Saturday, June 2, 2012

A handfull of updates

AMS Guide Forest Wagner just called in from 14K.  His team is taking rest day today.  14K is a really good place to acclimatize.  The more days they get to stay at this camp the stronger and faster they will be up high on the mountain. In order to make the move to high camp the teams need to have a pretty decent weather day.  This move day is a hard day!  When the team gets into camp, not only do they have to set up tents, cook food etc, they also have to build "bomber" snow walls around all of the tents before they are able to bed down for the night.  Sometimes groups are able to "move in" to a recently vacated campsite.  This makes the move day much easier, but if they don't get to move in they must get to work building camp.  This is another reason that the teams need good weather for this day (if at all possible they want to be doing this camp building in good "warm" conditions. 

The current weather report from the range (as seen from 14K this morning) is:  windy up high (on and near the summit at least, I'm not sure how windy it is at high camp in the West Buttress), but perfect conditions everywhere else.  Windy corner looked calm, which is awesome, since Nate Opp and the Skerritt crew are moving up to 14 camp today.  They over 2 feet of snow the day before, which would normally make the move day more difficult, but there has already been several parties head down the mountain thus putting in the boot pack/trail, so Nate and his crew don't have to trudge through all that new snow. 

Josh Hoeschen and his team are also heading up around Windy Corner today.  Josh's team is carrying to 13.5K today, they will be returning to 11K tonight and hoping to move to 14K tomorrow, if the weather stays good.

Greg Collins and his team are moving up to their high camp on the Upper West Rib today.  They have already established nice tent platforms and bullet proof snow block walls around the tent platforms (to further protect the tents in case of wind).  The tents that we use on Denali (Mountain Hardwear Trango 3.1's and Trango 4's) do really well in the wind, but when you have walls around the tents they do even better!  It's like driving a car with lap belts... that is a pretty good safety net, but driving a car with real seat belts AND airbags does WAY better.   Greg and his team will start looking for summitting opportunities as soon as tomorrow!  He and his team are STRONG!

Russell, Dusty and Paul are resting today at 14K and will be preparing for a front carry to the 16,000 foot ridge tomorrow.  Paul has been on Denali before (2010), so he is probably pretty dialed in on the tricks and techniques necessary to ascend the fixed lines and clip through the running protection on the 16 ridge, but they will be practicing these skills today in camp just to make sure.

AMS Guide Mike Soucy with Heather Coombs' team is doing well.  They are doing a back carry today.  They will also be doing  "skills classes" in camp to get ready for their day heading up to the 16K ridge.



Here, an AMS team learns the ropes in camp in preparation for their first trip up the fixed lines.
Heere, a team is coming back down the fixed lines after a carry to the 16 ridge.  The near empty packs give it away that this photo is from a carry day.

1 comment:

Jordan Phelps said...

Thank you AMS for the frequent updates! I love hearing even the smallest details about climbers' experiences on the mtn. Your efforts to keep curious and concerned family informed are greatly appreciated. Again, THANK YOU:)