Overview: There are certain mountains
that need no explanation as to why climb. Denali is such a mountain. Its
tremendous size and beauty generate a magnetism that continually draws
climbers from around the world. An ascent of Denali, touches the psyche of all
alpinists and for those who have undertaken its challenges, it rewards them
with an unforgettable, once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Denali is often considered
America's most classic climb. From top to bottom, it rises nearly 18,000', an
elevation gain unsurpassed anywhere in the world. At a northern latitude of
63°, it is the most northerly of any big mountain over 20,000'. No other
region offers such breathtaking and diverse views each day of the ascent. The
panorama from Denali's summit includes Mt. Foraker, Mt. Hunter and Mt.
Huntington in all their majestic glory.
When Dr. Bradford Washburn
pioneered the West Buttress route, he heralded in a new era of Denali ascents
and offered climbers a unique approach to the summit. The flight onto the
glacier is a trip in itself, presenting overwhelming vistas of the Alaska
Range. The West Buttress route remains, by far, the most successfully climbed
route on the mountain.
Climb Overview: A Denali climb begins
deep in the heart of the Alaska Mountain Range on the Kahiltna Glacier. From
the S.E. Fork of the Kahiltna Glacier we begin the climb of Denali's West
Buttress. Base Camp plus five higher camps are established on the mountain.
When necessary, the team makes double carries between all camps, except high
camp, to ensure proper acclimatization and reduce loads. In each camp we build
snow walls for protection from possible high winds. The climb takes
approximately 17-18 days round trip from Base camp.
Team I Waits for weather to
clear. May 6, 2005 : This is Andy Rich calling with Alpine Ascents Denali Team
I. We’ve come up with the team name, our team name is Denali Sango-Oichan 7.
Our team consists of myself Andy Rich, Dan Starr and six Japanese climbers.
Their names are Saito, Shirota, Oichan, Yasu, Yuki, and Hiro. We hoped to fly
into the SE fork of the Kahiltna yesterday afternoon, but the clouds did not
allow for us to fly, so we are still waiting at the airstrip in Talkeetna. The
weather doesn’t look much more promising today, we’ll probably practice some
rope systems, get to know each other and Dan and I will work on our Japanese
When the mountain decides to emerge from the clouds like a beautiful
butterfly, emerging from her cocoon, then we will fly on to the mountain and
spend a day in Base Camp and then begin moving up the mountain from there. We
won’t have cell phone coverage early on, so if we do fly on this afternoon we
won’t have a cybercast for 3 or 4 days. If we don’t fly on we will have
another installment for you very shortly. That’s all for now. This is Denali
Sango-Oichan 7 signing off.
Team 2 Flies to the Mountain:
May 8, 2005: Yes this is Steve Whitney calling from Alpine Ascents Expedition
number 2, flying in to the Kahiltna Base Camp today, it is 3:17 AK expedition
time and we have Jeff, Ronnie David, Gabe, Kurt, Brian and Steve and Trevor
are the guides and we are so psyched. Our team name is the "Mystic Elvises."
It is blue skies here, light winds, you can see the mountain and it looks
beautiful. We have a strong group and we are psyched to get out onto the ice.
So stay tuned for more details of our adventure, we’ve been gearing up and
we’re at the strip right now and we’re headed out, thanks a lot for following
us, we’ll be in touch as soon as we can get cell coverage in the next 4-5
Denali Sango-Oichan 7
approaches Camp II May 9, 2005: This is Andy Rich calling in from 10,000 feet.
We passing the cache we put in yesterday. We broke down our camp at 7,800 feet
and we are well on our way to Camp II at 11,200 feet. We should be there to
make camp tonight. Clouds are in and out but travel is easy and everyone is
moving really well. Dan and I have been practicing our Japanese and we’re
getting our first couple of words down. (laughter) That’s all the news for
Denali Sango-Oichan 7 at Camp
II May 10, 2005: Konichi-wa, this is Dan Starr calling from Denali Sango
Oichan-7. We’re at 10,000 feet here at our cache site again. The weather is
beautiful today, not a cloud in sight and the temperatures are warm. We’re
retrieving our cache, bringing it up to our 11,000 foot camp today, kind of
having a relaxing day today, and then we’re going to push up around Windy
Corner tomorrow, and set another cache at 13.5 and be back down to 11,000 feet
probably for the next night or two.
That’s it, everybody is doing great, we’re having a great time studying
Japanese and we’re just getting ready o move into the blue room, conditions
look a little blue there on the upper mountain, mostly white down here below
10,000 feet but surprisingly blue up there. So that’s it for now thanks for
checking in, sayonara.
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