Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Denali Team 1: April 29 to May 19 - Final Dispatch


Guides: Alasdair Turner, Chad Cochran, Aili Farquhar

Climbers: Maria Conceicao (Dubai), Stephen Martin (UK), Christopher Kulish (Colorado), Zlatko Filipovic (Sweden), Steve Bain (Colorado),  Christopher Heywood (Oman), Sergey Dmitriev (Russia), Vitaly Simonovich (Russia)


Alasdair called from Talkeetna at 2:00 Pacific time.  His team is safely off the glacier and taking a well-earned rest after, as he put it, “the coldest expedition I’ve ever been on.”

“We stayed the night with Mike Pond’s group at 11 Camp before descending the rest of the way to the airstrip… we arrived and got a plane almost immediately.  A nice flight out of the range.

“We never got above 14, but in the end I think we made the best moves possible in a game that turned out to be unwinnable.  The weather was just too severe.  No large parties have summited yet this year, and the only party that may have summited  -- it’s not clear yet if they actually reached the summit -- will probably be losing a foot to frostbite.

“The second day after we reached 14 was the crux decision … a classic expedition chess game situation.  The weather was holding but the signs were unambiguous … lenticulars forming on all the summits, shifting winds.  Other teams were caching at 16 and I felt a lot of pressure to do the same, but we reluctantly decided to fortify the camp instead.  Then the next day the weather turned.  It stormed for days.  Several other parties had cached their food and fuel up high and were left stranded.  They began heading down a couple days later.  Our decision not to cache bought us 4 more days.  In the end, that wasn’t enough, but I feel satisfied that we played our hand well.”

Good work, Team 1.

3 comments:

Audrey Martin(Scotland) said...

Well done team 1 and thank you for coming home safe and sound, audrey & stephen's girlsx

Anonymous said...

Well done Maria... We are all so proud of you. And we are glad that you are safe. See you soon back in Dubai. love and light Fran├žoise

Anonymous said...

Dear maria,
Hope you are doing well going up the mountain. I know that it is hard for
you. I don't mean to disturb you as I know you are going through difficult
training.
As you already know our school team has won Scholar's Cup in Dubai round
and we are eligible for the World round. It is now the time to give an
answer to
school if I can join my team to go for the World round in Bangkok on 20-25
June. My teacher is asking me if I will be able to travel with the team (3
of
us) and she needs the answer very soon. I have emailed Mrs. Francoise the
letter from the school and also the permission letter from my parents,
which they can sign again after she adds some comments. Everyone is
supporting this and I am sure we can find a solution for the funds.
I would like to know and pass your answer to the school whether I can be
allowed to make this trip. I have worked so hard for this and I want to go.
Have a safe climb and hope you will answer as soon as you can because we
are all waiting for your answer.
Thank you
Bilkis