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Author Topic: Summit pic on Denali  (Read 14584 times)

MikeW

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Summit pic on Denali
« on: Jun 22 2009, 22:11 »

Hi Guys!

I've just summited Denali on June 13, 2009 for my number 6 of 7. I have only Everest left to complete my 7 summits. I've done the West Buttress route unguided with 3 friends from Quebec and summited on the 11th day of the expedition, 14 total from Talkeetna to Talkeetna. We had good weather and a beautiful summit day as well.

MikeW
« Last Edit: Jun 24 2009, 08:21 by 7summits »
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7summits

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Re: Summit pic on Denali
« Reply #1 on: Jun 24 2009, 08:23 »

Hey Mike!

congratulations on #6! Well done. How was the climb and route? Any additions to my Denali guide?

And of course: when is #7 planned  8)

Cheers, Harry
(I took the liberty to edit your message, so the picture would show up)
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m.c. reinhardt

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Re: Summit pic on Denali
« Reply #2 on: Jun 25 2009, 13:25 »

Hey Mike!!! Whoo hoo! Big time congrats. Summiting on the 11th day? Nice! Sounds like a great climb; you were lucky with the weather. Beautiful summit shot. Well done!!!!!

MC :)
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MikeW

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Re: Summit pic on Denali
« Reply #3 on: Jun 25 2009, 19:06 »

Thanks Harry for editing the message so the pic could show up.

It was a dry season on Denali this year. The ridge between 16200 and high camp was mostly on rocks making it more difficult. When I was coming down the mountain, it was so warm that I sank up to my knee with snowshoes on, on the lower glacier and we were only the 15 of June. The weather gods were with us during most of the trip. On summit day, we expected strong winds (30 to 40 mph), but in the morning there was nothing. The wind started on the way down to high camp on the football field. That"s why I have only a Goretex jacket on at the summit.

Beautiful mountain but definitely the toughest to climb of the 6 with 5 camps, 21 days of food and fuel to carry and the distance between the camps.

MikeW
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MoT

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Re: Summit pic on Denali
« Reply #4 on: Jul 2 2009, 03:18 »

Hey Mike, congratulations! Sounds like a great trip.

We went for the summit on May 18th because a weather front was rapidly moving in. My partner summitted in 45 mph winds, I was forced to turn early in the day due to exhaustion. The weather then remained horrible until our day that we had to go down (typical). We had flights to catch so couldn't wait around. 10 mph on the summit the day we got back to the airfield.

Gerald Myers died in similar conditions on the 19th May. My partner has been to Camp 4 on K2 and said that the summit ridge in high winds alone and unroped was a far scarier prospect than all his time up to 8000m high camp on K2.  :o

Tom

ps Harry, if you're looking for additions to your guide, I'll have a look through my diary and see if I have any thoughts! One possible idea would be regarding campsite choice at Kahiltna Pass camp - if you can see the pass from your campsite you're probably in a bad spot. Better to be in one of the minor dips in the glacier - ever so SLIGHTLY better shellter. We got there in a storm and couldn't see the pass so didn't know.

Er - also to remember to get out early if you want to get up the headwall ahead of the commercial groups. We were unguided but still took 3 hours to get up the ropes because we got stuck in a bottleneck behind 25 climbers (who incidentally were all WAY TOO CLOSE TOGETHER on the fixed ropes) and got dehydrated and exhausted on the day before our summit push as a result. It's shocking how bad some of the climbers are on that mountain - some couldn't mount the TINY bergschrund at the base of the fixed ropes. It's amazing the people who are allowed onto that mountain. And as for the guides who let their clients climb dangerously on the ropes... well that's a rant for another day! I have a pic somewhere - we brought it to the rangers just to show them once we got down.
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MoT

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Re: Summit pic on Denali
« Reply #5 on: Jul 2 2009, 03:21 »

Oh, by the way Harry, I enjoyed your guidebook. Very handy!
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7summits

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Re: Summit pic on Denali
« Reply #6 on: Jul 2 2009, 07:32 »

Hey MoT!

thanks for you remarks, did not know you were up there as well. Seems like a good call to turn around. Yes, any comments are welcome as well as that picture!
It still suprises me that I and many others cannot guide experienced climbers on Denali, while the concessionaires can just take up anybody they want, creating problems for others.

Hopefully my guidebook will show many people that maybe they are not ready yet for Denali, it is a big, cold and tough mountain (but beautiful).

Cheers,
Harry

ps: My new guidebook, about Everest, is out now, just got my copy this week, it looks great, when are you headed that way?
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Charlie

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Re: Summit pic on Denali
« Reply #7 on: Jul 13 2009, 00:46 »

Congrats Mike! (Mike and I climbed Elbrus together in '04)

MoT, I haven't been on Denali, but unseen, just based on the Discovery channel's Everest series I would totally agree with you about the sad lack of screening that commercial operators do.  Let me play the devil's advocate, though: aren't the ropes put up and maintained by commercial operators?  If so, we really should not complain, only either thank them for allowing others to use them, or fix our own ropes or climb without ropes....  Anyway, I am conflicted about this as about other athletic endeavours.  Before injuries I used to run including marathons at around 3 h.  For the general public there is no difference between the achievement of a 7 h finisher who walked with occasional jogs and spent a few easy month preparing and my 80 mile a week for a half a year.  Part of me wants to say to them, don't show up for a marathon until you can get it under 4, 4:30.  Train, run shorter distances...  The other part of me thinks, this is fantastic that instead of watching TV they were out there training and now running the distance, that they are pushing their limits.  Granted they were not blocking my way and with that potentially put me in a dangerous situation.
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MoT

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Re: Summit pic on Denali
« Reply #8 on: Jul 16 2009, 06:31 »

Congrats Mike! (Mike and I climbed Elbrus together in '04)

MoT, I haven't been on Denali, but unseen, just based on the Discovery channel's Everest series I would totally agree with you about the sad lack of screening that commercial operators do.  Let me play the devil's advocate, though: aren't the ropes put up and maintained by commercial operators?  If so, we really should not complain, only either thank them for allowing others to use them, or fix our own ropes or climb without ropes.... 

I don't know - if I go back I'll be thinking of the upper west rib. Self sufficient, no need for fixed ropes, just a reliable partner. Without those ropes, most muppets wouldn't get beyond basin camp. I would be happy enough with my climbing ability to get up without them, but they add a safety factor that you would be foolish to ignore.
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MikeW

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Re: Summit pic on Denali
« Reply #9 on: Jul 22 2009, 21:52 »

Hi guys!

The ropes are maintained by the park rangers at the beginning of the season from what I heard, not the commercial operators. Yes most of the commercial groups are slower, but on the headwall, you lose maybe an hour because of it, it's not the end of the world. It would be foolish not to use them, it is a security factor.

It's not official yet but I'm looking more and more toward Everest 2010 on the south side. It's going to be unguided with a Nepalese operator.

MikeW
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MoT

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Re: Summit pic on Denali
« Reply #10 on: Jul 31 2009, 04:08 »

Hi Harry - might be worth emphasizing in the guidebook a bit more strongly how long the ridge above the headwall is up as far as 17000 camp. It certainly took me by surprise on the day, especially when I was dehydrated and tired.

The description of heartbreak hill is spot on :-) On the way back it looked easy but wow it took a lot.

You can mention also that you can travel from Basin Camp to Airfield Camp all in one push (even on snowshoes).

Ski Hill (hell) is a 3-4 part climb each roughly the same length. Up a bit, flat kind of bit, up a bit, flat kind of bit, up a slightly steeper bit, then a final slog to windy corner camp.

Would be worth emphasizing to people about the dangers of the overhanging seracs on the way to Motorcycle Hill camp. We saw people stop for lunch under the hanging glacier just to the right Motorcycle Camp.

(Maybe I'm stating the obvious too much!!)

Finally - your photos of the summit day seem to be shot with a wide angle lens. They give a deceptively shortened looking climb up to the Archdeacon's Tower! It's much steeper!!! :)

ps I like your photograhy! Not criticizing that!!!!!
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7summits

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Re: Summit pic on Denali
« Reply #11 on: Aug 10 2009, 01:04 »

Hi MikeW,

great to hear you might be tackling the bog 'E'!  8) Just take care with what's included in your trip, we have seen many 'lowbudget climbers' (even though our expeditions are relatively very cheap) that wanted/needed to buy extra services on the mountain. As I explain in my new Everest Guidebook: it is not a supermarket there...

MoT: thanks for the feedback, very useful. Agree on all, but the amount of text is very limited. I will put most info online in the next version of 7summits.com, then I can expand a bit more as above. Sorry I surprised you at the foot of the last climb  ;D

Cheers,
Harry
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