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May 26: Mt. St. Elias Update

Tauru and his team spent nearly a month on one of the most challenging mountains, encountering severe weather, horrible conditions, terrifying encounters and an all around excellent time. Though they didn't reach the summit, this trip will surely be one they remember forever.



May 20, 2009 - Final Update from St. Elias:

Thanks everyone for your comments and support. Our team did not reach the summit of St. Elias. We encountered a highly volatile snow-pack at 12,000 ft. That combined with pour weather for the following four days left us tent bound and low on food supplies. On the 13th of May we decided it best to start descending the mountain.

Taylor and Dave skied and snowboarded from 10,500 while Tauru and Steve downclimbed. The weight was tremendous and descent brought on troubles of its own. Dave lost his edge on a 55` slope with a heavy pack and took a scary ride down 200 ft of vertical but managed to regain control. Tauru and Steve were lost in a white out for 24 hours and had to bivy on the shale ridge while Dave and Taylor listened to desperate shouting from 2000 ft below. Tauru took a 40 ft fall on the shale ridge that re-invigorated his zeal for life. After that Tauru and Steve took a day of rest and recuperation while Dave and Taylor spend the day making turns around 4,000 ft.

Two more days of going up and down ridges brought us to the top the alder tree line. Finding our original route up to filled in we were forced to down climb a very steep creek running over low quality mudstone. Multiple rappels down water falls and slips into wet cold water left the team exhausted upon reaching sea level at the Taan Fjord.

Our pick up from the good folks at the icy bay lodge could not be completed because of thick ice pack in the bay. The team was forced to hike 12 miles of beach line dragging sleds and navigating through bear infested alder to reach a possible pick up spot. On the morning of the 20th a sat phone call was made to George and Jill and we saw the landing craft weaving through the ice hours later. Our friend on the radio and the water had reached us. We had about a day and a half of food remaining and were highly fatigued. Stepping onto the boat ended our time on the flanks of St. Elias; the feeling of relief was enormous.

We took the best showers of our lives at the Icy Bay Lodge and enjoyed food and drink with the amazingly helpful and friendly people that provided communication with us during our time on the mountain. Today we sail for Valdez excited for new adventures. Thanks to Colin, George, Jill, John, Les, Jody, Michelle and Sara and all the other people we met along the way that donated their help and information.

Resolute Team signing out


Update May 23: We made it through the 48-hr run through the Gulf of Alaska and are now in Valdez, AK where the team will go its separate ways and make it back home.


Steve gives Marky-Mark a run for his money as he crosses the stream on the approach.


Dave getting gnarly at 10,000-ft.


A camp on the approach with Mt. St. Elias looming in the background.


Taylor says, “Welcome to MY igloo.”


Tauru with the Wig while packing food for the upper mountain.


Finally at sea-level, the team is beaten from downclimbing alders, waterfalls, and cliffs.



May 25, 2009: Tauru decides to hitchhike from Valdez, AK all the way back down to Phoenix. His old wandering ways have returned; his ultimate quest to "find Tauru" has been fulfilled. This would make Dean Moriarty proud.


But would you pick up this guy off the side of the road???




BACK TO TOP


2009

2009


January
  • 26: Back in Phoenix, AZ

    February
  • Not much, no update

    March
  • 31: Fun Times (J-Tree & Mt. Whitney)

    April
  • 8: Sailing up to Alaska
  • 23: Made it to Icy Bay
  • 30: In The Tian Fjord

    May
  • 21: Christi Goes Climbing
  • 26: Mt. St. Elias Update

    June
  • 1: Hitch Hiking The Al-Can
  • 9: Tauru Back to Phoenix

    July
  • 1: The Ride Across America Plan
  • 23: California to Arizona

    August
  • Month: Colorado to Tennessee

    September
  • Month: Made to the Atlantic Ocean
  • Month: Summary of Ride Across America
  • PDF Summary of Ride

    October
  • 16: Kathi's Birthday Party

    November
  • Month: Thanksgiving in J-Tree

    December
  • 19: House Warming & Birthday