Friday, December 28, 2018

2018 Ecuador Cotopaxi Skills Expedition (December 21 - 30, 2018) Dispatch 1

Ecuador High Altitude Trip Report 

Guide: Freddy Tipan

Climbers: 
Shelby Denton, Karen Thiang, Jonathan Thiang, Irena Badelska, Pilar Malim, Quinn Montgomery, Alberto Taylor, Kathleen Witte, Christopher Barton

Day 1 - 

12/22: After meeting the group at the hotel, we reviewed the trip itinerary and then discussed how each climb would be conducted. Everyone was very excited about our coming adventures, and I could tell that we had a great team to climb together.

After that, we did a thorough gear check to make sure every climber had everything for the
mountains. There were a few questions, but basically, everyone did a great job with the
equipment list we had provided and came very well prepared.

Once we finished the gear check, we headed to Quito's old town to visit the churches,
museums, and a local market there. It felt good to be out walking at 9500 feet (the city’s average altitude) and gaining some active acclimatization. Everyone enjoyed the initial cultural insights we shared and discussed in our first time exploring together.

Day 2 -
12/23: We met the group at 8:00am and after a hearty breakfast, we jumped our private small bus and drove for about an hour-and-a-half south to the volcano Pasochoa. It took us
about three hours going up, and we all reached the summit together in the early afternoon. The day was partially cloudy but we had some views and definitely a very successful
acclimatization hike to get us ready for the high peaks. It was a fun day together.

Day 3
 -

12/24: After a great breakfast at Reina Isabel Hotel, we drove for about 20 minutes to the base of the gondola that takes people out of Quito and a good part of the way up the peak Rucu Pichincha. We jumped in the cable cars and got to 13,000 feet where we started our hike. After three hours hiking sometimes on dirt and sometimes on a greasy path, we reached the summit of Rucu Pichincha at 15,413 feet. After enjoying the summit, we hiked down to the parking lot where our private transportation picked us up to drive us north to Hacienda Guachala, an old and cozy hacienda built in the 1500s.

Day 4 - 
12/25: After a good night’s sleep at the hacienda and another delicious breakfast, we drove part way up the flank of Cayambe to reach the hut which served as our base for the ascent. The hut is at 15,400 feet, so it’s about the elevation that we hiked to the day before. We had some lunch and then went for an acclimatization hike, reaching about 16,000 feet. Each team member was adjusting well during each day of the itinerary.
Day 5 -

12/26: After a “fortifying high altitude breakfast,” we headed to the glacier for our glacier training. Although the weather was not cooperating, our team members were very motivated to work on the climbing skills. Some were new and some were for review. We worked on the glacier through the morning and headed back to the hut to make an early dinner and an early arrival into our bunks as we prepared for our climb the next morning.

Day 6 - 

12/27: We got up early and started our summit climb at midnight. It was clear that everybody was ready to give their best. The weather was still poor, but our motivation was very high.

Despite all of the wind, we made it to the beginning of the glacier without a problem and there put on our crampons and roped up. We went at a moderate pace but kept climbing strongly and steadily. In the end, five of our climbers made it all to the 18,996-foot summit of Cayambe, while four of them decided to turn back from high on the peak because of the weather conditions. Everyone was pleased by what they had accomplished under challenging conditions.

After summiting, we descended to the hut for a short rest and some food, and then drove back to Hacienda Guachala where we had a great celebration dinner.

Day 7 - 
12/28: Today is our rest day, and we are heading to a lodge near Cotopaxi, our next big peak. Of course today we are enjoying the sun! Crazy timing for the weather, but we are not complaining – it is so beautiful here! We are very happy about our success and are now looking forward to Cotopaxi and following that climb, to Chimborazo.


Sunday, December 23, 2018

2018 Aconcagua Upper Guanacos Expedition - Team 1 (Dec 10 - 31, 2018) - Dispatch 14


Guide:

Tad McCrea

Climbers:

Jennifer Jolliffe
Shelby Clippard
Michael Abel

From AAI lead guide Tad McCrea:

Wind was the name of the game on the lower mountain, and without our trusty hilliberg tents we would have been demolished... however, we awoke to a clear and windless morning today, the 23rd. We departed camp at 4:45 this morning and began our march up the mountain. We kept a a good pace and timed the sun at independencia perfectly. A fter exercising all of the teams perseverance and fortitude we made  it to the top of the America’s just before 2pm. We enjoyed an hour on the windless summit making new friends with other climbers from  around the world. At 3pm we busted back down the canaleta before t he evenings snow and whiteout made for an all encompassing 5star da y! We made good time descending through the thick fog and arrived back at high camp just after six. We had phenomenal forcasting  this trip. This and our fitness and allowed for us to strategise a nd put ourselves in position for the summit in a harsh year on Aconcagua. Until last week only three people had summited the mountain.

Saturday, December 22, 2018

2018 Aconcagua Upper Guanacos Expedition - Team 1 (Dec 10 - 31, 2018) - Dispatch 13


Guide:

Tad McCrea

Climbers:

Jennifer Jolliffe
Shelby Clippard
Michael Abel

From AAI lead guide Tad McCrea:

We waited till the sun hit our tents today before packing up and taking off for high camp just after 11 am. We moved up with heavy loads and arrived at Camp at 3 pm, 12 hours before we will head up for the summit tomorrow. We are resting and recovering right now biding our time, respecting our calories and carbohydrates. Tomorrow boasts the lowest projected winds yet this season, and they are forecasted to pick up by the end of the 24th. Tomorrow is our day,  and we are ready! We will report back tomorrow evening after our summit bid.

Friday, December 21, 2018

2018 Aconcagua Upper Guanacos Expedition - Team 1 (Dec 10 - 31, 2018) - Dispatch 12

Guide:

Tad McCrea

Climbers:

Jennifer Jolliffe
Shelby Clippard
Michael Abel

From AAI lead guide Tad McCrea:

After a couple of blustery days moving up the mountain, the team enjoyed a rest day today at Guanacos Camp 3 (18,000ft). We plan to leave for Camp 4 (19,300ft) tomorrow at 11 am. The team feels healthy and strong. If nothing changes in our health or the forecast we plan to go for the summit on the 23rd, the day after tomorrow. Today we deliberated over freeze dried meals. Not only which are the tastiest, but also which provide the best marketing blurb regarding flavor. We look forward to proper Argentine cuisine on the other side of the mountain. Ciao!

Thursday, December 20, 2018

2018 Aconcagua Upper Guanacos Expedition - Team 1 (Dec 10 - 31, 2018) - Dispatch 11

Guide:

Tad McCrea

Climbers:

Jennifer Jolliffe
Shelby Clippard
Michael Abel

From AAI lead guide Tad McCrea:

The team fought through some pretty gnarly winds last night clocking in at at least 80mph out of the west that lasted till the early morning. We had a couple guy lines bust but the explosive electrical storm to the east coupled with the nearly full moon allowed us to mend the lines sans headlamps. We broke camp during a lull in the wind and powered up into the headwind to Guanacos Camp 3 (at roughly 18000ft). We took the afternoon to rest. It seems like the weather  is setting up for us in a couple days, as soon as the winds die down a bit.


Wednesday, December 19, 2018

2018 Aconcagua Upper Guanacos Expedition - Team 1 (Dec 10 - 31, 2018) - Dispatch 10

Guide:

Tad McCrea

Climbers:

Jennifer Jolliffe
Shelby Clippard
Michael Abel

From AAI lead guide Tad McCrea:

We packed up and carried a cache to Camp 2 (18,000ft). It took us a mere 3 hours, so we took a little nap before returning to Camp 1 (16,400ft) just before the evenings' wind and snow ramped up. The wind is blowing 60mph. We are hunkered down eating cheese and onion pizza, watching the Chapple Show on Netflix. Needless to say, the team is accommodating well to the harsh reality of the high mountains. We will see what tomorrow brings tomorrow!

2018 Aconcagua Upper Guanacos Expedition - Team 1 (Dec 10 - 31, 2018) - Dispatch 9


Guide:

Tad McCrea

Climbers:

Jennifer Jolliffe
Shelby Clippard
Michael Abel

From AAI lead guide Tad McCrea:

Today (Dec 18th) we sent our basecamp duffels down the hill with the mules, then packed our backpacks for the upper mountain and made it to camp just before the snow and wind came through for the evening. We made pizza and watched "Curb Your Enthusiasm" to aid our acclimatization. Tomorrow (Dec 19th), weather permitting we will carry a load to Camp 2 (18,000ft) and descend back to Camp 1 (16,400ft) to rest before continuing our push up the mountain.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

2018 Aconcagua Upper Guanacos Expedition - Team 1 (Dec 10 - 31, 2018) - Dispatch 8

Guide:

Tad McCrea

Climbers:

Jennifer Jolliffe
Shelby Clippard
Michael Abel

From AAI lead guide Tad McCrea:

The team enjoyed a solid rest day (yesterday Dec 17th) and feel confident and excited for the upper mountain. Today (Dec 18) we will pack up from BC (14,000) and make our way up the slopes to Camp 1 (16,400ft). We are expecting a little bit of snow later in the evening which will serve as a good test for our fortitude.

Sunday, December 16, 2018

2018 Aconcagua Upper Guanacos Expedition - Team 1 (Dec 10 - 31, 2018) - Dispatch 7


Guide:

Tad McCrea

Climbers:

Jennifer Jolliffe
Shelby Clippard
Michael Abel

From AAI lead guide Tad McCrea:

After our first real rest day, we were prepped for a carry and a day of acclimatization. After breakfast, we loaded up our packs with food and some high mountain supplies. We wove our way up and through moraine and Penitentes to the final steep snow slope leading to Camp 1 (16,400ft). We cached our kit and promptly made our way back to BC (14,000ft) just before the cold winds turned the snow to ice. We enjoyed some hearty shepherds pie for a well-earned dinner. Looks like some more high pressure on the way for some good move days up the mountain this week.

Saturday, December 15, 2018

2018 Aconcagua Upper Guanacos Expedition - Team 1 (Dec 10 - 31, 2018) - Dispatch 6

Guide:

Tad McCrea

Climbers:

Jennifer Jolliffe
Shelby Clippard
Michael Abel

From AAI lead guide Tad McCrea:

Today was the teams first rest day. We started the day with our medical check-up at the rangers headquarters in base camp. All of us appear to be in good health, and we will continue up the mountain as planned. Tomorrow morning we will carry some equipment and food up the mountain to Camp 1 (16,400ft) where we will select a campsite and make a cache before returning to BC (14,000ft). The mountain is still quite cold and snowy so it will be a good test for the rest of our climb, and help to prepare us for the elements.


Friday, December 14, 2018

2018 Aconcagua Upper Guanacos Expedition - Team 1 (Dec 10 - 31, 2018) - Dispatch 5


Guide:

Tad McCrea

Climbers:

Jennifer Jolliffe
Shelby Clippard
Michael Abel

From AAI lead guide Tad McCrea:

The team got an early morning wake up call crossing the river to the Relinchos Valley. After a cold and windy start, we wove our way up braided trails to Plaza Argentina (14,000ft) also known as Base Camp on Aconcagua. It is unseasonably cold up here at Base Camp, but we are looking forward to warmer weather and a full rest day tomorrow!

Thursday, December 13, 2018

2018 Aconcagua Upper Guanacos Expedition - Team 1 (Dec 10 - 31, 2018) - Dispatch 4

Guide:


Tad McCrea

Climbers:

Jennifer Jolliffe
Shelby Clippard
Michael Abel

From AAI lead guide Tad McCrea:


Another get day of trekking! We took off from pampa de lenas just before 10 and eith a nice little head wind, meandered our way up the Vacas valley to cas a del piedra. We ate some tasty roast chicken and prepped our kit for an early departure and frigid river crossing to put us on our way to Plaza Argentina tomorrow. The upper mountain has been getting doused with some pretty high winds, but with all of this sun, and continued high pressure we are in a good position for the summit when the time is right.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

2018 Aconcagua Upper Guanacos Expedition - Team 1 (Dec 10 - 31, 2018) - Dispatch 3

Guide:


Tad McCrea

Climbers:

Jennifer Jolliffe
Shelby Clippard
Michael Abel

From AAI lead guide Tad McCrea:

Today went pretty smoothly. We had one last breakfast in civilization before departing Penitentes at 11am. After checking in with the park service at the trailhead we casually trekked to Pampa de Lenas (9,330ft) in 5 hours. We were treated to an authentic gaucho asado with chorizo, roasted veggies and an amazing steak. Prepped for the “hunger to come” we are looking forward to another epic day of trekking in the Vacas Valley to Casa del Piedras and our first view of Aconcagua tomorrow. Thanks for tuning in sports fans!

2018 Aconcagua Upper Guanacos Expedition - Team 1 (Dec 10 - 31, 2018) - Dispatch 2

Guide:

Tad McCrea

Climbers:

Jennifer Jolliffe
Shelby Clippard
Michael Abel

Crew is thriving and doing well! We are scheduled to leave tomorrow morning at 11 for the trailhead. So far the team has peaked up the classic gringo hobby of empanada sampling, and eaten a collective Total of 30 empanadas! If we can keep this up in the mountain we will be a force to be reckoned with! We will spend tomorrow night in Pampa de Lena’s and enjoy a nice Assad’s with our gaucho arrieros. Until tomorrow!

-Tad and crew!


Tuesday, December 11, 2018

2018 Aconcagua Upper Guanacos Expedition - Team 1 (Dec 10 - 31, 2018) - Dispatch 1

Guide:

Tad McCrea

Climbers:

Jennifer Jolliffe
Shelby Clippard
Michael Abel

Hello all and welcome to the first dispatch of the AAI Aconcagua season. AAI lead guide Tad McCrea and this small, but experienced, group began their expedition yesterday with a thorough equipment check before dining at a local eatery. Today the group left for Penitentes where they will stay in a hotel and enjoy one last night "not in the mountains". A beautiful high-pressure system has graced the beginning of this expedition and the team wishes for a swift start to take advantage. Tomorrow they will make the trek to Papa de Lenas (9,330ft). Looking forward to hearing more from the team tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

2018 Ecuador Antisana Skills Expedition (October 5 - 14, 2018) Dispatch 1

Guide: Romel Sandoval

Climbers: Jim H. and Wade L. 


Romel called with the following reports:

Greetings from Ecuador!

We had an excellent acclimatization hike on Pasachoa (13,776') yesterday, and just now we completed our second acclimatization hike on Rucu Pichincha (15,413'). We had fairly cooperative weather, and despite some clouds, we didn't have any precipitation until we were just finishing our descent.

We are now traveling to the Illiniza area to get in position for our climb of Illiniza Sur. There is an international bike race here on the Pan-American Highway, so we are experiencing delays, but we will get there eventually!

Romel called again with the following update:

Hello again from the Andes!

Yesterday we made an attempt a steep face on Illiniza Sur (17,217'), but conditions were not very cooperative. After we were on the route, the weather got wet and we began finding very hard water ice. So we decide to call it got and instead retreat and climb Illiniza Norte (16,817'). After a little break, we made a quick push for the north summit and reached the top before noon.

Here is one of our team members Wade Lindley who would like to add to our dispatch:"

"Hi – this is Wade. I have the pleasure of reporting that I am feeling great down here in the high mountains! I'm from Mississippi where we are not much above sea level. so the adjustment to the altitude of Quito [9,350'] was very interesting. I haven't had any complications or illness from the altitude. I hear myself breathing differently, but I have been pleasantly surprised not to feel bad at all.

To recap the trip, I loved our time in Quito. It's a beautiful and intriguing city. I really like our hotel there and exploring Quito with Romel on our first full day was awesome. Walking around exploring was also a very good way to begin our acclimatization since Quito is so high!

The acclimatization hikes were more amazing than I expected. I figured they would be nice, but they were really beautiful, with interesting terrain and views on both of them.

I think Romel's climbing instruction has been excellent and his decision making on the Illinizas was great. I learned a lot and enjoyed learning some things about how he made decisions on the mountain.

I found the altitude pretty comfortable on the Illiniza climbs. I think it shows that our acclimatization in Quito and on the two hikes up Pasachoa and Pichincha really helped us a lot. During our ascents on the Illinizas, I felt very comfortable going up, but I could feel it a lot more on the way down. I understand from Romel that it's because we are working so much less on the descent – it's just a lot easier – so we tend to feel like we don't need to breathe as much. So we breathed less and then start feeling the altitude (slightly headache-y ). We have to remind ourselves to breath often and deeply on the way down, even though we aren't working hard. In general, though, I feel fully acclimatized to 17,000 feet,

Today we woke up to perfect views of Pichincha and the IIllinizas. It was a very relaxing morning, and now we are at the market in Saquisilí. It's lively and colorful and a lot of fun to be here. Quite a contrast to the mountains where we've been hiking and climbing this week.

It's great being here. Thanks for reading our update on the trip!"


Friday, August 3, 2018

2018 Ecuador Cotopaxi Skills Expedition and Chimborazo (July 20 - August 3, 2018) Dispatch 2



Guide: Franklin Varela

Climbers: John V., Max V., Christine G., Paul K., Courtney S., and Ben H.

Dispatch from Days 7 - 15:

Climber Paul Keating called this morning with the following report on his team's trip.

"Hello again for our team,

We are in the beautiful town of Baños where we've been resting and enjoying the lush setting - so different from the alpine areas where we've been climbing!

The food has been really good, and we've also enjoyed meeting quite a variety of international travelers in the numerous cafes here in town. There are a lot of cafes. So this has been a great way to finish the trip, very relaxing and invigorating.

We have had a wonderful time throughout this program, and I want to start by saying what an awesome job our guides Franklin and Pablo have done. Most of us have climbed with other guides before, and we would rank Franklin and Pablo among the best.

They have consistently gone above and beyond the traditional level of duty that guides take on. We've had good instruction, excellent advice on our gear, really good coaching on climbing technique during the ascents, and probably most important of all, consistently great encouragement during our climbs.

I'm seventy and got a good way up both Cotopaxi and Chimborazo, and Franklin was amazing in helping make the most of the climbs and enjoy myself. On Chimborazo, it was beautiful weather and after a good number of hours, I began running out of gas. His advice was how far I go doesn't really matter as much as enjoying the beauty of the mountain, the beauty of the day, and sharing the experiences with my new friends on this trip during and after the climbs. So I didn't summit Chimborazo, but he helped me enjoy one of my best climbing days ever. And I was very happy for my fellow climbers who did summit.

Backing up a little in our itinerary, we had some tough weather on Cotopaxi, with winds and graupel [snow pellets]. But people bundled up and stayed warm enough, and part of our team went all the way to the summit.

I have to say, the weather on Chimborazo was glorious and a wonderful way to finish our five hiking and climbing experiences here in Ecuador.

We had a wonderful time together, really enjoyed the climbs and the variety on these mountains, and also very much enjoyed the culture of Ecuador. Franklin did a great job providing us with a good understanding of the culture, including people's values and priorities and the basic characteristics of life at different economic levels of society. It was very interesting and certainly added to the richness of our experience here. I think it is fair to say we all came to love this beautiful country and really enjoy and appreciate its people.

I climbed with AAI in the European Alps 30 years ago with AAI and 20 years ago in Bolivia. Like this one, they were great trips. Thank for the excellent organization of all the trip details and thank you especially for the great guides. Many of us would classify this as a "trip of a lifetime." I'll look forward to providing more specific praises on my written program review.

We're heading back to Quito this afternoon where we'll have our final dinner together, and then we'll head home tomorrow. Thanks for everything!"

2018 Ecuador Cotopaxi Skills Expedition (July 20 - 29, 2018) Dispatch 1

Guide: Franklin Varela

Climbers: John V., Max V., Christine G., Paul K., Courtney S., and Ben H.

Dispatch from Days 1-6:

John Vlasto called and spoke with us this morning with great news about Cayambe:

“Good morning!

This is John. We’re calling to say we hope everyone up north is doing well and to let you know all of us down here are doing very well and to let you know we have some exciting news. Together we all climbed to the summit of Cayambe yesterday. It was not an easy climb and not a fast one because of the winds, but the weather was otherwise very good and every team member was incredibly persistent.

A few team members had some doubts about continuing when we were pretty high up on the mountain, but their drive combined with a lot of encouragement from their guides and teammates made it all happen.

We started early to get the lowest temperatures possible and good snow conditions on the glacier. We got up around 11:30 pm Tuesday night and started our approach to the glacier at 12:40 am yesterday morning.

It was a slow climb because of the wind. It was quite tiring. I think we took about nine-and-a-half hours for the ascent and three-and-a-half hours for the descent, and our excellent guide Franklin said that may have been a record slow speed! But we all had a laugh, and he added that our team was among the few that he had ever guided under such challenging conditions where every single team member made the summit. He said he believes the mutual support and encouragement made all the difference.

When we got back to the hut, people we extremely tired, so we had some food and rest before heading back down to beautiful Hacienda Guachala. Today would be our normal summit day according to our itinerary, but we moved it up a day because the weather report indicated there could be snowfall today.

So we have a day of rest and good food here at Guachala, and tomorrow we will have an easy day, driving south to Cotopaxi National Park, and then morning up into the mountains where we will stay at Tambopaxi Lodge.

We plan to make our attempt on Cotopaxi on Saturday, so we’ll call you Saturday night or sometime on Sunday. Talk to you soon!”



Tuesday, July 24, 2018

2018 Ecuador Cotopaxi Skills Expedition and Chimborazo Ascent (June 29 - July 9, 2018) Dispatch 2

Guide: Fredy Tipan

Climbers: Peter G., and Sean S.

Dispatch from Days 10-15:

Fredy called while the group was traveling from Chimborazo back to Quito. Fredy said:

"We had a fantastically successful trip, overall. The weather was great, for the most part, and we were able to summit Cotopaxi and Chimborazo!"

Fredy then put Peter on the phone with the following message:

"Everything about this trip has been absolutely wonderful. The weather has been fabulous.

We did have to turn around about 300 feet from the summit of Cayambe due to a bad snowpack. I believe Romel made a good call by having us turnaround and I felt very safe with all of the guides' decision making throughout the trip.

The summit of Cotopaxi was a bit windy, but otherwise a smooth climb. Our climbing day on Chimborazo was an absolute blue-bird day without any wind! We decided to stay the extra night near Chimborazo because the countryside is so beautiful and we wanted to spend more time near the glacier, so we did not go to Baños.

I want to tell everyone at home that Ecuador is a beautiful country to visit! The culture is fascinating and the countryside has more shades of green than I have ever seen in my life. I recommend everyone visits."




Thursday, July 5, 2018

2018 Ecuador Cotopaxi Skills Expedition and Chimborazo Ascent (June 29 - July 9, 2018) Dispatch 1

Guide: Fredy Tipan

Climbers: Peter G., Julie K., Irene D., Joshua H., and Sean S.

Dispatch from Days 1-4:

Fredy called on Monday, July 2nd (Day 4) with the following dispatch:

The group has just started their acclimatization process. Yesterday they climbed Pasochoa (4,199m/13,776 ft). The weather was cloudy and foggy, but that was actually nice because it kept the temperature cool throughout the hike.

Today they climbed Rucu Pichincha (4,697m/15,413 ft) with much better weather and the whole team made it to the summit to share in the amazing views of the surrounding volcanos.


Josh H. came on the phone to let us know his experience thus far:

"Everything so far has been absolutely wonderful! The weather has been very nice, I even enjoyed having a little fog hanging around yesterday because it kept the temperature quite cool for our first acclimatization hike.

My partner and I came to Quito a few days early and were so happy to find 3 amazing vegan restaurants within walking distance of the Hotel Reina Isabel. We've already gone to one of them so many times they know us by name!

The acclimatization so far has been great. I really appreciate the mix of experience on the team. My partner and I feel as though we have a lot to learn still, and the more experienced team members are more than happy to help us learn new skills!

We are off to Hacienda Guachala now. We are very excited for the upcoming skills day and climbs! Talk to you soon. "

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Denali West Buttress Expedition Team 7 (June 10 - June 30) Summit Dispatch

Guides:

Jim Mediatore
Eric Shaw
Kevin McGarity

Climbers:

Fang Ben
Jami Cate
Justice Hamson
Neil Fallon
Benjamin Chan
Arnaud Devilliers

Team 7 returned to Talkeetna this morning after a successful expedition. Excellent way to end the 2018 Denali season.

Friday, June 29, 2018

Denali West Buttress Expedition Team 7 (June 10 - June 30) Summit Dispatch


Guides:

Jim Mediatore
Eric Shaw
Kevin McGarity

Climbers:

Fang Ben
Jami Cate
Justice Hamson
Neil Fallon
Benjamin Chan
Arnaud Devilliers

Team 7 continues to move their way down the mountain. They arrived at Camp 2 (11,200ft) at 5:16 am Alaska time and will hopefully fly back to Talkeetna tonight. Upon their return, we will post the final dispatch of the 2018 Denali season!


Thursday, June 28, 2018

Denali West Buttress Expedition Team 7 (June 10 - June 30) Summit Dispatch

Guides:

Jim Mediatore
Eric Shaw
Kevin McGarity

Climbers:

Fang Ben
Jami Cate
Justice Hamson
Neil Fallon
Benjamin Chan
Arnaud Devilliers

Team 7 stood on top of North America yesterday in beautiful weather. They returned to High Camp late last light to deliver the news to us via satellite text. They are sleeping in today and will make their way down to Camp 3 this afternoon. They hope to be back at Base Camp tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Denali West Buttress Expedition Team 7 (June 10 - June 30)

Guides:

Jim Mediatore
Eric Shaw
Kevin McGarity

Climbers:

Fang Ben
Jami Cate
Justice Hamson
Neil Fallon
Benjamin Chan
Arnaud Devilliers

Today we moved to High Camp in blustery, cold conditions. Shortly after arriving at this camp at 17,200ft it became mostly calm and sunny! Some people made it to the summit today, and the forecast promises 24hrs of fair weather. So tomorrow we are hoping to go for the summit, health and weather permitting.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Denali West Buttress Expedition Team 7 (June 10 - June 30)


Guides:

Jim Mediatore
Eric Shaw
Kevin McGarity

Climbers:

Fang Ben
Jami Cate
Justice Hamson
Neil Fallon
Benjamin Chan
Arnaud Devilliers

Wind and snow greeted us this AM, so we plan on taking advantage of a few days of forecasted high pressure, warmer temps, and lower winds to begin our summit bid tomorrow. We plan to move to high camp in the morning.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Denali West Buttress Expedition Team 7 (June 10 - June 30)

Guides:


Jim Mediatore
Eric Shaw
Kevin McGarity

Climbers:

Fang Ben
Jami Cate
Justice Hamson
Neil Fallon
Benjamin Chan
Arnaud Devilliers

Today we rested and prepared ourselves for the upper mountain. Our plan is to move to High Camp/Camp 4 (17,300ft) tomorrow and Tues or Wed are the days when we will try for the summit!

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Denali West Buttress Expedition Team 7 (June 10 - June 30)

Guides:


Jim Mediatore
Eric Shaw
Kevin McGarity

Climbers:

Fang Ben
Jami Cate
Justice Hamson
Neil Fallon
Benjamin Chan
Arnaud Devilliers

Team 7 rested at Camp 3 (14,200ft) today after their big move. Acclimiatizing, resting, training for the fixed lines, and bacon eating galore! Tomorrow the team will cache up the lines at 16,200ft, weather permitting. 

Friday, June 22, 2018

2018 Ecuador Cotopaxi Skills Expedition and Chimborazo Ascent (June 15 - 29, 2018) Dispatch 2

Guide: Romel Sandoval

Climbers: Max G., Laura K., Michael G., Kathryn S.

Dispatch from Days 5-7:

Romel, the guide for the June 15th Ecuador trip called with the following news:

Hi there,

We are calling in from Hacienda Guachala to let you know we had a good climb today on Cayambe. Conditions were pretty tough, but we made it to about 16,000 feet.

The winds were very strong and limited what we could do, but everyone did a great job both with their gear and their climbing. It's easy to get cold in wind like that, but everyone was well prepared and used their layering systems in a way that kept them comfortable.

I am also very happy to say that no one had any problems with the altitude. Our acclimatization hikes prepared everyone very well for today's high elevation.

We were a funny sight when we returned to the hut because we were all covered with rime ice! Rime ice forms when clouds or fog full of water vapor hit cold objects, like the surface of our parkas, and freezes into ice crystals. We looked like something out of an exaggerated scene in a movie.

Anyway, the climbing was really good. In fact, it was kind of strange to have such inconveniently high winds but have perfect snowpack conditions. The cramponing could not have been better!


We returned to the hut and had some food and a little rest, then packed up and drove back down the mountain to Hacienda Guachala. In ten minutes we are heading to dinner, and we're really looking forward to that. The food here is very, very good, and I think a lot of us have been thinking about the menu this afternoon!

Tomorrow we will have a very easy day. We'll drive to Cotopaxi National Park and stay at Tombopaxi Lodge. It's a very comfortable lodge, and we will have good views of our next goal, 19,348-foot Cotopaxi.

We will have a fun day tomorrow with a lot of good views and time for relaxing, then Saturday we will hike to the hut on Cotopaxi, and Sunday we will make our summit attempt.

Wish us luck! We'll send you news as soon as we can.

Bye for now!


Denali West Buttress Expedition Team 7 (June 10 - June 30)

Guides:

Jim Mediatore
Eric Shaw
Kevin McGarity

Climbers:

Fang Ben
Jami Cate
Justice Hamson
Neil Fallon
Benjamin Chan
Arnaud Devilliers

Team 7 hit it out of the park today with a big move to Camp 3 (14,200ft)! Hard conditions at Windy Corner (13,500ft), but the team hardly missed a beat. We plan on resting tomorrow! Until then, T7 signing off.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Denali West Buttress Expedition Team 7 (June 10 - June 30)

Guides:


Jim Mediatore
Eric Shaw
Kevin McGarity

Climbers:

Fang Ben
Jami Cate
Justice Hamson
Neil Fallon
Benjamin Chan
Arnaud Devilliers

Team 7 is preparing for the move to Camp 3. Windy Corner lived up to its name and kept all teams from ascending higher. Team is in good spirits and looking forward to be on the move again. 

Denali West Buttress Expedition Team 6 (June 3 - June 23) Final Dispatch


Guides:

Andy Stephen
Calvin Morris
Seth White

Climbers:

Peter Fowler
Steve Maliszeski
Andrew Prunty
Tim Wright
Erik Beever
Vaughan Busby
Vincent Larivierre
Maria Conceicao
Bjarne Henningsen

Team 6 flew off the mountain last night and celebrated at a local brewery. It's always a difficult decision to turn back without having achieved the summit. Denali did everything it could to keep us from the top and we, unfortunately, ran out of time. Even the strongest teams are at the mercy of the weather. Thanks for following along - Andy

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Denali West Buttress Expedition Team 6 (June 3 - June 23)

Guides:

Andy Stephen
Calvin Morris
Seth White

Climbers:

Peter Fowler
Steve Maliszeski
Andrew Prunty
Tim Wright
Erik Beever
Vaughan Busby
Vincent Larivierre
Maria Conceicao
Bjarne Henningsen

Good morning, team 6 pushed through the night to basecamp, as is hoping to fly to Talkeetna this morning. The storms just wouldn’t let up, and so the team decided to head down. We are all tired from a night of walking but got a beautiful Alaskan Sunset on the walk. All for now, hopefully our next message will be from civilization! -Andy

Denali West Buttress Expedition Team 7 (June 10 - June 30)

Guides:

Jim Mediatore
Eric Shaw
Kevin McGarity

Climbers:

Fang Ben
Jami Cate
Justice Hamson
Neil Fallon
Benjamin Chan
Arnaud Devilliers

The lower part of Denali gave us a break weather-wise today. We recovered our cache below Kahiltna Pass and returned to Camp 2 and spectacular views of Mt Foraker and Kahiltna Dome. Winds are still high on the mountain above us- when they abate we'll make our move toward Windy Corner and Camp 3. Good to be moving again! Team 7 signing off for the night.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

2018 Ecuador Cotopaxi Skills Expedition and Chimborazo Ascent (June 15 - 29, 2018) Dispatch 1

Guide: Romel Sandoval

Climbers: Max G., Laura K., Michael G., Kathryn S.

Dispatch from Days 1-4:


Members of the June 15th Ecuador trip called with the following news:

Greetings from Ecuador,

We've been having a great time together and our touring and acclimatization schedule has been working just fine. On our first full day in Quito, we did an orientation on the program and itinerary and then a thorough gear check. After that, we did a walking tour of Quito and visited a variety of cultural sites, from markets to colonial buildings with interesting architecture.

On Sunday we did our first major acclimatization hike, climbing 
13,776-foot Pasachoa. We had a good sunny day, though it was windy and kind of cold on the summit. It was a beautiful, open grasslands hike and we had excellent views of most of Ecuador's high altitude peaks.

The team was a little tired by the end of the day, but it was just the right level of challenge. No one had any problems with the altitude.

Today we climbed Rucu Pinchincha (15,413ft). Once again, the whole group made it to the summit, and had some incredible views of Quito and the surrounding volcanos!

The sky is very clear today, but it is also very windy and cold! We pretty much only stayed on the summit long enough to take photos and then hiked down.

This afternoon we are driving north, and tonight we'll be staying at beautiful Hacienda Guachala, And tomorrow, we make the fairly short drive to the hut just below Cayambe, which is our first big climbing goal. We hope the weather will be fair for our climb on Wednesday, but the forecast is calling for wind and rain in the next couple of days so we will see.

The group is very strong and we are all enjoying each other very much. They are a fun group to climb with, and I am hoping that everyone will get the chance to stand on the summit of Cayambe, Cotopaxi, and Chimborazo.

I hope you are all well. We will call again when we have a good connection.



Denali West Buttress Expedition Team 6 (June 3 - June 23)

Guides:

Andy Stephen
Calvin Morris
Seth White

Climbers:

Peter Fowler
Steve Maliszeski
Andrew Prunty
Tim Wright
Erik Beever
Vaughan Busby
Vincent Larivierre
Maria Conceicao
Bjarne Henningsen

Team 6 had an incredibly stormy day today, with high winds and heavy snow in camp. We had a delicious Thanksgiving dinner, And got some clearing in the evening, although winds on the upper mountain still will not permit us to move upwards. The team is staying patient and positive. -Andy

Monday, June 18, 2018

Denali West Buttress Expedition Team 7 (June 10 - June 30)


Guides:

Jim Mediatore
Eric Shaw
Kevin McGarity

Climbers:

Fang Ben
Jami Cate
Justice Hamson
Neil Fallon
Benjamin Chan
Arnaud Devilliers

Today our team engages Denali, the Athabascan name for this mountain alternatively translated 'The Dumper, the Blower, the Obliterator of Latrines'- today we engage her in a battle of snow shoveling as snowfall and strong winds intensify. Our camp remains relatively comfortable and secure, thanks to the round-the-clock efforts of our team. Weather will hopefully abate tomorrow, and we will resume forward progress towards the summit! Team 7 signing off for tonight.

Denali West Buttress Expedition Team 6 (June 3 - June 23)


Guides:

Andy Stephen
Calvin Morris
Seth White

Climbers:

Peter Fowler
Steve Maliszeski
Andrew Prunty
Tim Wright
Erik Beever
Vaughan Busby
Vincent Larivierre
Maria Conceicao
Bjarne Henningsen

Live from the cook tent- still at 14, all 12 are still accounted for, restlessness has driven us to make laps around camp, and making new friends from all over the world. The weather was slightly better around camp, but the upper mountain was still shrouded in storm. The system is supposed to continue tomorrow, and the team will wait throughout the day to make a decision about what to do as we are almost out of time. Everyone is happy and healthy, and excited to see what the weather brings.

P.S. Happy Father’s Day to all team members dads!

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Denali West Buttress Expedition Team 7 (June 10 - June 30)

Guides:

Jim Mediatore
Eric Shaw
Kevin McGarity

Climbers:

Fang Ben
Jami Cate
Justice Hamson
Neil Fallon
Benjamin Chan
Arnaud Devilliers

Team 7 is in a holding pattern as a strong low pressure system deposits snow and high winds across the Mountain. The team hardened Camp and ate some of their heavier meals to stay warm.

Denali West Buttress Expedition Team 6 (June 3 - June 23)

Guides:

Andy Stephen
Calvin Morris
Seth White

Climbers:

Peter Fowler
Steve Maliszeski
Andrew Prunty
Tim Wright
Erik Beever
Vaughan Busby
Vincent Larivierre
Maria Conceicao
Bjarne Henningsen


And now, a passage from Tim Wright - The Team 6 collective hunker down in their tents at 14,200, waiting for the storm to pass. Here they will read books, regale each other with humorous anecdotes, and eat the occasional Milky Way. The team's bond is strong. Not even the gaseous exchanges occurring within sleeping bags could cause it to falter. They wait for the opportune moment in the weather to make their move to High Camp. Together, and only together, can they achieve their lofty goal of standing atop "the high one". We sit and wait in the weather, and will see what tomorrow brings.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Denali West Buttress Expedition Team 7 (June 10 - June 30)

Guides:

Jim Mediatore
Eric Shaw
Kevin McGarity

Climbers:

Fang Ben
Jami Cate
Justice Hamson
Neil Fallon
Benjamin Chan
Arnaud Devilliers


The mountain served us a "Welcome to Denali" cocktail this morning - it's equal parts wind, weather, and whiteout. We arrived at Camp 2 early this afternoon, built camp, and have just finished Eric's delicious burritos for dinner. We are in the midst of an extended storm cycle - tomorrow's a rest day for us, but there will be lots of shoveling and wall building!

Friday, June 15, 2018

Denali West Buttress Expedition Team 6 (June 3 - June 23)

Guides:

Andy Stephen
Calvin Morris
Seth White

Climbers:

Peter Fowler
Steve Maliszeski
Andrew Prunty
Tim Wright
Erik Beever
Vaughan Busby
Vincent Larivierre
Maria Conceicao
Bjarne Henningsen

Today Team 6 officially established Fort Knox at Camp 3 (14,200ft) in preparation for high winds and heavy snow this weekend. Vince miraculously held on to his uncanny stranglehold in cards, while our amazing team leader illustrated his excavation prowess in creating a more luxurious water closet- 14 ft underground, complete with a spiral staircase. Tim met his Vinson compadre, and Vince showed his masonry skills while still looking like a Canadian Fabio #lululemon. The team is patiently waiting for its chance to ascend the mountain safely. Team 6 wishes you all a good night!

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Denali West Buttress Expedition Team 7 (June 10 - June 30)

Guides:


Jim Mediatore
Eric Shaw
Kevin McGarity

Climbers:

Fang Ben
Jami Cate
Justice Hamson
Neil Fallon
Benjamin Chan
Arnaud Devilliers


Team 7 made their cache at 10,000ft last night returned to Camp 1 (7,800ft). They will move to Camp 2 (11,200ft) tonight before the big storm hits Denali tomorrow night. 

Denali West Buttress Expedition Team 5 (May 27 - June 16, 2018)

Guides:

Higinio Gonzalez
Will Gordon
Lindsey Hamm

Climbers:

Dara Stilger Griggs
Neil Reisinger
Justin Kile
Alex Pancoe
Matthew Herbein
Aaron Gardner
Sharon Marston
Jonathan Blinstrub
Andreas Czymoch

After an incredibly discouraging last few days of weather and no change in sight, Team 5 elected to return to Base Camp and fly back to Talkeetna. Lenticular clouds were visible over Denali and Foraker, with blowing snow on all upper ridges. At 14K, the wind gusts were blowing out the northeast at 46 mph. Returning without having stood on top is always disappointing, but the team is safe and ready to enjoy the comforts of civilization. The team will return in 2 or 3 separate planes to the K2 Aviation hangar. 

Denali West Buttress Expedition Team 6 (June 3 - June 23)

Guides:

Andy Stephen
Calvin Morris
Seth White

Climbers:

Peter Fowler
Steve Maliszeski
Andrew Prunty
Tim Wright
Erik Beever
Vaughan Busby
Vincent Larivierre
Maria Conceicao
Bjarne Henningsen

Today Team 6 went for an acclimatization hike up to 16500ft on the west ridge. It was very windy and stormy last night. The team is psyched that they got to move today! Tomorrow we will fortify camp in preparation for a storm coming in over the weekend.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Denali West Buttress Expedition Team 7 (June 10 - June 30)

Guides:


Jim Mediatore
Eric Shaw
Kevin McGarity

Climbers:

Fang Ben
Jami Cate
Justice Hamson
Neil Fallon
Benjamin Chan
Arnaud Devilliers

Team 7 reached Camp 1 (7,800ft) before it got too hot in the day. Everyone is doing their best to adjust to the night schedule. Tonight they will make a cache around 10,000ft and return to Camp 1. Veggie burgers for dinner tonight to help fuel tomorrow cache.

Message from Fang to Angela - “I love you and miss you. I am doing fine.”

Denali West Buttress Expedition Team 5 (May 27 - June 16, 2018)

Guides:

Higinio Gonzalez
Will Gordon
Lindsey Hamm

Climbers:

Dara Stilger Griggs
Neil Reisinger
Justin Kile
Alex Pancoe
Matthew Herbein
Aaron Gardner
Sharon Marston
Jonathan Blinstrub
Andreas Czymoch

Team 5 spent another windy, stormy night at Camp 3 (14,200ft). Their original plan or moving to High Camp/Camp 4 did not work because of this. Today they awoke to clear skies and will look at the forecast, and create a plan to be up and down in the next couple days.

Denali West Buttress Expedition Team 6 (June 3 - June 23)

Guides:

Andy Stephen
Calvin Morris
Seth White

Climbers:

Peter Fowler
Steve Maliszeski
Andrew Prunty
Tim Wright
Erik Beever
Vaughan Busby
Vincent Larivierre
Maria Conceicao
Bjarne Henningsen

From AAI Lead Guide Andy Stephen:

Yo yo yo this is team six checking in from the illustrious Camp 3 (14,200ft). Camp 3 was quiet today as spaceship clouds shrouded nearby peaks. Many teams on the mountain are going stir crazy as the High One is showing its strength. Team 6 is eating well and playing card games to stave off the boredom of being tent bound.

P.S. - Erik says hi to YY.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Denali West Buttress Expedition Team 7 (June 10 - June 30)

Guides:


Jim Mediatore
Eric Shaw
Kevin McGarity

Climbers:

Fang Ben
Jami Cate
Justice Hamson
Neil Fallon
Benjamin Chan
Arnaud Devilliers

Team 7 awoke to warm conditions and less than ideal moving weather. They spent the day working on sled rigging, glacier and crevasse rescue skills and will move to Camp 1 (7,800ft) tonight. 

Denali West Buttress Expedition Team 4 (May 23 - June 12, 2018)


Guides:

Jeremy Devine
Steve Johnson

Climbers:

Alex Uddin
Adrian Bell
Nick Talbott
Rowena

Team 4 has returned to Talkeetna and celebrating a great expedition. 

Denali West Buttress Expedition Team 6 (June 3 - June 23)

Guides:

Andy Stephen
Calvin Morris
Seth White

Climbers:

Peter Fowler
Steve Maliszeski
Andrew Prunty
Tim Wright
Erik Beever
Vaughan Busby
Vincent Larivierre
Maria Conceicao
Bjarne Henningsen

From AAI Lead Guide Andy Stephen:

Good evening, the storm finally broke last night, and the morning was clear but with high winds above Camp 3 (14,200ft), so Team 6 decided to stay in camp and work on skills needed for the upper mountain and improve the walls around our camp. Tonight chef is frying up some Indian food and we discussed training for the Olympics. Tomorrow, weather allowing we will fire in a cache beneath Camp 4 (17,200ft), fingers crossed.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Denali West Buttress Expedition Team 7 (June 10 - June 30)

Guides:

Jim Mediatore
Eric Shaw
Kevin McGarity

Climbers:

Fang Ben
Jami Cate
Justice Hamson
Neil Fallon
Benjamin Chan
Arnaud Devilliers

Team 7 is on the mountain! This marks the last first dispatch of the season. The team made camp as BC today and will swiftly move into a night schedule tonight and make their way to Camp 1 (7,800ft). They will likely pass up friends from Team 4 who are on their way out. 

Denali West Buttress Expedition Team 4 (May 23 - June 12, 2018)

Guides:

Jeremy Devine
Steve Johnson

Climbers:

Alex Uddin
Adrian Bell
Nick Talbott
Rowena Lewthwaite

With the weekend storm at Camp 3 (14,200ft), Team 4 was held up due to low visibility and avalanche hazards. Now that the skies have cleared, Team 4 is making their way down to Kahiltna Base Camp.

Denali West Buttress Expedition Team 5 (May 27 - June 16, 2018)

Guides:

Higinio Gonzalez
Will Gordon
Lindsey Hamm

Climbers:

Dara Stilger Griggs
Neil Reisinger
Justin Kile
Alex Pancoe
Matthew Herbein
Aaron Gardner
Sharon Marston
Jonathan Blinstrub
Andreas Czymoch

Team 5 remains at Camp 3 (14,200ft) after a big weekend storm that left a lot of new snow on the ground. No teams are moving up from Camp 3 today because of avalanche hazards. Today has nice clear skies and the plan for the team is to move from Camp 3 to Camp 4 (High Camp, 17,200ft) tomorrow (Tuesday), and go for the summit the next day (Wednesday). With a High Camp cache in place for them already, it should be an easier move to High Camp as they try to thread the needle.

Denali West Buttress Expedition Team 7 (June 10 - June 30)

Guides:

Jim Mediatore
Eric Shaw
Kevin McGarity

Climbers:

Fang Ben
Jami Cate
Justice Hamson
Neil Fallon
Benjamin Chan
Arnaud Devilliers

Team 7 was unable to fly in yesterday (Sunday, June 10th) due to the weather on the lower mountain. The plan is to hit the airstrip this morning and fly into Kahitlna Base Camp (7,200ft). An extra night of sleeping in a real bed will be a welcome thought in a couple weeks so let us hope everyone on Team 7 enjoys this.

Denali West Buttress Expedition Team 6 (June 3 - June 23)


Guides:

Andy Stephen
Calvin Morris
Seth White

Climbers:

Peter Fowler
Steve Maliszeski
Andrew Prunty
Tim Wright
Erik Beever
Vaughan Busby
Vincent Larivierre
Maria Conceicao
Bjarne Henningsen

From AAI Lead Guide Andy Stephen:

Helllooooo! Team 6 made it to Camo 3 (14,200ft)  yesterday and built camp. We were also able to retrieve our cache which means today is a full rest day. Chef Calvin finished out his shift with a pancake breakfast with real bacon and maple syrup. The weather has rolled in this afternoon, leaving us a bit tent bound, but everyone is happy, healthy, and surviving today’s rough weather.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Denali West Buttress Expedition Team 5 (May 27 - June 16, 2018)

Guides:

Higinio Gonzalez
Will Gordon
Lindsey Hamm

Climbers:

Dara Stilger Griggs
Neil Reisinger
Justin Kile
Alex Pancoe
Matthew Herbein
Aaron Gardner
Sharon Marston
Jonathan Blinstrub
Andreas Czymoch

Some unexpected snow and rough weather has hindered Team 5’s movement plans. Postitivley, because of their swift ascension on the lower mountain, they still have nearly a week remaining for a good weather window. Now is the time to eat up the heavy food and make the uphill travel easier.

Denali West Buttress Expedition Team 4 (May 23 - June 12, 2018)

Guides:

Jeremy Devine
Steve Johnson

Climbers:

Alex Uddin
Adrian Bell
Nick Talbott
Rowena Lewthwaite

Team 4 made it down to Camp 3 (14,200ft). They are headed for Base Camp today and hope to fly out later tonight or tomorrow morning. They hope their next check-in is from the comforts in Talkeetna.

Denali West Buttress Expedition Team 6 (June 3 - June 23)

Guides:

Andy Stephen
Calvin Morris
Seth White

Climbers:

Peter Fowler
Steve Maliszeski
Andrew Prunty
Tim Wright
Erik Beever
Vaughan Busby
Vincent Larivierre
Maria Conceicao
Bjarne Henningsen

From AAI Lead Guide Andy Stephen:

Team 6 had a great day today! We moved up to 14k Camp under beautiful, and very warm conditions. The team did great, and we are making camp and getting ready to eat a delicious Pad Thai dinner cooked by the one and only chef. Tomorrow we will recover and acclimatize at 14k while learning skills to negotiate the upper mountain.


Saturday, June 9, 2018

Denali West Buttress Expedition Team 6 (June 3 - 23)


Guides:

Andy Stephen
Calvin Morris
Seth White

Climbers:

Peter Fowler
Steve Maliszeski
Andrew Prunty
Tim Wright
Erik Beever
Vaughan Busby
Vincent Larivierre
Maria Conceicao
Bjarne Henningsen

This is Calvin with Denali Team 6 checking in. Today, our team woke up early to sunny skies that were not in the forecast. We were able to take advantage of the fortuitous weather and carry cache loads all the way to 14 camp. The route to 14 was in great condition with lots of new snow, making travel around windy corner fairly straightforward. Tomorrow we are hoping to move to 14 if the weather holds. Chef Seth is cooking pesto pasta to finish off a great day.

Denali West Buttress Expedition Team 4 (May 23 - June 12, 2018) Summit Dispatch


Guides:

Jeremy Devine
Steve Johnson

Climbers:

Alex Uddin
Adrian Bell
Nick Talbott
Rowena Lewthwaite

From AAI Lead Guide Jeremy Devine at 11:50pm last night:

Hi this Jeremy from AAI Denali Team 4, and we just returned from our summit day. We left Camp around 9:40pm and took about 14 hours round trip returning to Camp 4. Everyone did really well and we will start our descent to Camp 3 tomorrow and then to base camp the day after. 

Congrats Team 4!

Friday, June 8, 2018

Denali West Buttress Expedition Team 3 (May 20 - June 9, 2018)

Guides:

Paul Ivaska
Ian Mceleney
Katlynne Scaumberg

Climbers:

Xiao Han
William Martin
Chase Bradshaw
Joshua Martin
Michael Knittel
Cory Brooks
Kenneth Morand
James Stewart
Ralph Eberts

Team 3 has returned to Talkeetna after a successful expedition.

Denali West Buttress Expedition Team 5 (May 27 - June 16, 2018)

Guides:

Higinio Gonzalez
Will Gordon
Lindsey Hamm

Climbers:

Dara Stilger Griggs
Neil Reisinger
Justin Kile
Alex Pancoe
Matthew Herbein
Aaron Gardner
Sharon Marston
Jonathan Blinstrub
Andreas Czymoch

Today Team 5 ascended to High Camp/Camp 4 (17,200ft) to leave a minimal cache so that their official camp move to High Camp wouldn’t be as difficult. They are hoping for a weather window over the next couple of days to reach High Camp and try for the summit. Everyone did very well on the and now they are eating dinner. We look forward to hearing more from Team 5 soon.

Denali West Buttress Expedition Team 4 (May 23 - June 12, 2018) Dispatch from June 7th

Guides:

Jeremy Devine
Steve Johnson

Climbers:

Alex Uddin
Adrian Bell
Nick Talbott
Rowena Lewthwaite

From Jeremy Devine at 11:12pm last night June 7th:

Hi, this is Jeremy Devine with AAI Denali Team 4. Today we awoke to some heavy snowfall overnight which stopped early in the morning. We had some cloudy skies but the weather was actually fairly warm so we decided to move to High Camp (17,200ft). It was a fairly slow day, as moving to Camp 4 is the most difficult move day of the expedition. Upon arriving at High Camp the weather started to clear and became quite beautiful. We hope to have a window to push for the summit tomorrow or the day after.

Denali West Buttress Expedition Team 6 (June 3 - 23)

Guides:

Andy Stephen
Calvin Morris
Seth White

Climbers:

Peter Fowler
Steve Maliszeski
Andrew Prunty
Tim Wright
Erik Beever
Vaughan Busby
Vincent Larivierre
Maria Conceicao
Bjarne Henningsen


Team 6 is taking a weather day at Camp 2 (11,200ft). Heavy snow started last night and continues today. The team ate breakfast sandwiches and had time to rest and relax after cleaning out camp. The inclement weather has been forecasted to continue for the next few days, And the team will be rested and ready to move when the time comes!

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Denali West Buttress Expedition Team 3 (May 20 - June 9, 2018) Dispatch From June 7th



Guides:

Paul Ivaska
Ian Mceleney
Katlynne Scaumberg

Climbers:

Xiao Han
William Martin
Chase Bradshaw
Joshua Martin
Michael Knittel
Cory Brooks
Kenneth Morand
James Stewart
Ralph Eberts

Team 3 is making their way back down to Kahiltna Base Camp (7,200ft) after a successful summit of the mountain. They rested at Camp 3 (14,200ft) and are back on a night-schedule to take advantage of firmer crevasse bridges on their return to base camp

Denali West Buttress Expedition Team 5 (May 27 - June 16, 2018) Dispatch from June 5th


Guides:

Higinio Gonzalez
Will Gordon
Lindsey Hamm

Climbers:

Dara Stilger Griggs
Neil Reisinger
Justin Kile
Alex Pancoe
Matthew Herbein
Aaron Gardner
Sharon Marston
Jonathan Blinstrub
Andreas Czymoch

Team 5 enjoyed another rest day yesterday. Similar to Team 4, the strong winds and extremely low temperatures prompted the team to give their legs more time to recover and increase acclimatization. Weather dependent, they will move to High Camp/Camp 4 (17,200ft) today. 

Denali West Buttress Expedition Team 6 (June 3 - 23)

Guides:

Andy Stephen
Calvin Morris
Seth White

Climbers:

Peter Fowler
Steve Maliszeski
Andrew Prunty
Tim Wright
Erik Beever
Vaughan Busby
Vincent Larivierre
Maria Conceicao
Bjarne Henningsen

Hello all, team 6 is at camp 2! We had another night of beautiful conditions to move in. We arrived at camp 2 in the morning and Chef Seth cooked us up some scrumptious pasta. We all took a long nap and the team has decided to go snag our cache at 10k this Afternoon, which will mean if weather and energy allow we will switch back to a normal day schedule starting tonight and try to Cache around Windy Corner tomorrow morning. Everyone is having a great time and are looking forward to returning to a normal sleep schedule.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Denali West Buttress Expedition Team 4 (May 23 - June 12, 2018) Dispatch from June 6th


Guides:

Jeremy Devine
Steve Johnson

Climbers:

Alex Uddin
Adrian Bell
Nick Talbott
Rowena Lewthwaite

Team 4 elected not to move to High Camp today. Some very cold and strong winds chased out a few teams from High Camp and hampered the attempts of others. Team 4 elected to keep legs strong and move up in more favorable conditions. As this is the most difficult day of the expedition, a good move day is crucial to potential summit success. 

Denali West Buttress Expedition Team 3 (May 20 - June 9, 2018) Dispatch From June 6th

Guides:

Paul Ivaska
Ian Mceleney
Katlynne Scaumberg

Climbers:

Xiao Han
William Martin
Chase Bradshaw
Joshua Martin
Michael Knittel
Cory Brooks
Kenneth Morand
James Stewart
Ralph Eberts

Glad to report Team 3 summited Denali yesterday, and is on their way back down to Camp 3. Summit day on Denali is usually 13-15 hours (or more) round trip not including breakfast and dinner in Camp. Congrats to the guides and climbers.


Denali West Buttress Expedition Team 6 (June 3 - June 23, 2018) Dispatch 3

Guides:

Andy Stephen
Calvin Morris
Seth Morris

Climbers:

Peter Fowler
Steve Maliszeski
Andrew Prunty
Tim Wright
Erik Beever
Vaughan Busby
Vincent Lariviere
Maria Conceicao
Bjarne Henningsen


This is Seth from team 6 checking in from Camp 1 (7,800ft). Our team remained on a night schedule (meaning we travel by night and sleep in the day) and are just now returning from our first cache day at 10,000ft. We are planning to move to Camp 2 (11,200ft) tomorrow, weather dependent. The team is feeling strong and in good spirits. We are currently enjoying a delicious Mediterranean inspired meal before nodding off. Until next time, this is team 6 signing off.

Denali West Buttress Expedition Team 4 (May 23 - June 12, 2018) Dispatch from June 5th

Guides:

Jeremy Devine
Steve Johnson

Climbers:

Alex Uddin
Adrian Bell
Nick Talbott
Rowena Lewthwaite

Hi this is Jeremy Devine with AAI Denali Team 4. Today is June 5th, almost June 6th as it is late in the evening here. Today we had another rest day and we are looking to move up to High Camp/Camp 4 (17,300ft) tomorrow. We have a decent little weather window coming up here and everyone is feeling strong and ready for the toughest move of this expedition. We will check in with you tomorrow hopefully from Camp 4. 

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Denali West Buttress Expedition Team 5 (May 27 - June 16, 2018) Dispatch from June 5th

Guides:

Higinio Gonzalez
Will Gordon
Lindsey Hamm

Climbers:

Dara Stilger Griggs
Neil Reisinger
Justin Kile
Alex Pancoe
Matthew Herbein
Aaron Gardner
Sharon Marston
Jonathan Blinstrub
Andreas Czymoch

Hello, this is AAI Team 5. Yesterday we made a cache above the fixed lines around 16,000ft. Today was a rest day at Camp 3 (14,200ft). Everyone really enjoyed the rest day and was able to relax. We rebuilt some walls around the cook tent. Tomorrow will most likely be another rest day as we are watching the weather. Looks like we are going to have an opportunity to move up in the next few days but weather changes daily here. Thanks for listening and we will check in with you guys soon.

Denali West Buttress Expedition Team 6 (June 3 - June 23, 2018) Dispatch 2

Guides:

Andy Stephen
Calvin Morris
Seth Morris

Climbers:

Peter Fowler
Steve Maliszeski
Andrew Prunty
Tim Wright
Erik Beever
Vaughan Busby
Vincent Lariviere
Maria Conceicao
Bjarne Henningsen



Hello, this is Andy from Denali Team 6 checking in.  After meeting in Anchorage, AK Saturday night, the team was able to fly into base camp Sunday afternoon.  We made camp and learned some new skills for the west buttress, then ate some delicious sandwiches and took a nap in preparation for a midnight departure to Camp 1 (7,800ft).  We had great weather for the move, and amazing conditions on the glacier, giving us a chance to take in the epic flatness of the Kahiltna Glacier. We made it to Camp 1 (7,800ft) just as the sun was coming up, ate salmon burgers and salad for dinner, and are now resting to take advantage of the good conditions tonight to fire in a 10,000ft cache.

Denali West Buttress Expedition Team 4 (May 23 - June 12, 2018) Dispatch from June 4th

Guides:


Jeremy Devine
Steve Johnson

Climbers:

Alex Uddin
Adrian Bell
Nick Talbott
Rowena Lewthwaite

Team 4 rested at Camp 3 (14,200ft). Everyone is going well and enjoying the great views 14 Camp offers. With a week left of the expedition, they await a weather window. Until then, precisely packing and preparing for the upper mountain will be their hobby. 

Denali West Buttress Expedition Team 5 (May 27 - June 16, 2018) Dispatch from June 4th

Guides:

Higinio Gonzalez
Will Gordon
Lindsey Hamm

Climbers:

Dara Stilger Griggs
Neil Reisinger
Justin Kile
Alex Pancoe
Matthew Herbein
Aaron Gardner
Sharon Marston
Jonathan Blinstrub
Andreas Czymoch

Team 5 cached above the fixed lines today at 16,200ft. The weather was great on that part of the mountain and the team moved really well. With 12 days remaining, the waiting game for a good weather window begins.


Monday, June 4, 2018

Denali West Buttress Expedition Team 3 (May 20 - June 9, 2018) Dispatch From June 4th

Guides:


Paul Ivaska
Ian Mceleney
Katlynne Scaumberg

Climbers:

Xiao Han
William Martin
Chase Bradshaw
Joshua Martin
Michael Knittel
Cory Brooks
Kenneth Morand
James Stewart
Ralph Eberts

From AAI Guide Katlynne Schaumburg:

Hi this Katlynne from AAI Denali Team 3. It is June 4th, day 16 of our expedition. Today we left Camp at around 11 am, made it across the Auto-Bahn, and to Denali Pass (18,200ft). Due to the number of parties on the route and the extremely cold and questionable weather over us, the team elected to turn back to Camp with all of our fingers and toes. The game plan for tomorrow is the same. We will wake up, have breakfast and try again for the summit.


Sunday, June 3, 2018

Denali West Buttress Expedition Team 4 (May 23 - June 12, 2018) Dispatch from June 3rd

Guides:

Jeremy Devine
Steve Johnson

Climbers:

Alex Uddin
Adrian Bell
Nick Talbott
Rowena Lewthwaite

Team 4 placed a cache above the fixed-lines today around 16,200ft and returned to Camp 3 (14,200ft). Another good weather day and chance for the team to acclimatize. Now that everything is set, the team can keep a sharp eye on the forecast and how the group is feeling before making the move to High Camp.

Denali West Buttress Expedition Team 5 (May 27 - June 16, 2018) Dispatch from June 3rd

Guides:

Higinio Gonzalez
Will Gordon
Lindsey Hamm

Climbers:

Dara Stilger Griggs
Neil Reisinger
Justin Kile
Alex Pancoe
Matthew Herbein
Aaron Gardner
Sharon Marston
Jonathan Blinstrub
Andreas Czymoch

Hi this Quino from Denali Team 5. We are at Camp 3 (14,200ft). Today we retrieved our cache from 13,500ft. Good weather and no wind. Tomorrow we will cache above the fixed lines if we are feeling strong. We are pleased with our progress so far, but know that it's a big step up for what's in front of us. Hopefully, the weather will hold and provide us an opportunity soon. That's all for now and we will keep you posted.

Denali West Buttress Expedition Team 3 (May 20 - June 9, 2018) Dispatch From June 3rd

Guides:

Paul Ivaska
Ian Mceleney
Katlynne Scaumberg

Climbers:

Xiao Han
William Martin
Chase Bradshaw
Joshua Martin
Michael Knittel
Cory Brooks
Kenneth Morand
James Stewart
Ralph Eberts

Hi, this Ian from AAI Denali Team 3. It is Sunday, June 3rd and we are at High Camp (17,300ft). This morning dawned pretty clear but quickly turned into some very cold wind. At this elevation, even a slight breeze can be dangerous and we want to minimize the chance of cold injuries to our team of climbers and guides. Today we opted for a rest day and will try for the summit tomorrow. Everyone is resting, eating, and hydrating in preparation for tomorrows exertions. Hope all is well in the outside world.