Monday, June 30, 2014

Denali West Buttress Team Updates

We just received a call from the June 24 Team led by Josh Hoeschen.

AMS Ronzckowski 6/22, Coady, 6/23 and Hoeschen 6/24 teams are all doing well at 11,20o' camp. Hoeschen's team back carried today, are now resting with plans to carry up to 13,500 tomorrow. AMS guide Coady made a carry to 13,500 today and is also in 11,200' camp. AMS guide Tumolo is still at 14,200 camp. AMS guide Hamill is at 7,800'. Reports from Kahiltna basecamp are that teams are moving slow in the deep snow. Everyone is safe and sound, enjoying the wilderness of Denali. 

AMS photo of a view of Kahiltna Dome from 11,200'. 

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Denali West Buttress Team Updates

We just received a call from the June 16 Team led by Todd Tumolo.

Tumolo's team are at 14,200' camp waiting for clearer weather, all are doing well.

They reported that the June 12th team led by Mike Hamill is also at 14,200' after summiting, earning a well deserved rest and renewal by power napping, eating, and drinking hot drinks. Their plan is to continue descending later this evening.

AMS Ronzckowski 6/22, Coady, 6/23 and Hoeschen 6/24 teams are all doing well at 11,000 camp. Reports are saying that Windy Corner is living up to its name and was too windy to move higher. When the conditions calm down, they will continue up to 14,200' camp.

AMS previous crew descending from 14,200' camp, which hopefully Hamill's crew will be doing soon.

AMS guide Adam Fabrikant after a cold summit day: now we know why guides have such beards, to keep the snow and ice off their face.

AMS crew descending around Windy Corner.

Denali, West Buttress, 6/25: Gowler, 6/24 Hoeshen

We just received a text from the June 25 Team led by Rob Gowler.

Last night / early this morning they made their carry and cached at 10,000', they are now back at their 7,800' camp.  They report it was cold last night and the team moved well and with out a hitch. It is now hot and they are enjoying a well earned nap. They are planning another early (3:00 am) start to move to 11,000' tomorrow.

They saw the June 24 team led by Josh Hoeschen moving to 11,000' camp and they were doing well and enjoying their climb higher.   

Pitching the tent properly is constant task and requires good teamwork. Brian Okonek Photo

View from the top of ski hill, the team covered this terrain early this morning! View looking south down the Kahiltna Glacier.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Denali, West Buttress 6/25: Gowler

The AMS June 25 Expedition led by Rob Gowler moved to camp one at 7,800' early this morning. 

They were in camp by 11:00 AM and are amazed at all the new snow.  They of course,  enjoyed the beauty of the snow and welcomed it's challenge.  They plan to stay on night schedule traveling in the cool temperatures to use less overall energy.  This works well until about 11,200' where most of our teams switch back to traveling during the day.

They plan to be eating dinner at 12 midnight tonight (in about an hour) and then leave camp to make a carry of extra food, fuel and gear higher on the mountain, where they will cache it at aprox. 9,800'.

They are all doing well!

Camp One at 7,800 on the Kahiltna Glacier'

Denali Update: 6/12: Hamill at the Top!

The AMS June 12 Expedition lead by Mike Hamill has reached the top of North America!

They had a stellar summit day and are doing great. They are on their way back down to high camp  and we can't wait to hear more from them later.  This team is a living example of "good things come to those who wait"

We are proud of them!

***UPDATE: The team is safely back at high camp and climbing down to 14,200' today.  If all goes according to plan they will be back in Talkeetna Monday morning.

View from the top of Denali, looking SW, expand photo to see 3 climbers ascending the on the final ridge.

Summit of Denali 20,237', photo: Brian Okonek

View of Denali from down town Talkeetna

Climbing up Denali Pass

Final stretch of climbing towards the summit.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Denali, West buttress: 6/25...: Gowler

This evening our June 25 team led by guide Rob Gowler successfully flew into the Alaska Range to begin the climbing portion of their climb! :-)  This is a fun team, we are excited follow their progress up the mountain and we wish them the best of luck and fun up there.

They were happy to get their storm days over with in Talkeetna, here's hoping for sunny skies for the the next few weeks for all of the Denali teams!

Team jump shot!

Justin, Aaron, Michele, Marco, Guides: Rob Gowler, Adam Fabricant, Karina Amortegui, Drew, and Mike.

Denali, West Buttress ALL AMS TEAM Updates

It has been a very snowy on Denali this season.  Lisa, the flight service basecamp manager, thinks this may be a record breaking snowfall year!  Basecamp currently has 40" of snow,  and the climbing season will end with more snow than when it began!

All of our teams are doing well, they are waiting to move higher.

The AMS 6/23 Expedition led by guide Melis Coady and our 6/24 Expedition led by guide Josh Hoeschen are at 7,800' (camp 1).  Over 3 feet (1 meter) of snow has fallen on them in the last 24 hours.  They are doing lots of shoveling!  they have plenty of food, fuel and shelter. They are keeping warm and are in good spirits and health. They are waiting for the weather to improve before they make their move (and break a new trail through this deep snow) higher on the mountain.

View of 7,800' camp

Noah Ronczkowski 6/22 Expedition are at 11,200' Camp. They received over a meter of snow as well.  They are shoveling out their camp and waiting for the weather to improve and snow pack to stabilize.  Winds are light with stronger gusts coming from the west.  Noah reports that all are in very good moods and are doing well awaiting better climbing conditions. 

A team leaving 11 K Camp, on a clear day.

Todd Tumolo leading the 6/16 Expedition at at 14,200 camp.  Yesterday they reported that they had about 3 feet of snow and we are sure they have received more last night as well.  They are sitting tight in camp and enjoying their rest days, all are in good spirits!

View of 14,200 Camp
The June 12 AMS expedition led by Mike Hamill remains at 17,200'  they are all feeling strong and awaiting the weather along side several other teams.  They are doing well!   We have had teams wait up to 11 days at high camp for weather, we wonder if that record will be broken this year...?

AMS at 17,200' high camp, Denali pass, a stormy but clearing weather day.

Climbers enjoying the view from the 17,200' High Camp Balcony

Our final Denali West Buttress 6/25 team led by Rob Gowler is experiencing the "Talkeetna Hang".  The snow on the mountain is rain, rain and more rain in Talkeetna.  The team is keeping busy with classes taught by AMS Guides Rob,  Adam Fabrikant and Karina Amortegui.


Karina demostrates duffle packing

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Denali, West Buttress: ALL AMS TEAMS Update

We had calls and texts from our teams today from AMS guides on Denali; all our teams report that everyone is climbing very well, is strong and are healthy.  It is lightly snowing at all camp locations on Denali's West Buttress.  Here is an update:

Mike Hamill leading the June 12 AMS expedition tried twice for the top and were turned back at Denali Pass both time due to weather. They are currently waiting at 17,200' high camp and will try again when the weather clears.

Todd Tumolo leading the June 16 AMS expedition are well established at the 14,200' camp. They went down to Windy Corner today to pick up their previously cached gear and food, they felt strong. And are all happy, eating and hydrating!

Noah Ronzkowski leading the June 22 AMS/AMICAL expedition moved to 11,200' camp today. They made the move quickly in a speedy six hours from the 7,800' camp.  When Noah phoned, he said all is well, it was beginning to snow and the kitchen tent was a comfortable place for them to chat and have hot drinks this afternoon.

Melis Coady leading the June 23 AMS/Mt. Professionals expedition made a carry and cache of their gear, extra food and fuel at 10,000' today.  They are camped at 7,800' tonight and plan to move to 11,200' camp tomorrow. 

Josh Hoeschen leading the June 24 AMS expedition moved to 7,800' today. They will rest and then make a carry and gear, food, fuel cache to 9,800'-10,000' tomorrow - if weather permits.

Rob Gowler leading the June 25 AMS expedition is in Talkeetna at the AMS HQ.  They were not able to fly in to the Alaska Range today due to un-flyable weather conditions. Today they: gear checked, lunch packed, NPS briefed, reviewed tent and packing techniques helpful for Denali and now they are wrapping up for the evening with a team dinner at a local restaurant.

Let's hope for sun soon for all of our climbers!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Denali, West Buttress, 6/16: Tumolo

AMS guide Todd Tumolo just phoned in from 14,200' basin camp.  The team is doing well and is feeling strong.  They are moving quickly and that is an indicator of climbers that are well organized and strong.  Well done team!

Below are photos of the route they climbed today from past AMS expedtions.
AMS Rounding Windy Corner

11,000' is bottom left of photo, Windy corner is middle of photo where rock ridge meets snow ridge, 14,200' camp is middle of photo in flat basin area above crevasses.

just above Windy Corner

11,000' camp with route towards 14,200 in background.

14,200' camp on a busy day

14,200' AMS camp and its' million dollar view of Mt. Foraker, Alaska Range and beyond

Denali WB, Hoeschen 6/24

Our June 24 Denali team is a fine group of international climbers.  The team represents China, Russia, UAE and the US.  They have quickly developed a friendly rapport while preparing their food and gear today athe AMS HQ.   The team led by Guides Josh Hoeschen, Brian Skean and Angelo Squires was anxious to get to Denali and begin their climbing expedition.  They are currently at the Talkeetna airport and ready to board their glacier flight into the Alaska Range!

Wei, Guide Josh,  Raha, Dave, Gao, Oleg, Guide Angelo, Quan, Guide Brian

Denali WB, 6/23 MT. Professionals: Coady

Our 6/23 Custom AMS/Mountain Professional: Denali West Buttress with guides Melis Coady, Michael Gardner, and Ryan Waters flew into the Alaska Range yesterday.  The group was very calm and relaxed as they loaded the van.  They were very excited and looking forward to getting into the Alaska Range and begin their Denali climb. This is a super team!

Back: Marius, Chris, Stephan, Trevor, Andrea:  Front: AMS Guides Michael, Melis and Ryan

Monday, June 23, 2014

Hamill's in High Camp

Mike Hamill called in and said his group had a pleasant move into 17,200' and are settling in for the night. It's clear and calm. They are going to make a decision in the morning whether or not to rest or make a summit attempt. 

Below are photos of the terrain they covered today!
16K ridge with expedtion packs, this team is making the move to high camp and are nearly there.

Fixed lines towards the 16,200' ridge.

Washburn's Thumb feature on the 16,000' Ridge

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Denali Updates from 6/12 Hamill and 6/16 Tumolo

AMS Guides Mike Hamill and Todd Tumolo both called in today.

Mike said that his June 12 crew is all doing well and have acclimated quickly.  If the weather allows them to, they will try to move up to high camp tomorrow.

If the weather was then perfect the day after tomorrow they would think about giving it a shot.  If it's not perfect they'll wait.  Now they are at the mercy of the weather.

Todd and his June 16 team started to make a move today, but the weather wasn't conducive so they turned around and are back in camp at 11K.  They went to the top of Motorcycle Hill this morning.  Todd is hoping to give it another go tomorrow.

View of 14,200' camp and looking southwest at Mt. Foraker 17,400'

Custom Hike- Backside Lake, 6/18, Young

A custom Denali National Park Wilderness hike with AMS guide Betsy Young returns today from an amazing area of the backcountry called Backside Lake that is situated  between the Ruth Glacier and Backside Glacier. This is a wild place with lots of bear sign, marmots, ground squirrels, white-tailed ptarmigan, high tundra, glaciated lake, waterfalls with avalanches cascading down, and the list goes on. Enjoy a few photos! Thanks for joining us Roberto and Jessica!
AMS hiker Roberto takes on the ridge view above Backside Lake.
Mouse tunnels/burrows as the snow has just melted in this area.
Ptarmigan at Backside Lake.