Friday, May 31, 2013

D'Alessio 5/20 at the Summit!

Guide Nick D'Alessio just called in from the summit!  The group is enjoying the moment!
The team is healthy, strong and all smiles today.

Each expedition member sends a message to their families:  "Thanks for all of your love and support we have received from you!" 

The weather has been great and the team has made great time.  We are proud of this group for their hard work and dedication.

Climbers on Summit Ridge

Coady 5/17 Foraker

We are all really happy about "Team Coady's" successful summit.  We received some awesome photos from TAT pilot Tyler.   These are of the team descending.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

D'Alessio's 5/20 at High Camp on Denali

AMS guides Alex Stroud and Nick D'Alessio just phoned in from the 17, 200 foot camp on Denali. They are enjoying dinner with the balmy temperature of 15F! That is quite warm for that elevation. Tomorrow they will make a summit attempt, weather permitting.
Panorama photo of high camp.

High camp taken from an airplane.

Foraker Summitted by AMS Team

Mission Impossible: Completed

We are really EXCITED to announce that Melis Coady's and Josh Hoeschen's team just summitted Mount Foraker.

Craig is quoted as saying, "I don't know where else to go...the altimeter says 17,400 feet"
(This was Craig's third attempt on Foraker.) The summit attempt took them about 11 hours.
The weather today is clear and calm.

Well done Nick, Mike Dan and Craig. They are now descending to their high camp for a well deserved rest.

AMS Team Denali Updates Today

AMS Guide Mark Postle with the May 27 Team phoned in from 11,000' today.  They moved into the 11,000' camp today from the camp at 7,800'.  He reported warm temperature on the Mountain.  The team did very well on the move and everyone is doing great. 

AMS Guide Nate Opp's May 25th Team is carrying to the Windy Corner area and are doing well.

AMS Guide Todd Tumolo's May 24th custom Taiwanese Team is also carrying to Windy Corner today.

Everyone AMS is doing well on Denali!

AMS Team Foraker going for it today.

AMS Guide Melis Coady checked in today.

It is a beautiful day again today, and they are making a bid for the summit today.  They are in for a lot of hard work today and they have the weather to take their time!

The view from the top of Mt. Foraker at 17,400' is a rare and fabulous view.  They are having a great day and everyone is excited to be making their way upwards. 

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Daily Update

AMS Guide Nick D'Alessio  with the 5/20 Denali WB checked in today.   The weather on the Mountain is great and the team is doing well.  They carried to 16K today,  and now they are back in camp at 14,200. They will take a rest day tomorrow, and weather permitting will move to the high camp 17,200' camp on Friday.

AMS Guide Melis Coady, leading our Foraker 5/17 expedition also called in.  Her team is happy and enjoying the climb and this great weather.  The horizontal ridge to the base of the Sultana is a climbing feat it itself with several interesting terrain challenges and this team is making the most of it.  The team is planning to moving to their high camp today and have hopes of making the summit in the next few days.

AMS team approaching Mt. Crosson

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Denali Update

Guides Todd Tumolo, Dusty Eroh and Team Taiwan checked in from the 11,000 foot camp. They say the weather is great. Tomorrow they will do a back carry to 9,600 feet.

Todd said that Nate Opp's 5/25 team is also at 11,000 camp.

Meanwhile, just a little lower on the mountain, AMS guide Mark Postle's 5/27 team is already at the base of ski hill at the 7,900 foot camp. They flew in yesterday evening, set up camp, caught a little sleep and probably set off down glacier sometime in the wee hours this morning. Now that the weather has warmed up people will travel during the night as the conditions on the glacier are better. Keep in mind we have about 21 hours of daylight now. The temperature at 7,200 foot base camp is 35 degrees F today!

Kahiltna base camp is at 7,200 feet but you descend about 500 feet to the main Kahiltna then ascend to your first camp; 7,900 foot camp. The distance is only five miles but it is done in a single carry. Meaning you carry everything with you in one go; pulling a sled and wearing a backpack. After this camp teams will do 'carries' of their gear. They will carry some of the gear to a higher elevation then descend to the lower camp to sleep. The following day they take the rest of the gear up and make camp at a higher elevation. This also allows climbers to acclimate to the elevation.

Here are some prior year photos from 7,000 to 11,000 feet.
Building camp at 11K

What the teams have to look forward to...11K camp is below. This is called Motorcycle Hill.

Teams resting along the main route near 7900 feet

Teams ascending to the 11K camp.

Snow walls around tents at the 11K camp.

Monday, May 27, 2013

5/20 D'Alessio Checks In

AMS Guide, Nick D'Alessio's 5/20 West Buttress Expedition checked in from 14,000 foot camp. All are happy and it is another beautiful day. They are doing a back carry today. This means that are going back down to the 13,500 foot cache (which they put in from the 11,000 foot camp a few days ago) and pick that up. It doesn't take long to get that done and then they take the afternoon off. Tomorrow will be a rest day.

Looking up at the summit, Nick says it looks windy. You can follow the weather ops from the National Park Rangers here:

Here's an example of camp set up..this is the kitchen/cook tent complete with a table.

Here's a bird's eye view of 14K camp with many tents.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Nate Opp Checks In

AMS Guide Nate Opp with the May 25 team checked in.  The team is moving well, today they moved to 7,800' camp and will carry higher on the mountain tomorrow.  He reported that the traveling conditions on the glacier "are as good as it gets".

Everyone on the team is doing well.

AMS Foraker Update

AMS Guide Melis Coady just called in. 

They have carried across the ridge and plan to move to the base of the Sultana Ridge tomorrow.  Weather permitting they will have a shot at the summit day on the 28th or 29th.

They are doing very well and are super excited about the excellent weather. 

Go Team Go!

Holmgren Expedtion Update

AMS Guide Larry Holmgren called in from 14,200' at 4:00 pm AST.  The team had a good descent from high camp and are planning to be back to basecamp and Talkeetna tomorrow.

We look forward to seeing this awesome team back in the land of green.

Amazing Photos from Torkelson's 5/8 Expedition

In addition to being an excellent guide, Tom is also a fantastic photographer. Below are photos from his expedition.
Guide Beth (2nd from left) along with the Nowegian climbers and one Icelandic climber jumping for joy at the 11,000 foot camp.
Ascending 16K ridge below Washburn's Thumb.

Descending around Windy Corner

Descending Squirrel Hill

On the summit: Knut, Sverre, Monika

Descending summit ridge.

Falley's 5/5 Expedition Returns

Guides Leighan Falley, Wes Bunch and Robert Wing with climber Premlata returned all smiles to Talkeetna this morning.

They had a great time and are sure happy to be back in town where the temperatures are 63F and sunny!

We have a Denali Skills Workshop happening with all six members of the May 27 Expedition participating. Josh Murphey and Jeremiah Phelps are teaching this one-day workshop. They are getting a little practice on the crevasse ridden streets of Talkeetna.

Leihan, Wes, Robert and Premlata

Josh leads a rope team for the Denali Skills Workshop

Premlata unpacks while workshop participants gear up.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Holmgren calls from the Top

AMS guide Larry Holmgren just called in from the top of North America at 20,320'!!!!

All are well and they had an excellent ascent.  They are taking photos and enjoying the summit at the moment and will take it slow and steady on their way down to camp tonight.

They plan to give us a call tomorrow before heading further down the mountain tomorrow.

Congratulations May 10 Expedition, you earned it.

Here are some of the views they had today:  (photos are from past AMS expeditions)

AMS Team ascending towards Denali Pass; high camp and tracks are visible in the mid ground, Mt. Foraker in the background.
AMS Team on Denali's summit ridge
AMS team reaching Denali's summit (Rob Gowler photo taken from a summit overflight)

Opp 5/25 Denali West Buttress Begins

AMS Guides Nate Opp, Adam Fabrikant and team left the beautiful sunny skies of Talkeetna behind and flew to base camp moments ago.   Today, they enjoyed sunny skies as they made their final preparation to begin their climb.  This is a fun loving international team with climbers from Spain, Norway, Turkey and the US.  This teams seems like it will have an excellent time; they are off to a great start, the weather is great on the mountain as well.

Guide Nate Opp, Guide Adam Fabrikant, Inger, Oyvind, Muz, Gayland and Francisco

Foraker Team Update

AMS guide Melis Coady called in yesterday from Mt. Crosson.  They are doing very well.

She too reports good weather, and that all is great with their team.  The camps they are building are awesome and the team is working very well together.  Yesterday they carried gear, food, and fuel up and over the top of Mt. Crosson in excellent time.

Today they are moving their camp up and over Mt. Crosson to the Ridge Camp between it and the base of the Sultana Ridge. 

The weather forecast is looking great for this team!

AMS Denali Teams Update!

It is a glorious day on the mountain today.

AMS Guide Leighan Falley's Team called in from 14,200' camp.  They did reach the top of North America and are making their way down at an enjoyable, easy pace.  All is well with them and we look forward to seeing them tomorrow.

AMS Guide Larry Holmgren  Team  called in from Denali Pass an hour ago.  They are trying for the summit today.  They made it up the Pass in very good time and are enjoying great mild temperatures today.  Everything is going great for them.

AMS Guide Nick D'Alessio's Team is making a carry of food, equipment and fuel to the Windy Corner area today. They are doing well!

AMS guide update

Todd, Dusty, and Josh H. snuck away from work and quietly put up some impressive routes in the Ruth Gorge. Check it out on Alpinist.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Another Expedition Heads into the Range

Guides Todd Tumolo, Dusty Eroh and team flew into the Kahiltna Base camp this afternoon. The weather could not be better and we are finally starting to see some leaves on the trees.
A custom expedition from Tawain is geared up for their West Buttress climb.

We have eight teams in the field; some in the Alaska Range and others elsewhere in Alaska in support of films for National Geographic and the BBC.

AMS Denali West Buttress Teams Updates

AMS Guide Nick D'Alessio May 10th Expedition called in from 11,200' today. Today they are picked up some of their cached items so everything is with them at camp now.  Tomorrow they will carry cache up to Windy Corner.  They are planning to move to 14,200' the day after tomorrow, depending on the weather.  The team is doing very well.

View from Windy Corner

Larry Holmgren 5/20, and team are secured in their 17,200' High Camp.  They are taking a well earned rest day today. The weather is great.  Weather permitting, they will try for the summit tomorrow.

High Camp picture by Tom Falley
We hear through the mountain grapevine that, AMS Guide Leighan Falley's  May 5 Team went for the summit yesterday and made it back to camp safely last night.  We have yet to hear from them directly, so we don't want to make any assumptions on actually making the summit.  However, we do know they are doing well and will be making their way down the mountain over the next few days.

AMS Guide Tom Torkelson May 8 team returned today to the 70 degree weather of Talkeetna.  They had a great climb and reached the summit 2 days ago.  They are all smiles.  Some of the group is currently outside sorting gear and helping AMS guide Beth Cleary clean up their tents.  This was such a great team and we loved having the pleasure of working with them again this year: Three cheers for Norwegians on Denali!

Cleaning tents

Nice and warm around HQ today.

All smiles!

sorting gears

Thursday, May 23, 2013


All of the AMS teams are busy moving and climbing today, so we have not heard from them directly. However, we have insider information.

The weather is good on the mountain, so there is lots of movement. 

Tom Torkelson's May 8 Team is moving down today. I would guess we will see them in Talkeetna as soon as tomorrow.

Leigan Falley's May 7 Team: We beleive they are making a summit attempt today, we do not expect to hear from them until this evening at the earliest.  All reports point toward they are doing well!

Larry Holmgren's May 10 Team: Moving to high camp today from 14,200'

Nick D'Allessio's  May 20 Team: is moving to 11,200' camp today from 7,800'

We will keep you posted as we get updates.

Kremer to Mt Huntington

AMS Guides Kristen Kremer, Lisa Van Sciver and climber Adina flew to Mt Huntington.  This team has climbed together in the past and always have a great time.  They were excited to be going to out to such a great place to climb and with such good weather.  Mt Huntington is nearly a perfect pryamid of rock and ice, located about 8 miles southeast of Denali.  It stands 12,240' and will provide a fun and challenging climb for this team.  They are sure to have a lot of fun.

Guide Kristen Kremer, Adina, Guide Lisa Van Sciver

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Torkelson's Team reaches the Top

AMS guide, Tom Torkelson leading our Norwegian Team just called in from the summit. 

The team has worked hard today and is having a nice time on the top this evening.

They will take it slow and steady on the way down to high camp tonight and will have hot drinks and soup when they get back to camp.

We will expect to hear from them tomorrow, after a well earned and good nights rest. 

Top of North America, Denali summit 20,230' photo: Brian Okonek

AMS Team Torekelson going for it.

The AMS May 8 Denali Team led by Tom Torkelson are going for a summit attempt today!

We are expecting a call from them soon.

Falley and Torkelson at High Camp

Two AMS Denali Expeditions lead by Guides Leighan Falley and Tom Torkelson are settled in at high camp.

Both teams climbed to high camp yesterday and they both did very well on the move.  It was a nice weather day with plenty of sun and no wind and they were moving well.  They even had the chance to take off their gloves! A rare thing for this time of year.

*** Leigan Falley's team is taking a rest day today. All is well.***

We will keep you posted!

The West Buttress Route, they have traveled far!

The ridge from 16,300'-17,200' they traveled on yesterday, some say it is the most scenic part of the route.

A panorama of their view from high camp; wonderful view of the Southwestern Alaska Range, Kahiltna Glacier and Mt. Foraker.  What a reward.

Holmgren 5/10 Denali West Buttress

AMS Guide Larry Holmgren checked in today from 14K on Denali's West Buttress route.  His team carried lunch food and extra gear higher on the mountain yesterday and are taking a well deserved rest day today.  Weather permitting, tomorrow they plan to move to 17K.  The team is healthy and happy and enjoying themselves.

Back Carry from 14K to 17K

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Coady Foraker Update

Coady's team in on southeast ridge of Mount Crosson which is the approach to the Sultana route. They have done a carry of their gear to a point higher on the mountain and are back in camp. They will cross over the 12,800 foot summit and then descend to a col. In all, they will only lose 3,670 feet of elevation from the top of Mount Crosson to get to the base of Mount Foraker's summit ridge.

The weather is awesome. It is 30 degrees and sunny at Kahiltna base camp. There is no wind.

Here's a couple of pictures from past years.

Mount Foraker

Base camp on Mount Crosson...looking south down the Kahiltna Glacier

D'Alessio's 5/20 Expedition On Their Way

Nick D'Alessio's team flew into base camp last night around 5:00 PM. Weather is awesome today!
Below is a picture I took this yesterday morning from the end of Main Street.

Guide Nick, James, Jorge, Ingrid, Omar, Guide Alex and Dale ready to fly!

Taken at 7:15 AM 5/21. I was skiing on the crust. :)

Monday, May 20, 2013

Upper Mountain Denali Team Update

AMS guide Tom Torkelson called in from 14K.  He said that his team and AMS guide Leighan Falley are planning on heading up to high camp tomorrow, weather depending.  Tom said that the weather was really starting to look good.

Tom also said the Larry Holmgren's team arrived into 14K camp last night.  Tom said that his team and Leighan's team had hot drinks waiting for them and pretty much had their entire camp built for them before they even had time to take off their crampons.  The move from 11K to 14K is a long and hard day, so to have other AMS teams waiting with snow saws and shovels to help build walls and flatten tent sites is a pretty awesome thing.

5/20 West Buttress Getting Ready

Guides Nick D'Alessio and Alex Stroud are leading the 5/20 expedition scheduled to fly at 5:00 PM today. It is another beautiful day but still a bit chilly here.
James is a highly organized lunch packer!

Dale and Nick discuss the fine points of crampons...

Here's a picture of Denali I took last night around 8:00 PM. Those are sandhill cranes in the foreground.
~Blogger Laura

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Mountain Update

Falley's 5/5 expedition just called in from 14K. They are still waiting for conditions to improve before moving to high camp. They are snug in their tents and pleasantly passing the time. Of course, they have company with Torkelson's 5/8 expedition also there. Torkelson's team hopes to do a carry to the 16K ridge when conditions permit.

A correction to yesterday's post regarding Holmgren's 5/10 Expedition. Today they did a carry up to Windy Corner (13,200) and then descended back to the 11K camp. This is common practice which allow the team to move some of their gear up and then sleep at a lower elevation. Weather and snow pack dependent, they will move camp up to 14K tomorrow.  

Here's some photos from last season (2012) of 14K camp...

The kitchen/cook tent is the social hub of every climb.

You always build snow walls around the tents to buffet from the storms.