Denali 2010

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Club members Stephen Becker, Justus Brevik and Sean Tulin climbed Denali in May 2010.

on the summit, wearing our Lucha Libre masks
our team name: "Leningrad Cowboys Go Alaska". We aspired to be like these guys in this ad from a Russian climbing magazine. The guys in the picture are actually on the West Buttress of Denali, like us. They are adding vodka to their soup, unlike us.

Pics, videos, and maps

Between Justus, Sean and me, we took over 1500 pictures. I've picked out 278 to make a Picasa Web Album for Denali. I recommend putting it on slideshow so that the pictures can be shown fullsize (also, hit F11 to make it go even larger).

We also have a bit of video, though Kim has informed me that they are very boring. Watch at your own risk. If you can't view the videos, try vlc video player.

Here's a Google Earth KMZ file of Denali, showing our route and camps. It contains a "tour" -- if you play this tour, it will take you along the route. Very cool!

You can also view the KMZ file in Google Maps (if you are lucky enough to have the right operating system and a recent web browser, Google Maps may support the new Google Earth plugin; if so, there is a "Earth" tab next to the "Map", "Satellite", and "Other" tabs. In this mode, you can change the angle of view by holding the Shift key when you move the mouse, just as in Google Earth ).

Brief summary of climb

Climbers: Stephen Becker, Justus Brevik, Sean Tulin. We climbed the West Buttress route, which is the standard route on the mountain. Our original intention was to climb the West Buttress but only for acclimatization purposes, and then go back down to 7,800' and climb either a slightly technical route (the West Rib) or a very classic technical route (the Cassin Ridge). Unfortunately, we ran out of time and motivation to follow-through on these plans, but at least we really enjoyed our time on the West Buttress.

The Picasa album pictures are annotated, so you can find more details there

Interesting links

Picasa Album

You can view the pictures here, or follow the link to the Picasa site and view them full-screen. {{#widget:Picasa |user=stephen.beckr |album=5492803941087915105 |width=600 |height=400 |captions=1 |autoplay=0 }}


Our Denali Itinerary, with sample itineraries for reference
Colby Coomb's Sample Itinerary (based on good conditions and good weather). National Park Service: "The following schedule is the fastest recommended rate of ascent of the West Buttress given ideal weather. Expeditions should plan

on 21 days."

Our actual itinerary
Day -1 (May 6) N/A N/A Stephen and Justus arrive in Anchorage in the afternoon, Sean arrives late evening.
Day 0 Spend the day in Anchorage doing a food shop and re-packaging.

Take a 5 pm shuttle to Talkeetna.

N/A Shop for food, etc. Buy 175 lbs of food. Take van to Talkeetna, spend evening in Talkeetna with Justus' Antarctica friends.
Day 1 register and with NPS; dress for

the glacier; fly to Kahiltna Base;

Base camp 7,200 feet Register with NPS at 8 AM, fly to glacier at 3 PM. Leave 7,200' basecamp around 6 PM, arrive at 7,800' camp at 9:30 PM. Hiked with backpack and sled (loads are 135 lbs/person).
Day 2 Spend day practicing crevasse rescue techniques at nearby

crevasses; go to bed early.

Base of Ski Hill 7,800 feet Move to 11,000' camp (leave some technical gear and food and fuel at 11,000' in case we want to do a technical route at the end of the trip). Hike with backpack and sled.
Day 3 Leave camp by 3:00 A.M. (in June and July); single-carry to

7,800 feet/2,400 meters.

Upper Kahiltna 9,700 feet Carry load to 14,200' Basin Camp (backpacks only, no sled), return to sleep at 11,000' camp.
Day 4 Carry to 9,700 feet. Camp 11,000 feet Storm! Stay in tents.
Day 5 Move to 9,700 feet. Rest Move camp to 14,200' Basin Camp.
Day 6 Single-carry to 11,000 feet. Carry to Basin 14,200 feet Rest day, build snow walls, start construction of igloo.
Day 7 Rest day. Move to Basin 14,200 feet Hike to 16,200' Ridge Camp. Back in Basin Camp, finish igloo.
Day 8 Carry to 13,500 feet Rest in Basin, acclimatize and carry high sleep low. Rest in Basin Camp.
Day 9 Move to 14,200 feet. Rest in Basin, acclimatize and carry high sleep low. Summit push from Basin Camp, leaving 14,200' mid-morning. By 6 PM, we were only at 18,000' and moving slowly, so we called off the attempt and return to Basin Camp.
Day 10 Pick up cache at 13,500 feet. Rest in Basin, acclimatize and carry high sleep low. Rest in Basin Camp.
Day 11 Rest day. Rest in Basin, acclimatize and carry high sleep low. Hike to 17,200' High Camp to acclimatize, return to Basin Camp
Day 12 Carry to 16,200 feet. Move to 16,200 feet Ridge Camp or 17,200 feet High Camp Rest in Basin Camp
Day 13 Rest day. Rest Weather not good for summit attempt, so rest in Basin Camp.
Day 14 Move to 17,200 feet. Summit Summit. Push for summit (20,300') from Basin Camp. Leave just before 9 AM, arrive at 17,200' High Camp at noon, and at summit at 5 PM. Sean and Justus back to camp by 8:30 PM, Stephen takes detour to North Summit and back to camp by 12:30 AM.
Day 15 Rest day. Rest in camp, say good-bye to new friends. Discuss plans. Decide to descend
Day 16 Summit day or pick up cache at 16,200 feet. Begin descent from 14,200' Basin Camp around 1 PM, arrive at 7,200' Base Camp around 11 PM.
Day 17 Possible summit day. Fly out at 11 AM. Spend day in Talkeetna, spend night in Talkeetna at the bunk house.
Day 18 Possible summit day. Take van at noon to go to Anchorage. Rent car, return satellite phone, drop off bags with Brad (new friend we met on the mountain), drive to Girdwood. Go for little hike to the hand tram.
Day 19 Possible summit day. Drive to Homer, spend night on beach.
Day 20 Possible summit day. Drive back to Anchorage. Catch flight at midnight.
Day 21 (May 28) Return to 14,200 feet or 11,000 feet. Back home!
Day 22 Return to Kahiltna Base; check in with base camp manager

for return flight.

Day 23 Fly to Talkeetna; check out with NPS and drop off CMC; visit the Climbers' Memorial.
Day 24 Catch a van shuttle back to Anchorage; fly home.

See also