Monday, May 30, 2011

In Anchorage

Wes and Curtis got into Anchorage at about 11:30 a.m. They spent the day resting and going through their gear. They've got the tent set up in the room. They are trying to dry everything out before packing it up to go home. Tomorrow Wes plans to have a little adventure and go white water rafting. He will be driving to a small town called Hope about an hour from Anchorage. He is going to go rafting with a company called Nova. The tour will be about four and a half hours long. There is a section on the tour that is called 6 Mile Creek where the rapids are Class III to V. Right now they are enjoying dinner at Club Paris.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

One more update

So, due to the satellite phone cutting in and out this morning I misheard some information. To clarify, the guys did not get into Base Camp last night at 8:02 p.m. They got in this MORNING at 8:02 a.m. They were then flown off at 9:00 a.m. So they basically climbed for about 17 hours to get from High Camp to Base Camp. They did take a three hour break at 11,000 to eat and rest. Wes said that while climbing through the night it really never got fully dark. He took off his sunglasses at 11 pm but put them back on by 5:30 am.

Wes said Talkeetna feels almost hot! It is maybe 70 degrees. It is very lush and green.

Both Curtis and Wes will be leaving Talkeetna tomorrow morning at 8:00 a.m. on the Denali Overland shuttle. Curtis decided to go back to Anchorage tomorrow, too. The guys will spend the night at the Historic Anchorage Inn. The earliest flights they could get are on Wednesday so both will be home Wednesday night!

Back in Talkeetna

The guys are safe and sound in Talkeetna. They just arrived about an hour ago. Yesterday they left High Camp at about 3:00 p.m. They went down to 14,000 and dug out their cache. They then climbed down to about 11,000 feet and rested for a while. They made water and cooked up some food. Since their systems were replenished and they felt good they decided to head all the way down to Base Camp. They pulled in to Base Camp at 8:02 p.m. They spent the night there. This morning the owner of Sheldon Air, Dave, was there and said he could fly the guys off the mountain. They are now at the Roadhouse where there are some bunks and showers at the back of the restaurant. They are going to get cleaned up and enjoy a shower for the first time in weeks. I guess the rest of the day they will just hang out in Talkeetna. Tonight they are going to stay at one of the hostels there. Wes is going to go talk to the shuttle service Denali Overland and see if he can get a ride back to Anchorage tomorrow. Curtis plans to spend a few more days in Talkeetna. Wes is hoping to fly out of Anchorage on Tuesday.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Resting at High Camp

The guys are safely back at High Camp and are trying to get a lot of fluid in them. They did not get back to camp until 1:30 am. Coming down was an adventure. Apparently they got stuck behind a Mountain Trip group going up to the summit and then coming down the guys were accused by this same group of stealing their carabiners. Coming down Denali Pass not all of the pickets had carabiners for some reason. Since the guys were in front of this group they got accused of stealing the carabiners. Curtis would put one of his carabiners in the picket and then when Wes got to that point he would pick it up and they would continue down the Pass that way. Anyway, the group behind them ended up falling on Denali Pass. Luckily they did not get hurt. However, Wes and Curtis ended up climbing back up to the top of Denali Pass to try and help the group. Once back in camp they could hear the guides talking about Wes and Curtis (not nicely), still going on about the carabiners.

Three nights ago a group from Alpine Ascents decided to go for the summit at 6:30 p.m. The weather was decent at that time. At midnight the weather turned. The group was trying to get down Denali Pass. Apparently there are two routes to go down. The original route was not picketed. The new route for this season had the pickets on it. The guide ended up take the old route by mistake. The team of four fell 1,500 feet down Denali Pass. One climber and the guide died. Another climber was critically injured. A helicopter came in at 5:30 a.m. at High Camp to rescue the climber. Wes said it was pretty amazing that a helicopter was able to get in to High Camp because the weather was really bad. The last climber ended up without a scratch. Each time Wes climbs it is always an epic adventure - all this turmoil going on around him but he still manages to be safe and unhurt.

Today the plan is to head down to 14,000, pick up their cache, and then head down to Camp I at 7,800 feet. They will the rest and hopefully fly off the mountain tomorrow.

Friday, May 27, 2011


Wes and Curtis are currently on the summit of Denali (8:30 p.m. Alaska time). Great weather, sun is still out, no wind. They already took their "trophy" shots with the summit marker. Started their climb this morning at 10:20 a.m. Took a long time to get up there because they got behind some slow groups. However, they weren't in any hurry since the weather was so nice. Congrats to Wes and Curtis!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Enjoying 17,000

Wes and Curtis are still at High Camp. Yesterday they spent the day cutting blocks for their ice walls and visiting people around camp. Talked to the Army Rangers again and their new friends Max and Jason. The winds were about 25 mph so they didn't want to chance going for the summit. Today it was better but they decided not to go for the summit because the winds were still blowing. Also neither of them slept that well last night so thought it would be better to rest and acclimate another day. It has been about -5 degrees for the high during the day and about -15 degrees at night. They spent today making a double wall around their campsite to help protect them even more from the winds. Mike's group from RMI summited today so Wes was waiting for them with lots of hot water for them to drink when they got back into camp. The winds are supposed to be even lower tomorrow so the guys plan to make their summit attempt in the morning. That is, if they both feel well and the weather really does cooperate. They have a little bit of food and fuel left with them at High Camp. They have a cache down at 14,000 with a lot of food. They will pick up that cache once they are on their way down the mountain.

Monday, May 23, 2011

High Camp

Wes and Curtis made the move to High Camp today at about 17,300 feet. They got in about an hour ago (7:30 pm Alaska time) and Wes said they had about 2 to 3 hours of work to do to finish setting up camp. They need to build their ice walls - only have them halfway built. Then they need to start making water and eat dinner. Their camp is dug into the side of the mountain. They have connected their campsite with Mike Walter's group.

Wes was getting really antsy at Medical Base after being there for about a week. He said at 3 am this morning the wind had died down significantly so he started packing things up to make the move higher. The weather ended up being really nice today. It was a long day of climbing. They left Camp IV at about 1:30 p.m. so that they could climb after the crowd had left. However, they ended up catching up to the crowd on the head wall so it was slow going from there. There are a bunch of Army Rangers in camp. Apparently they were jealous because yesterday morning Wes was making pancakes and bacon for breakfast and the aroma kept wafting into their camp. They wanted those pancakes!

Currently there isn't any wind blowing. The guys can see a layer of clouds and the whole valley below them.

Tomorrow the wind is supposed to be only about 20 mph. It may be a good day to go for the summit. On Wednesday the wind is supposed to pick up but only to about 35 mph. The guys will see how well they feel tomorrow morning and then will decide if they will go for the summit. Otherwise they may acclimate another day before their attempt.