Thursday, April 28, 2011

Denali Team 1: May 1 - May 21 Dispatch #2

Guides: Kurt Hicks, Dan Otter, Aili Farquhar

Climbers: Izabela Smolokowska (Warsaw, Poland), James Haydock (Dublin, Ireland), Ardeshir Yaftebbi, Iwan Irawan, Fajri Al Luthfi, Martin Rimbawan, Popo Fajar Sidik, and Nurhuda (all from Indonesia).

Kurt called with a dispatch at 11:00AM Pacific Time:

"Hello from the Kahiltna glacier!  I am standing outside the cook tent after a delicious breakfast and there isn't a cloud in the sky!  You probably want to know how I got here though, so here's what happened yesterday.

Aili working with a member of the Indonesian Seven Summits team as they perform an equipment check. Photo: Kurt Hicks
We finished all our last minute shopping in Anchorage yesterday, and drove on up to Talkeetna, AK.  Once there, we had our mountaineering orientation with the National Park Service, and were lucky enough to have Coley Gentzel as our Park Ranger!  Coley is a former American Alpine Institute guide and Alaska Programs Coordinator, so it was great to see him again! 

After the meeting, we headed over the K2 Aviation to wait for our opportunity to fly in.  Aili flew in first with all of our gear at around 3pm.  Once at base camp, she got to unloading all of our equipment as Dan Otter and I loaded up with the team on another plane.  Once we arrived, Aili jumped right back on the plane to fly out, as she will be meeting the rest of our climbing team in just a few days.

21+ days worth of food for 8 climbers and 3 guides! Photo: Kurt Hicks

By the time we flew in, it was already 6:00PM and so we got to building camp, cooking dinner, and enjoying the view.  We had beautiful weather on the flight in, nearly cloudless.  Such a cloudless night though led to an extremely cold morning!  The temperatures at base camp dropped to -10F, and so we got an early taste of what this mountain is all about.

The Indonesian Seven Summits Team and AAI Guides in Anchorage. Photo: Kurt Hicks
The plan for today is to go over roping up and crevasse rescue, use of snowshoes, and winter camping.  We will probably camp in base camp again tonight, before thinking about moving around the glacier and potentially putting in a cache in anticipation of our climb.  We will try and call you guys again tonight!"

We are excited that Kurt, Dan, and the team are all on the glacier with beautiful weather.  I can only imagine it looks something similar to a photo I snapped last year, which I will leave you Denali hopefuls with - to stoke your excitement!

A typical base camp scene.  Photo: Andrew Yasso


Johannes said...

Dan and the rest of the team.
just checked your dispatch.
It is good to hear that you had a good start.
Keep us posted.

Love, Dad

Magda said...

Izunia, I keep my fingers crossed for you, Hug tight, I wish you strength and perseverance. Securitate