Thursday, July 25, 2013

6 Day Mountaineering Course Checks-In

AMS instructor, Todd Tumolo just called in from the Coffee Glacier. They have been having fun and did a peak ascent this morning. They will be flying back tomorrow around noon, weather dependent.

Here's are some quotes from the students about their instructors, Melis Coady and Jacob Kayes, on the recent 12-Day Mountaineering Course.

Melis was a complete bad ass, Jake is a budding jedi warrior! ~ Will B.

Both Jake and Melis were incredible. They made the trip from Australia worthwhile. They were very skilled and I have come away from this course much more skilled than before.  ~ Dan K.

We have more mountaineering courses this season and room for people on all of them. Check out our website to learn me.

Students on a 12 Day course on the Pika Glacier

Monday, July 22, 2013

Another Course Departs and One Inbound

AMS Guide, Todd Tumolo and Becky King flew on to the Coffee Glacier for a 6- Day Mountaineering Course. Wow! What weather they are having!

Meanwhile; AMS Guide Melis Coady is hiking out of the Pika Glacier with two students on the 15 Day Mountaineering Course. They will be back tomorrow.

We are told that there are northern lights at night and beautiful alpine glow on the mountains in the morning.

Here at AMS we had a influx of guides finishing a round of film crew work for National Geographic.
We took a group photo of all that were on hand.

6 Day Students with Todd and Becky.

The kitchen was a popular place to hang today!

All hands on deck; front row: Rob, Betsy, Tim, Bill, Kirsten, Beth, Laura Larry, Travis
back row: Jeremiah, Tim, Caitlin, Megan, Mike, Josh

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Hot, Sunny and Busy at AMS HQ

Our 12-Day Mountaineering Course students returned yesterday with AMS guide, Jake Kayes and today our 6-Day Mountaineering Course students are getting geared up and flying at 5:00 PM.

Film Support logistics is happening as well with both our National Geographic Ultimate Survivor Alaska and BBC Life Below Zero shows.

Pictures tell the story better...
Colby and mountaineering course student Nisa on dish duty.

Gear sorting after the 12 Day MTC: Philippe and Will.

What to do with all of this stuff? Dan asks.

AMS guide, Todd Tumolo, goes over knots with the 6-Day MTC students: Adam , Dave and Chuck.

Philippe tries his skills in our climbing gym.

Mike Welch and Rob Gowler study maps and logistics for the Nat Geo film project.

AMS guide, David Gottlieb and Colby debrief from the Eagle leg of the Life Below Zero.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

2013 Denali Season Ends

The final statistics of the 2013 Climbing season. AMS contributed to the high summit success rate on both peaks!

Of the 12 registered on Foraker only 6 made the top led by AMS guides Melis Coady and Josh Hoeschen.

Below are the final 2013 registration statistics and reported summit rates for all climbers from the National Park Service:

Climbing Statistics for the 2013 Season
Mt. McKinley
Mt. Foraker
Number of Registered Climbers
Climbers Currently On Mountain
Completed Climbs
Number of Summits
Summit Percentage

Despite our big expeditions being over we still have courses and workshops through September. Oddly enough the guides that are around all have the day off. They are sorting through their gear, surfing the net and eating a lot of food.

AMS guide Kevin Smith just rolled in from Kavik, Alaska where he was a safety/logistics person on a film shoot with National Geographic, Life Below Zero.

Todd's packraft; off to raft Willow Creek

Dusty catching up on emails

Dustin and friend helping sort out gear.

Kevin just in from Kavik

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Quote of the Week

"I left my Six Day Course at AMS with memories and mountaineering skills that will last forever.  Our guide was excellent!  Their customer service was outstanding, and the program they put together for us was equally entertaining and informative for both me as a novice, and my friend a former instructor.  I would highly recommend to any of my friends looking for an adventure and to learn." Dan 2013 Custom Mountaineering Student.

Gowler 6/27 Team Returns!

Guides Rob Gowler, Dusty Eroh, Intern Becky King and team returned to Talkeetna this morning!  They are busy unpacking, checking gear. The clotheslines are quickly filling.  They are enjoying fresh fruit and making lunch plans.

Sorting gear

Becky hanging tents

Snacks and lunch plans

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Gowler Team update

The final AMS Team of the 2013 Denali season has sucessfully made the descent to 14,200'.  They plan to stay for the night. 

It is warm there today, so they plan to have an early wake up and descend at about 4:00 AM, which will allow them to take advantage of the cold temperatures and firm snow conditions for traveling.

Rob said that they are planning for a return to Talkeetna on Tuesday morning, we look forward to welcoming them back!

Here are some past photos of the terrain they covered today:

View point towards the South West from 17,200': high camp

16K Ridge between high camp and top of the fixed lines.
The 16K Ridge again, it is super beautiful, Mt Foraker in background.

14,200' camp, today there are less camps than in the photo, Mt Hunter in background

Gowler 6/27 Team - summit photos!!

We received these pictures from Tyler, a friend, and Talkeetna Air Taxi pilot.  These photos were taken during during a flight over the Denali's summit last night' at about 7:10 PM, so these climbers on the top are very likely to be our team.  What a wonderful night they had and how fun to see the climbers on the summit.

The team contacted us late last night upon their return to their camp. They are on their way down to 14,200' today and will be back in Talkeenta either Monday or Tuesday, depending on traveling conditions.

Teams on Summit

Teams on Summit

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Gowler and the June 27 Team at the Top

AMS Guide Rob Gowler called in just under an hour ago, from the top of North America!  

He reported that today was the nicest summit days he has ever had and that the team is climbing strong.  They made to the top on team member Devon's Birthday!!! What a super way to celebrate.  He said they were feeling good and that they will have a birthday treat awaiting them when they return to their camp at 17,200' tonight. 

They have spectacular views and no winds and there are some nice fair weather cumulus clouds around them now.

Their journey!
View of The Alaska Range right now, you can just see the summit of Denali above the clouds, friendly clouds between us.

The final summit ridge, they were here a few hours ago!

CWVC 6 Day Mountaineering Course Returns

AMS Instructors Colby Coombs, Beth Cleary, Robert Wing and the CWVC team returned from the Ruth Glacier today.  They were all smiles as they got out of the van at AMS HQ.  They quickly got to work sorting gear and hanging tents.   The watermelon and fresh lemonade are a big hit on this warm summer day!   We are happy to work with this fine group again this year!

Sorting gear and eating
Colby and Lisle

Will, Instructor Colby Coombs and Lisle,Caitlyn, Instructor Beth Cleary, Ted, Instructor Robert Wing, Julio, Gerard, Holly and Pete

Gowler 6/27 Update

AMS Guide Rob Gowler checked in a short time ago.  It is a beautiful day and they are going for the summit!  Everyone on the team is feeling great!  We will update when we hear from Rob.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Gowler 6/27 Denali Update

AMS Guide Rob Gowler, with our June 27 West Buttress Denali Expedition, called in from High camp. 

The winds have lessened significantly. They are looking closely at the route up to Denali Pass and it is looking good.  The high winds have blown away the new snow, and that is good news to them!  If good weather persists, they will attempt the summit tomorrow.

Good Luck team!

Gowler 6/27 Denali WB

AMS Guide Rob Gowler check in today.  The winds have increased on the upper mountain so they are staying in high camp.  The team is all well, they are comfortable and warm in their tents and enjoying themselves.

This is a straight ahead view of the 17,200' high camp.  It looks rather precarious in the photo, but it's just the angle that it is taken from!  It's a nice location, with solid camps.  Rob's team has good snow walls around their tents, to help protect them from the wind.

AMS/IMG Vernovage Returns

AMS Guides Greg Vernovage, Travis McAlpine and team returned today.  They are busy sorting gear.  They returned to beautiful summer weather.  The watermelon and fresh lemonade are a big hit.
Everyone had a great time, though , they are looking very serious in theses photos... we will work on that!

Lots of gear


Thursday, July 11, 2013

CWVC Ruth Glacier Mountaineering Course Update

AMS Guide Colby Coombs phoned in from the Ruth Glacier.  They team is doing well, yesterday they skied and enjoyed the super weather. 

They had their first challenge right away getting to the Mountain House Hut, using fixed lines, ascenders and the buddy system to climb the steep slope to reach the doorway!  They worked together as a team and made it happen, and they they had a great day.

Here is a past photo of the Mt. House and the amazing view of Denali from the Hut.

AMS Denali Update

We have heard from both our Denali Teams once again!

AMS/IMG Guide Greg Vernovage's Team spent last night at 14,200' camp, yesterday they enjoyed the wonderful views and relaxed in camp.  They plan to enjoy their descent tonight, taking it slow and steady.  They have fresh snow to break trail through for part of the descent, so they will be taking their time, and enjoying the beautiful weather.  The all night descent is one of my favorite times of the expedition!

AMS Guide Rob Gowler's Team is at 17,200' high camp.  They plan to rest today and evaluate the snow pack on Denali Pass before they ascend.  They are no doubt getting excited to make they way higher.  UPDATE!  Rob just phoned in: Winds are moving at about 30 mph in camp and it looks like the winds are faster and higher elevations, so the team had a nice frech toast breakfast today and are enjoying life in the winds 17,200'.  They have a good camp and are quite comfortable, all are well!

The view from Talkeetna, the weather is stellar today!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

AMS Denali Update

I just heard from both AMS guide, Rob Gowler and AMS/ IMG guide Greg Vernovage.

Rob's June 27th Team moved to 17,200, high camp today.  They are doing well and it is snowing there now, but traveled when the weather was good to move, they had perfect timing.  They are getting settled into their tents and enjoying some hot soup!

Greg's June 25th Team descended from 17,200' and are currently at 14,200'.  tomorrow they plan to rest up and, if the weather permits, they will descend further and hope to arrive at  the 7,200' base camp and fly back to Talkeetna Thursday. It is snowing there now, so they are enjoying some quiet time and hot food in the lower elevations.

Both of these teams are doing a great job working with the weather on the  mountain; timing and judgement are key and these teams are strong and moving well.

Coady 12 and 15 Day Mountaineering Course

AMS Instructors Melis Coady and Jake Kayes just left for the airport.   The group is flying to The Pika Glacier (aka Little Switzerland).  Melis and Jake will be teaching these energetic students roped travel, crevasse rescue, self arrest among other things. They will have plenty of time to practice their new skills in Little Swiss. The 15 day students will begin a hike out off of the Glacier and through the tundra on day 12, when the others will fly off of the glacier.  Fun times ahead!

Instructor Jake Kayes, Nisa, Joe, Philippe, Instructor Melis Coady with Judy, Soren, Dan and Will

Combat Wounded Veterans Challenge Mountaineering Course

Instructors Colby Coombs, Beth Cleary, Robert Wing are preparing to fly into the Ruth Glacier for a six day Mountaineering Course.   This strong enthusiastic group is anxious to learn new skills.  

This past Sunday, they checked gear, packed lunches and began classes. Tuesday, they reviewed skills and awaited flyable weather, today they are going on a local 3 mile hike through the woods to test their gear and  hope to fly onto the Glacier!

We work with this team annually and really love this wonderful team.

Gear Check

Team learning rope ascension

Pete getting to the top!

(Back Row)Pete, Will, Ted, Holly, Caillyn ,Julio, Instructor Robert Wing, (front row) Instructor Beth Cleary, Gerard, Instructor Colby Coombs.

Vernovage AMS/ IMG Sumiit day

AMS guide Greg Vernovage phoned in!  They made it to the TOP North America at 20,320' yesterday and the team is doing well.  Their ascent of Denali was an incredible journey and we look forward to their stories.

They are at high camp now, and will be making their way down the mountain in the next couple of days.  We expect them in Talkeetna, weather permitting, as early as Thursday morning.

Congrats to them! We are looking forward to greeting the team at AMS HQ upon return to the green of Talkeetna!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Denali Update

AMS Guide Rob Gowler 6/27 checked in from 14K camp today.  His team is resting and acclimatizing today.  Yesterday they carried up to 16K, weather permitting  they will move to high camp Wednesday.  The team is all doing fine.

AMS/IMG Vernovage 6/24 is making a summit attempt today.  We expect to hear from Greg later today.

Youth Groups at Matanuska Glacier

AMS Instructors Alex Stroud and Nathan Wiley checked in from the Matanuska Glacier.  They are teaching Ice Climbing and Glacier Travel to the Overland Youth Group.  Our instructors enjoy sharing their knowledge with the students.

Building Anchors

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Mountain Update

AMS Guide Rob Gowler/6/27 just phoned in from the 14K Camp. The weather is 'unsettled' with clouds and light snow. They are going for a day hike over to the 'fixed lines.' Rob said he can see the top of the ridge and up to 17K camp. He guesses it is not a summit day and so AMS Guide Greg Vernovage (IMG/AMS) and team are probably waiting for better weather.

Gowler said his team is 'uber-strong.' Despite already having a camp to move in to, they made many improvements and dug the kitchen out more and put in lots of counter space. The dubbed the place, "Taj Ma Hole." Then, last night after dinner, it looked like some weather was going come in so they fortified the walls....making them five feet high! Rob said they are all hard workers and it took them only 20 minutes! (they are able to appropriate snow blocks from abandoned camps, but still that is impressive)

Meanwhile here at AMS we have the Combat Wounded Veterans Challenge getting ready for their six day mountaineering course. They are gear checking now. They are flying into the Ruth Glacier tomorrow morning.

Rob Gowler instructs climbers on clipping in and out of fixed lines; a skill needed when the team ascends to the 16K ridge. (photo from 2012)

The kitchen tent or 'posh' as it is known. To make this a giant hole is dug first.

You can customize the kitchen with seats and counters.

All sleeping tents have a wall around them in anticipation of storms with high winds.

Every day the NPS rangers post the forecast. This is from 2012 but I' sure it is about the same today.

On a nice day you can open up the tent for fresh air and more views.