#SkiTheBig3 ON TOP OF DENALI — SKIED & returned to camp!

Post by WildSnow.com blogger | June 3, 2014      

Update, June 4: 2:36 am MDT, crew appears to be back at 14,200-foot camp after summiting. One of their comm devices broke a few days ago, but they’ve still got the satphone and Luann heard from them. Sounds like they’re headed down to Kahiltna Base and did ski Denali, so CONGRATULATIONS to the guys!

Update, June 3 09:44 pm MDT (7:44 Alaska time), we just get a SPOT message from Evan originating FROM THE SUMMIT OF DENALI! We knew the crew was going to try for the top today. We’re unclear about snow and ice conditions. It appears they’re on the good side of a 48 hour weather window. Best wishes to them for a safe descent!

Regarding the map below: Creator Doug Sproul is the guy who’s doing the beautiful “guidebooking” at geobackcountry.com — he’s psyched up by SkiTheBig3. Doug and I worked on this map for the last few days, thought I’d share at this point. Additions and improvements ongoing, feel free to give us feedback in the comments. It’s difficult to locate everything exactly. To view, click to enlarge.



(‘Ski The Big 3 is an Alaskan ski mountaineering expedition cooked up by four deprived (or perhaps depraved?) guys who never get enough ski and snowboard alpinism. Aaron Diamond, Evan Pletcher, Anton Sponar, Jordan White. The idea is to ski Denali, Mount Foraker, and Mount Hunter all during one expedition.)


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29 Responses to “#SkiTheBig3 ON TOP OF DENALI — SKIED & returned to camp!”

  1. Lou Dawson June 3rd, 2014 9:38 am

    Having some trouble with map enlargement, apologies, will be fixed in a moment.

  2. Lou Dawson June 3rd, 2014 11:13 am

    Well, if you click on the map you should get an enlarged version with scroll bars. Let me know how it does for you, works here on Google Chrome… Lou

  3. Chamonix June 3rd, 2014 5:43 pm

    Can’t open the link in Firefox either

  4. Lou Dawson June 3rd, 2014 5:51 pm

    Thanks Cham, having big problems with it here due to some other changes I made. It’ll be fixed in a few hours. Thanks for looking. Lou

  5. Lou Dawson June 3rd, 2014 7:54 pm

    Might be working now, let me know. Thanks, lou

  6. Luann White June 3rd, 2014 8:55 pm

    Looks like it is working on IE11- nice! Thank you. Now, if you could just put a little dot to show where they are right now, that would be perfect!

  7. Lou Dawson June 3rd, 2014 9:19 pm

    Shew, took long enough for me to get that map working! Thanks for checking Luann. ‘best, Lou

  8. Luann White June 3rd, 2014 10:46 pm

    63.06914 , -151.00656

    from Evan’s SPOT just now

  9. Ken Pletcher June 3rd, 2014 11:13 pm

    Wow–looks like they made it! Thanks, Luann!

  10. Luann White June 3rd, 2014 11:16 pm

    Yes! I posted before I knew South Peak was the highest!

  11. Gerlinde June 3rd, 2014 11:38 pm

    CONGRATS. Just got a spot from Matt too! He summited at 11.14 colorado time. Good job boys. Doesn’t suprise me Matt stuck with Jordan and Anton , his 14er skier buddies. WAHOO. Now for the scary part skiing down.

  12. Luann June 4th, 2014 3:23 am

    SPOT message at 2:36 am – back at camp!

  13. Lou Dawson June 4th, 2014 7:20 am

    I’ll update this blog post till we get a trip report. As well as these guys hopefully having skied Denali, it occurred to me they might be the first expedition to have climbed all three mountains in one trip. Anyone know if that’s true or not?

    I also want to emphasize how non-trival this whole thing is. Alaskan alpine climbing is some of the most difficult on earth due to the combination of wind, cold, altitude, self-powered ethos, overall logistics and more. The success rate on Denali most years hovers around 50/60%, Foraker only sees a few climbers each season, and Mount Hunter is most certainly the hardest “14er” Again, just to have climbed all these peaks in a few weeks, during one trip, is amazing. And then, skiing?

  14. Ralph June 4th, 2014 7:39 am

    simply amazing

  15. steveo June 4th, 2014 8:08 am

    Way to go! This makes me even more proud to be a Coloradan. These are the toughest 4 dudes on the planet right now!

  16. Lou Dawson June 4th, 2014 9:14 am

    I have to agree. I knew they were tough, but this is so bad-ass it nearly defies comprehension. It does help climbing 14ers in Colorado. But remember that Aaron is actually not a Colorado guy. In any case, they were all around here for a while before they drove north, altitude helps. At this point, wishing them a safe journey down the big slog from 14,200 to Kahiltna Base.

  17. Luann White June 4th, 2014 9:21 am

    I asked Jordan how the ski was and he said “not great.” But he didn’t say it didn’t happen! He asked me to make a reservation at the Talkeetna Roadhouse for tonight, so they are ready to be out of there!

  18. Lou Dawson June 4th, 2014 9:51 am

    Ok Luann, perfect. That’s a mega-slog for them today, so we probably won’t get a trip report for a day or two. But it sounds like they skied ALL THREE!!

  19. Ken Pletcher June 4th, 2014 10:39 am

    Bonnie and I are so absolutely blown away by what these four have done in the past month! And, yes, Lou, their stated objective was to be the first to ski (or board) down all three peaks in one trip. The reality that they apparently have done that is still sinking in.

    Never in our wildest dreams did we–flatlanders–think that our first fairly tame family camping trip to Utah and Colorado when Evan was 5 would turn into something as amazing as this expedition has been. And we’re so glad that we could share it with all of you–thanks so much! We really hope that we can meet these remarkable young men (and you-all as well!) some day soon.

    Godspeed to these boys on their journey back to civilization!

  20. Mike Marolt June 4th, 2014 11:07 am

    Awesome!!! And it’s a funny thing. After you pull off a big project, it humbles you to a point where you don’t really know what to say or even believe that it happened. So I will say it for them.

    HYPE THAT!! haha.

  21. Erik Erikson June 4th, 2014 11:54 am

    Followed this expedition for a couple of days now here on wildsnow and informed myself meanwhile a little bit about what these guys are really doing. By now I think I can really estimate their amazing achievement.They have my deep respect for having almost pulled of this project!! Amazing!!
    And very inspiring: Thought I was finally finished with skiing this season here in Austria and already deep into rock-climbing. But they made me dig out my skis again 😉
    Thanks again to wildsnow for making it possible to share that great adventure.

  22. Paul Diamond June 4th, 2014 12:04 pm

    All 4 of you deserve all the kudos you are getting from your peers and other ski mountaineering legends. Amazing, awesome job and we are all so very proud of you. Aaron, who would have thought a weekend trip to Tuckerman’s Ravine when you were 12 would have ended up in something like this? Love you and can’t wait to see you,

  23. Jim L June 4th, 2014 12:35 pm

    These guys deserve some fresh grilled Salmon, Moose tenderloin, Caribou burgers, Halibut or Lingcod fish tacos! Some tasty Alaskan Brew too. Then a good nights sleep in a tempurpedic bed!

  24. Billy Balz June 4th, 2014 6:14 pm

    I’d like to make a shout out to these guys’ parents. My 4 and 7yr old boys love skiing, skinning and rock climbing (4 yr old not into skinning yet). I hope my boys turn out competent and adventurous like yours have. I relish every day I’m with them skiing or top roping. Congrats to you! And congrats to your boys for a serious achievement!

  25. Drew Tabke June 4th, 2014 7:13 pm


  26. Chris Pletcher June 4th, 2014 9:22 pm

    Congratulations! We have been fascinated and in awe of these guys. We love you Evan!

  27. Brian Mohr June 4th, 2014 9:49 pm

    CONGRATS to these guys!

  28. Luann White June 4th, 2014 10:02 pm

    From Jordan:

    They made it to base camp but no more planes are going out. I think I understood that all the pilots had flown their allowed hours.

    “Everyone is fine, just ready to be out of there.”

  29. Mark Worley June 4th, 2014 10:54 pm

    Way to go fellas. Nicely done.

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