Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Denali Team 4 - Dispatch #9

Denali Team 4: May 30-June 19, 2010

Guides: Dylan Taylor, Jeremy Ellison, Tom Kirby

Climbers: Paul Hameister, Martin Perry, Tim Myall, Andy Sweet, Brian Plaugher, Dimitri Nichiporov, Respicius Baitwa, Jay Jackson, and Siggi Soleyiarson

Dylan called with the following update:

The weather has not been very good on the mountain, and the team has been playing a waiting game at 14,000 feet to see if a window of opportunity develops. On Monday the forecast was for a new low pressure system to reach the mountain Monday night or Tuesday morning bringing with it winds to 50 mph and an estimated 5 inches of snow. Because the wind accelerates when it hits the West Buttress and rises up to pass over the ridge that forms the top of the West Buttress, the winds in that location are normally always higher than the estimates in forecasts. High camp is located at 17,200 feet on the top of the West Buttress.

Because of the anticipated storm, they climbed the Buttress on Monday, going all the way to 17,200 to retrieve some food supplies left for them by a previous expedition as well as to empty the cache of gear and food they had previously left for themselves at 16,000 not far from the top of the fixed lines. The plan accomplished several things: 1) it got gear off the mountain that they might not be able to retrieve later, depending on the severity and duration of the storm; 2) it gave the team additional food supplies in case they are delayed on the mountain; and 3) it gave everyone a chance to climb to 17,200 feet (a high point for a number of people on the team) and see the lay of the land high on Denali, in case they don't make it back up there this week.

If the weather remains poor, they will begin their descent either tomorrow or Friday. We will post more news as soon as we hear of their plan.

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