Monday, July 1, 2013

AC Denali Post 13: And now we wait....

One of the principal challenges of climbing on Denali is the weather.  It is virtually impossible to get from the lower glacier to the summit and back again without getting some of it.  And most teams get quite a lot of it.  In fact, Anders team has 7-10 days built into their schedule in anticipation of getting it.

And getting it they are.  The rain turned to snow and the snow turned into more snow.  Hahn made the call to stay put and Anders and his team have been building wind walls out of the ice and routinely exiting the tent to remove snow.  Otherwise, the program is to just hang in the tent.  Where they are camping has many crevasses so there are no random walks out beyond the wanded boundaries of the camp.

According to the weather service, the wind is blowing 20-40 mph and they are forecasted to get 4+ inches of snow.  Tomorrow the forecast calls for less wind but about 16 inches of snow.  In fact the forecast calls for snow all the way until Saturday so they may be there for a while.  As an aside, the winds on the summit were over 60 mph today so life is comparatively good at 11,000 feet.

As for the program going forward, there are two camps above 11,000 feet--one at 14,000 and one at 17,000.  From the latter the summit push is made.  It typically takes four days to move from one camp to the next (on the way up).  The pattern is: 1-carry from low camp to intermediate cache point/sleep low; 2-move from low to high camp/sleep high; 3-carry from cache point to high camp/sleep high; 4-rest at high camp.  Given this, if they followed this pattern starting tomorrow, they would be in position for a possible summit attempt on July 11th.  Of course, the weather can (and probably will) change this.  They could also elect to blow off scheduled rest days if narrow climbing windows present themselves.

Obviously the weather will be a major story from here on out.  The current forecast is not super promising as snow is forecasted for 8 of the next 9 days and another big storm around the 8th/9th.  Forecasts of-course change a lot and frequently are not so correlated to reality.  But we are crossing our fingers here that the weather outlook gets brighter so that Anders and his team can get back to work and continue their upward quest!

1 comment:

Kote Flosse said...

Thanks for the updates Anders' dad! Reading them eagerly from the South Pacific.