We spent 27 days on Denali just taking a cruising time to climb it. Got to 17,000 ft High Camp, but due to frostnip on one of Christi's toes, we decided to call it done and so headed down. It was good fun at a leisurely pace.
Day 1, May 30th: Christi is still fresh and clean, and in good spirits. Let's see how long that'll last! :-)
Taking off from Talkeetna for our "camping trip" on Denali for a month.
Day 2: Still in good spirits. Here we go! We knew we were going to just cruise it. Afterall, we really didn't do anything (working out wise) to prepare for Denali. We figured that we'd get in shape by hauling 110 lbs each up to 14,000 ft camp. THAT would be our work-out.
We hiked over the 5-mile crevasse field during a storm with visibility of only a hundred feet or so. It was hard. Two semi-blind people! We could barely see where we were going, and this was over open crevasses. Christi fell in a couple of times. The following day to 9600 ft camp was worse. Worse storm. Unfortunately no footage of that since we were both pretty stressed. However, the day after, to 11,000 ft camp, the weather was awesome. Video of that.
We were stuck at 11,000 ft camp for 7 days due to storms. We couldn't go higher because we just couldn't see. So we hunkered down and just made the most out of it until we got a good weather day. Here's a view at 1 AM.
Traffic on Denali! Motorcycle Hill just out of 11,000 ft camp. We could see people going up, and we tried going up; but I just couldn't see to lead, and Christi couldn't either. So we had to return to camp and wait. Just wait.
Video of camp life at 11,000 ft camp. Bad weather.
Weather continues. After 7 days, we managed to get a good day and so we finally made it to 14,000 ft Basin Camp.
Here's Christi at the rocky area just below Windy Corner on our way to 14,000 ft Basin Camp. Beautiful time.
Life at 14,000 ft Camp. Christi's in her -15F down sleeping bag stuffed inside a -40F synthetic life. We were definitely comfortable and toasty.
Christi in the kitchen. "Grrr, Grrr," I grunted, "Me hungry. Want food. Grrr, Grrr."
A bad hair day... or bad hair week ...or bad hair month!
And then we finally got our lazy butts out and started up. We are just about at the West Buttress Headwall some 16,000 ft. Photo is of a guided group behind us and the 14,000 ft Basin Camp below.
Christi moving up the headwall's fixed lines. Don't want to slip and fall here!
Above the headwall. On the ridge to 17,000 ft high camp. Either side is bad to fall on. Drops of 3,000 ft or more! Here's Christi with Mt. Foraker (some 18k ft) and the Kahiltna Glacier below. That's the glacier we had traversed along to get up to the 14,000 ft Basin Camp.
Christi taking a break just before Washburn's Thumb at some 16,500 ft (I don't know, just guessing). In red circle are two climbers.
At the base of Washburn's Thumb. "Come on, you can do it!" Reply: "But I don't want to!"
Up higher on the ridge almost at the 17,000 ft High Camp. View was awesome! You can see the clouds being stuck on one side of the mountain range.
Weather at 17,000 ft High Camp was bad -- high winds, super cold, and low visibility. Christi got frost-nip on one of her toes, so we called it a day and went down. Here we are going down with the views below.
Almost 4 weeks later, the crevasses below on the Kahiltna Glacier opened up more. It was scary, as if they wanted to gobble us up! We joined forces with a team from Taiwan so as to have more help in case anyone fell into the crevasses. We all fell in a couple of times. The Taiwanese were sponsored climbers, so they knew their stuff! Good thing, too, cuz it really helped getting us all back to the 7200 ft camp where the planes fly onto.
At the 7200 ft camp (Kahiltna International Airport), everyone there ended up waiting four days until the weather cleared up enough for planes to pick us up. Here I am commentating.
Day 27: 4 days waiting for planes. Was going crazy. Had M&Ms, and so made use of empty time.
Finally, at 8 PM, the weather cleared up enough to take us out.
The flight out. Notice the bumpy ride as we take off from the glacier.
We were off the mountain, and then the drive back down to the Lower 48's. Here are buffaloes, our van breaking down and a tow, and a beautiful sunset at a rest area somewhere in the middle of Canada.