Big thanks to Deejo for the 15 and 27 Gram Titanium knives they sent for the Denali Climbing team! I have been carrying one of these for a few years and they are fantastic knives and incredibly light.
Check them out at http://www.deejo.fr
Denali is considered the classic American mountain, and I got the idea a while back that I would like to climb it with a classic wooden ice axe.
So I set about to find an extra long wooden ice axe ( I am 6’3″ tall), and when I finally did, had it engraved with “Denali, Alaska 2014” on one side and “Robert Danger Byrd” on the other. It is considerably heavier than the modern aluminum ice axe I typically climb with, but I will carry it proudly and try real hard to make it in 2014.
It was not easy finding an engraver willing to touch this project, but Lloyd at www.engraveithouston.com did the engraving work with one of his big lasers and far exceeded my expectations.
We are safely down the mountain!
The first 2,000k feet of descent were harrowing as I could not see my feet. Partly on account of the whiteout conditions, and partly my fogged goggles. I simply followed the orange blur [fellow climbers pack] in front of me and hoped he knew where he was headed.
Once we dropped below the storm, things improved considerably and I switched to my Julbo glacier glasses and could finally see. Visibility restored I was awed with the fierce beauty of the storm shrouded mountain.
Having never camped in anything worse than a summer rain, this was a rich experience which taught me a lot about myself, my gear and Mother Nature.
Didn’t think it could get worse, but I was wrong. It is like a tornado with ice. Any exposed skin gets blasted w freezing ice crystals.
Don’t have the provisions to wait out storm so we are heading down in the next hour or so.
Weather report indicates a system moving in with 100MPH winds. Last temperature reading was 11.5 degrees without wind chill.
Planning to fight our way down tomorrow, if not we could be stuck here for days.
Weather still worsening, perfect Denali preperation.
I’ve had a lot to worry about, but work has not been one of them. Thanks Truewater team, you are all my heroes!
Static temperature is 14 degrees. According to be guides wind is gusting to 50mph. With the estimated winds this makes the temp -11 with wind chill factored in.
we are staying put hope for beter conditions tomorrow.
Cold is zapping my batteries and the storm prevents use of my Goal Zero solar panel. I’ll try and conserve but may not be able to make many more updates.
My first blizzard! Can’t see, snow feels like shotgun pellets and the wind knocks you down. We are dug in at Camp Muir in a storm bunker for now.
Expecting worse weather tomorrow.
Took some spectacular photos while hanging off the edge of Ingraham Glacier. Yes I jumped , you know my middle name right?
More bad weather is headed our way.
due to the heavy winter snow, we could not find an open crevasse for practice, so we moved to edge of glacier where it breaks off in the icefall zone also known as a “Sera “.
Perfect 100+ ft vertical drop here. Setting anchors now.
Fought our way up to Ingraham Glacier through deep powder. Great for skiing, not so much for climbing. The glacier looks much different from my summer visit with all of the gaping crevasses coverd in snow. This is one of the coolest place I have ever camped, exceeded only by Big Meadow during my Gannet Peak climb in Wyoming.
It is truly majestic here!
Heading up to Ingraham Glacier for crevasses to jump in for rescue practice. I camped there on summer climb and it is laced with them. See pics on Rainer pg
I was so tired this evening that I fell asleep with my legs half in my unzipped bag with my parka still on. I woke up scorching up top and freezing below.
Gotta work on follow through.
Made Camp Muir and it was quite challenging with the heavy pack and sled. The evacuated climber set us back. Another climber is sick, not sure what will happen with him.
It’s cold, icy and very, very windy here. Need a warmer sleeping bag.
About halfway there, it’s a steep incline [1000ft/mi] through powder and getting very windy. Dragging the heavy sled in these conditions is difficult.
Just lost our first climber to exhaustion.
Big day ahead!
Moving out now for Camp Muir.
My cough is 100% gone and I’m feeling strong. Weather is still clear, will move up to Muir tomorrow which is a 4K push.
I posted a reference point for Camp Muir to the tracking map.
Another clear sunny day, all my gear is finally dry. If the good weather holds we will push higher to Camp Muir tomorrow.
Summit is possible, but not likely