txt message from Marty yesterday:
"Hi Daan and Macpac,
Great summits of North and South Denali and now Foraker. Back at Base Camp for
a rest day and then tomorrow off to try new route on Denali. Will call in
Hello everyone this is Marty and Denali again,
Last time we talked we were off to Foraker for the summit on Sultana Ridge. We
had to climb up over Mount Crosson, which is a 12,800 ft mountain, and then
down about 3,600 ft and then we climbed up another 6,000 feet... so a big 9
mile long ridge from the base all the way to the summit and we did that in
roughly 53 hours. And now we're back at our camp site after our summit day
The day started off very mild with a little bit of wind around the 12,000 ft
mark where we are camped and just progressed to the summit. Made it roughly in
about 8 hours to the summit from our bivy and the summit is flat as you can
imagine... like a big football field. But coming down, the colours from the
sunset were magnificent... all the oranges, the pinks and the reds from the
Alaskan midnight sun hanging on the horizon with us as we descended.
We got back down to the 12,000 ft mark on the ridge and that's when the high
winds started happening... we had 80+ mph winds, which is like a 120 kms...
blowing us around. We had a lot of spindrift. We got back to our camp - taking
a little bit longer... just route finding, making sure that we didn't make any
mistakes and we got in roughly at around 1.30 in the morning last night. We
brewed up, didn't have much time to do a dispatch... we were hoping that this
weather front that was coming in was gonna give us another 12 hours of
climbing to get down off the ridge, but unfortunately it hit us hard and we're
still at the high camp in the storm. So we slept in a little bit and are doing
the dispatch now. Letting everyone know that we're safe and sound at the high
camp. We're gonna wait this storm out. So that we don't make any bad
manoeuvres on the ridge so that we can get back safely down Crosson and back
to 7,200 ft camp.
We will let you know when we move and when we get down. All the best from our
high camp and talk to you soon. All the best, bye
Hey good on you Daan. It's Marty and Denali...
hello Macpac and everybody following us.
We finished up with Denali with the South Summit and the North Summit. We
skied all the way down from 14,200 ft to 7,200 Base Camp... restocked...
dropped off some gear and came over alpine style to Mount Crosson. So we're
climbing 6,000 ft, close to 2,000 m of climbing up Mount Crosson to the summit
and then we drop about 700 m, 2,000 ft down to the Sultana Ridge and we head
up for hopefully a one day ascent of the Sultana Ridge. We'll climb through
today on Mt Foraker, the second highest mountain in the Alaskan Range 17,400
ft (5,304 m).
So yeah, just to touch base with you guys and everybody following us. We're
safe and sound. At our first bivouac, we climbed around a 1,000 m just now in
an Alaskan midnight sun. It's 12.30 right now and we're making up a dinner
with no headlamps and it's fantastic... making tortellini and some nice
chicken and great pasta sauce... ah, I can't wait. We're 'bivvied' right now
in a beautiful light green Macpac Summit single wall eVent tent and we love
it... the vestibule is perfect... it's a great addition. It's great testing
it. And we're in our Macpac Sanctuary 1000 sleeping bags.
OK, much love from the Alaskan Range. Bye bye.
Hello everyone it's Denali and I again.
We're in our high camp on Mt Foraker. We climbed through the night last night
into the midnight sun... [inaudible]. It was good... it was actually one of
these Alaskan midnight suns where the sun kept never setting. Finally got into
our camp at 2 o'clock in the morning and we still had plenty of light from the
sun. So up early today and off towards the summit. Just to let you know it's
going to be a big day and you won't hear from us for about 12, 14, 16 hours.
We're looking at climbing this cornice ridge and head to the base of Foraker
and then another roughly 5,000 ft of quality climbing.
Just wanna let you guys know that this is our day and looking forward to doing
the dispatch after coming down from the summit. So that's our goal and we'll
so how it goes. It's windy and it's very very cold. Temperature went down to
-35º Celcius last night while we were climbing and in our tent and this
morning the sun hits us and it warms up considerably. There's a very cold wind
that cuts right through you, so we're putting all the clothing on and getting
out of the tent.
It's exciting to be with Denali on this next mountain, on Foraker, the
second highest mountain and the weather is gonna be good the next day and a
half. We didn't get any whiteout conditions... we had 50 wands and put them
in... so we'll need about 200 wands to do the whole ridge, which is close to 9
miles (almost 14.5 km) long. It's a huge huge ridge climb in Alaska.
Good thoughts to everyone from Sultana Ridge on Mount Foraker. Bye bye from
Denali and Marty
It's the 30th of May and we got down from or high
camp [inaudible...] ...it's flat and beautiful. Today is a rest day... we went
up and climbed roughly 2,000 ft and had a wonderful ski down... champagne
powder. Tomorrow we're going to leave early in the morning for the North
Denali has another sub peak which is roughly 19,200 ft... a completely
separate mountain. The centre of it is Denali Pass... we need to go right up
to Denali [inaudible...] you go left onto the North Summit [inaudible...]. So
we're gonna do that [inaudible...] we're gonna try to back to our low Base
Camp by Thursday or Friday before the storm comes in.
Just letting you know we're safe and sound. The father - son team is doing
great and happy. It's a fantastic journey, hopefully all you guys get up to
Alaska and enjoy it.
On a side note thanks Daan and Macpac for all your help with the dispatches
and the great gear [inaudible...]
Bye from Alaska.
We just came off the North Summit of Denali, which is just a couple hundred
feet below the actual true summit. A very long 15 hour day... round trip from
14,2 Camp and everything worked really well. We got caught in a bad storm on
the summit and took a while to get back down. It just came down to
perseverance and good skills. [inaudible...] with some hard times, with the
weather and the body exhaustion and the mind being tested. But it was a great
experience for Denali and I.
So good thoughts to everyone. We're having a rest day right now at 14,2 and
the phone actually is not at its best [inaudible...] and I think the weather
knocked it around, so I'm not sure if you're getting this OK.
Thinking of everyone. Our next plan is pretty much to get down lower out of
the 14 get back down to the Kahiltna Glacier and head off to Foraker, which is
the second highest mountain in the Alaskan Range. We're doing fine, healthy,
eating well and resting. Thinking of our loved ones at home and we'll be in
touch the next couple of days when we get back down lower and we head down to
the base of Mount Foraker... Mount Sultana.
Much love, bye bye from the Alaskan Range.
Because of the time difference, the weekend and
prior commitments on Monday evening, I haven't been able to relay Marty's
messages earlier - here's are the 4 calls he made during that period. Cheers,
Hello everyone following us on Denali,
It's ticking along. We're here roughly 9 days now and we just pushed a carry
up to 16,200 ft, on the rib itself, it's called Little Riblet. Denali did
really well... a little bit of a headache now, so we're going to acclimatize a
bit more before our final push.
A beautiful day today, we went ahead and climbed 2,000 ft in roughly 2.5 hours
and we carried our skis and skied all the way down. A little bit steep icy,
but the majority was just beautiful; Alaskan cold snow... which is great for
skiing. Possibly tomorrow do another acclimatization hike, just to keep the
body going and feel good at altitude on our final summit push for 20,320 ft.
On a sad note there were a few deaths last night. About 11 o'clock, they were
coming down from the summit and took a wrong route and ended up with not
enough protection and one of the clients fell and unfortunately a guide and
client passed away and two clients very much damaged. This does happen up here
and it has been happening, there was a death before we got on the mountain
with another client... so going with a guide is not always fool proof and
hopefully you are with the best you can be with at any given moment. Good
thoughts and condolences to all the families of the lost ones. It's a little
somber up here on the mountain, knowing what just happened. Sometimes death is
part of our journey. Denali and I are concentrating on the good things in life
all around us.
It's Denali and I on the West Rib... we're at 15,200 ft in a nice bivy;
Macpac Summit... single wall tent hanging in there on a steep edge. Looking up
onto the Rib it's looks very good for our summit day tomorrow, so we're gonna
try an go for it from here. We're feeling good, acclimatized and the weather
is working for us and this is what mountaineering is all about... to find
these windows and make sure we're feeling good when these windows happen.
Hi Daan! Man your voice sounds like the tropics! We're just below the
summit... we summited a little bit ago. Denali is still on the top of
Denali... and we had good ups... we're both feeling good going up and strong
coming down. Took us 10 days to climb it... acclimatized well and 'punched'
this morning from 8 o'clock... just past 8... and summited in about 5.5
hours... 1.30-ish. The weather was good... it was cold, very cold winds...
brought temperatures down to -20ºC, -25ºC. Winds probably at 30-40 km/hour
gusts... but we had good views... all around 360º. We have a good view of
Mount Foraker right now, the second highest mountain in the Alaskan Range. So
that's a good sign that the weather is going to hold. We still have another
3-4 hours of technical climbing to get down to our camp, which is roughly at
16,200 ft... we're at 20,000 ft now. That's what our journey is and it could
be late when we get back to our tent.
Much love to everyone from Denali and I to all our family and friends and
loved ones... good thoughts from just below the summit of Denali in Alaska...
the beauty of Alaska, right in front of us.
Just wanted to check in to let you know we are safe and sound. We got down
safely to our 16,200 ft camp and today is all about getting down to 14,200
ft... the safer camp. Safer in the sense that it's big and wide and
[inaudible]. Right now we're on a ridge so we want to get down from here
before a storm comes in as predicted [inaudible]... looks like we're going to
be stuck for a few days, so you probably won't hear from us for 2-3 days.
We're safe and sound and happy to be up here on Denali in the fine weather we
had the last couple of days. The summit was fantastic, it's beautiful right
now in the morning... but we can see the thunder showers coming in
from a distance, from the West... so we gotta get out of here quickly. The
views up here are spectacular... and the feeling up here on a big mountain
like this with good people is the ultimate. Good talking to you...
bye bye from Denali.
Hello everybody following Denali and I on Mount McKinley,
Denali in Alaska.
It's about 3-4 days since we last talked. During those
days we had a couple more storm days and then we pushed hard from our
Camp I up to Camp II at 11,200 ft. And then we pushed our heavy load up
to Camp III, which is 14,200 ft, roughly about 4,300 m.
Heavy loads going up. We did really well (...) and then
we skinned the last little bit up to 14,200 ft and it was just a cracker
day. It was windy around Windy Corner (...) notorious for its winds...
(rest of message inaudible)
Hello everybody, it's Marty and Denali on... Denali, or Mount McKinley in
Sent a dispatch a couple of days ago from Anchorage. We made it to Talkeetna
just fine and went through all the permits and finished the organizing.
We ended up flying in on the 18th and it was a night to remember, it was
beautiful, close to 24 hour sunlight. So we packed up one of our carries and
skied all the way up to our Camp I and arrived back at our Base Camp at around
1 o'clock in the morning, not needing headlamps. Just magical as a first
experience for the season. Denali loved it.
The next day we got up at a decent time, had a good breakfast and packed up
the final gear and skied to our Camp I. Everything looked fine... then woke up
early this morning to a major storm and we've been pinned down ever since. So
we're probably going to be here for 24 hours and hopefully it'll clear and we
can push up to our Camp II and mosey on up to high Base Camp.
That's our game plan right now. We're just sitting around acclimatising,
eating, drinking and playing cards and waiting for the weather to clear. We
will be in contact with you as soon as we make more progress on the hill.
We're doing fine, getting used to this beautiful mountain range. It's very
special to be up here with Denali, we're thinking of everybody at home,
Giannina and everybody... it's magical to be here.
We don't have any cell coverage so we can only do sat phone right now. So
we'll be in touch every 2-3 days. Cheers
Hello and greetings from Alaska. It has been a few months since the Aconcagua,
Argentina climbing days went well. Giannina and I survived the earthquake in
Christchurch, helped others where we could and fixed up the home after some
damage. We have been busy exploring and living north of Auckland; Giannina
having started her Ayurvedic study of medicine, giving back to the world in so
many positive ways. We have never spent much time in the north of Auckland
before and it feels good to get the feeling of this land and the people.
Since the beginning of May, I have been busy training and preparing for a
climb/ski descent of Mt Shasta in Northern California and for Mt. Denali in
Alaska, the highest mountain in North America, sitting at 20,320 feet / 6,196
meters. An old buddy of mine since childhood, Eddie Caldwell, a great person
to explore this earth with, and I decided to ski tour the West face of Shasta.
All went well with the skinning and climbing until the last 100 feet or so
where we were caught in white out conditions. A lenticular coming down upon us
with force, we had to make a quick decision to turn while we could. We had a
beautiful 6,000 foot ski down to Bunny Flat with about 2,000 feet of perfect
corn snow. It was a great mini expedition for us both. Next up is this
wonderful expedition with my son Denali, 23 years of age, heading towards his
name sake, Denali. It has been several years since I was on it, being called
to the Himalaya and other mountains for the past 8 years. Now being back in
Alaska is very special with my son, visiting good friends and training on the
rock and running trails of the past. Anchorage is so beautiful and active, has
been and will be forever more. For Denali to
see this land and it's people for the first time will move him in ways never
felt before. He just saw his first moose in the wild. The midnight sun is
creeping upon us more and more with each second, approaching the climax on the
20th of June, the summer solstice and having close to 24 hours of light to
climb and ski in. No headlamps needed on Denali.
Our plan is to have our 26 days of food, fuel and gear with us on the Kahiltna,
heading off to the West Buttress to 14,200 feet to acclimatize. From here we
will look at the upper West Rib, checking out the snow conditions and a ski
descent... it is all about the snow conditions and weather to make these
experiences happen. From there a few other options will be revealed for us
always making sure to have safety under our feet and skis.
Thanks to Gavin, Daan and the Macpac gang for their support and enthusiasm
towards making the best gear on this earth. I just received yesterday the
special single wall two person tent that needs to be tested on the slopes of
Denali. We'll also put to test the new 3 person Plateau tent. Denali is the
intense mountain that will put all gear on the edge. Looking forward to these
Unfortunately Denali has already had a few deaths, I say this in my dispatch
to confirm that the world news has already spoken about this. What we can let
you know now is that we are aware of this, can only send out our condolences
to the families, be fully prepared for our routes to climb and ski and know
when to move, sit or turn around. We will be in touch with our Sat Phone
through Daan and Macpac with our dispatches. Try to send them in every 2-3
days so that you can be apart of our climb. Looking forward to flying into the
Kahiltna Glacier in the next few days. All the best and we'll be in touch.
Marty and Denali
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