS has several weather days and rest days built into the Denali itinerary.  They even got to go to a slide show that AMS hosted last night on the famous 1967 rescue on the North Face of the Grand Teton in Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming.

AMS Guides Todd Tumolo and Josh Hoeschen, who were in the Ruth Gorge on a personal climbing trip, saw AMS guide/instructor Matt Montavon, who is teaching the 6 day Mountaineering course. Todd and Josh said they were doing super well and were getting after it!  They too were having stormy weather, but were not letting that slow them down.  They are out of camp all day each and everyday traveling on the glacier, teaching and learning new skills from early in the morning until late at night.

Winslow Passey and the Advanced Mountaineering Course called in today from the upper Pika Glacier.  It was beautiful weather when they called in today.  They had an awesome day yesterday: In "full on conditions" the students, who are in charge for the most part at this point, decided they wanted to "go for it" and make the move up onto the Pika glacier.  They travelled in a few feet of fresh snow which makes the travelling much more strenuous AND in near zero visibility.  They rolled into camp at around 10:30 PM last night and didn't get to bed until about 2:30 in the morning after building camp, melting snow for drinking and cooking water and finally brewing up some hot drinks, eating and going to bed.  The glacier recived several feet of new snow.  One of the things high on their list of things to do now is to stomp out a runway for the plane to land on tomorrow when they are scheduled to get picked up, weather permitting.

The planes that drop off and pick up all of the climbers in the Alaska Range land on the snowy glaciers.  They all have skis with retractable wheels.  It helps the pilots to have the snow on the runway packed down a bit so it is easier to turn around and take off.

Brian Okonek photo of a smaller, older plane equipped with sno skis.

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