Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Denali Team 5 - Dispatch #17

Denali Team 5: June 13-July 3

Guides: Paul Ivaska, Richard Riquelme, Kristen Looper
Apprentice: Andrew Yasso

Climbers: Walt, Ann, and Luke Hampton (Canton, Connecticut), Caitraiona Strain (Burnfoot, Ireland). Brendan McDyer (Glenties, Ireland) Skye O'Donnell (Sydney, Australia), Colin Stalnecker (Chicago, Illinois), Ryan Derrigan (Rickmansworth, England), and Stephen Williams (Oxon, United Kingdom)

Andrew called at 4:00pm Pacific Time with the following dispatch:

Andrew did not sound like his spunky self on the call. They left camp at 9pm last night and arrived at the airstrip at 7:30am. They are still waiting for a flight to break through the clouds and to take them out.

Andrew sounded tired...

"Yesterday we got to 14 and ate everything we could find," he said. "We had two breakfasts, a big lunch of quesidallas and cheese bagels. And then we got out of there."

The team moved relatively well down to the lower glacier and then things really slowed down. The glacier was a soupy mess and a number of people found hidden crevasses. Many climbers had a foot blow through, but a couple of people went in to their waists. Nobody went in over their head.

When the team got to the airstrip, everybody was so excited that nobody really wanted to relax. It was clear that there wouldn't be a flight for awhile, so they played a very competitive game of "Throw-the-Snowball-at-the-Shovel."

But then it got tiring...and it became clear that no planes would be in for a long while as the weather wasn't perfect...

"It's nice here at the airstrip," Andrew sighed. "But I guess it's raining in Talkeetna and nobody's flying. Basecamp Lisa (the base camp flight manager) says that their hoping to get some flights in later this afternoon, but we'll see."

I asked Andrew how everyone was doing and he said, "it looks like a war zone here. Everybody is passed out in their sleds or on top of their duffles. It'll be good to get out of here and eat some real food."

The phone started to break up at this point, but I caught one more sentence. "Denali wanted to remind us that weather is everything. I hope we get out of here pretty soon--"

And then the phone was cut off...


John and Jess said...

I feel like I'm reading an adventure story! The suspense! I hope everyone is ok, and I'm glad they made it to base camp! Andrew we are looking forward to you getting home safe-and a phone call of your adventures! Love you-Jess and John

rowingmum said...

Hi Steve and Team 5 - So glad all safely back at the airstrip - hope the planes come in soon. Where are Starbucks and MacD's when you need them!! Speak soon Steve. LOL Mum & Dad xx

Katie Bradfield said...

Steve – hope you are well & can get a flight soon. Keep warm & safe. Lots of love & a big hug! Katie xx