Sunday Acclimation Climb and Ski


Post by WildSnow.com blogger | June 8, 2010      



Tyler starts the Headwall. We were frankly amazed at how well this powder was bonding to blue ice a short distance underneath.

Tyler starts the Headwall. We were frankly amazed at how well this powder was bonding to blue ice a short distance underneath.


Cold night last night here at 14,200 feet on Denali, about 10 below zero by my reckoning. That was about the limit of my sleeping bag, even with my parka thrown over the top. Then the sun comes up and you roast, as we did today while doing an acclimation climb up the ‘Headwall’ section of the West Buttress to 16,200 feet. The Headwall is known as the steepest section of the classic route, with one bulge that hits just over 45 degrees. It’s usually too icy to ski, and normally equipped with fixed ropes for a few hundred vertical feet.

 Wide angle view of Denali West Buttress section above 14,200 foot camp. Arrow indicates Headwall.

Wide angle view of Denali West Buttress section above 14,200 foot camp. Arrow indicates Headwall.


Unfortunately we got caught in a traffic jam on the fixed lines and took two hours to do what normally would have taken 1/2 hour. It appeared to be too icy to forego the fixed lines without two ice tools each. Even so, once at the top the boys turned around and skied it, while I opted for a quick boot descent back to the base of the fixed lines, then skied from there. Once the first couple of guys skied there was a lot of blue ice showing, so using the ropes was probably a good decision.
The guys are feeling good and planning on more adventures tomorrow. I’m opting for a rest day to make sure I don’t weaken when the big day comes. That said, way back in the beginnings of WildSnow Denali I shared with many individuals that I’d be happy just to get to the 14,200 foot camp and blog the trip from there. Well, now I’ve been past that goal so the rest is gravy — though skiing from the summit with Louie is of course still the ultimate goal.
 On the fixed lines, we were in the frustrating caboose position in a traffic jam of about 20 people. Since this occurred at around 16,000 feet elevation, it was good acclimatization if not an exercise in patience which some of us passed and others perhaps failed.

On the fixed lines, we were in the frustrating caboose position in a traffic jam of about 20 people. Since this occurred at around 16,000 feet elevation, it was good acclimatization if not an exercise in patience which some of us passed and others perhaps failed.


Another view from the caboose. Lesson learned, we'll be more careful with our timing next time.

Another view from the caboose. Lesson learned, we'll be more careful with our timing next time.


Big event of this evening was when our food begging yielded a harvest of popcorn and butter (for variety and more calories we’ve been getting food from groups who are done with their expeditions and headed down.)
 At 14,200 feet, There Are Strange Things Done 'Neath the 'nali Sun...actually, that's Ty and Colby talking to mom on the satphone.

At 14,200 feet, There Are Strange Things Done 'Neath the 'nali Sun...actually, that's Ty and Colby talking to mom on the satphone.


Thanks everyone for visiting WildSnow and checking out our Denali adventures. If I do take a rest day tomorrow, I’ll file a few more posts.



IF YOU'RE HAVING TROUBLE VIEWING SITE, TRY WHITELISTING IN YOUR ADBLOCKER, OTHERWISE PLEASE CONTACT US USING MENU ABOVE, OR FACEBOOK.

Please Enjoy A Few Suggested WildSnow Posts


Comments

14 Responses to “Sunday Acclimation Climb and Ski”

  1. Jesse Swann June 8th, 2010 9:14 am

    Thanks for keeping us posted. I have really enjoyed living vicariously through you guys as I sit at my office…quite the adventure!!! Stay strong and be safe.

  2. Lindy and Geoff June 8th, 2010 9:29 am

    16,200′ !! 😎 Thanks for all the fantastic posts and photos, it’s as close as we’ll be able to get to the adventure! We’re so excited as each message, post, or tracking appears. You guys rock ! (and roll of course).

  3. Aaron Reed June 8th, 2010 9:49 am

    Great job guys…made it through the snowstorm and things sound pretty good considering where you are…TY where’s the Sally Magee??

    Anyway sent a pic of the digger hat to the boys…and things are going ok here.

    Take care of yourselves…and each other.

    Peace,

    Papa Reed

  4. CDawson June 8th, 2010 10:04 am

    The Headwall looks amazing.
    Lou, even though “the rest is gravy” I know you look forward to the summit bid!!
    Good luck to you all.

  5. carl Pelletier June 8th, 2010 10:08 am

    Get er done boys!!! The pictures are awesome. I’m loving the fact that we can follow you all day to day. Thanks for the blogging efforts.

  6. Nick June 8th, 2010 11:17 am

    Nice job Lou! Keep it up and stay safe!

  7. Martha June 8th, 2010 2:07 pm

    Enjoying immensely from the greenery of the east coast flatlands. Love the pics! and the frequent posts. You guys are really doing it.

  8. janice June 8th, 2010 7:13 pm

    Just a guess but I’m thinking Jordan might have been one of those with patience issues!! Keep up the good work and am enjoying the posts.

  9. Shannon w June 8th, 2010 8:01 pm

    Well it looks like you guys are doing good- I was pretty worried about you guys freezing out there- but I’m glad to see you skiing!

    Lou- you are an inspiration to us all!

    Ty and Colby- Good to see you in so many pictures- I am so happy to see you called your mom on her birthday! Well done, guys. Keep up the good work!

  10. Mark W June 8th, 2010 11:07 pm

    Ski the powder–however deep–while you can. Great shots!

  11. Dave B June 9th, 2010 6:57 am

    Looks like you guys had a Chilcoot pass kind of thing going on on the headwall. A true Alaska experience for sure. No mules? Congrats on getting to 16,200, Lou.

  12. pioletski June 9th, 2010 9:52 am

    The adventure continues! Thanks for the updates. Lou, I can only imagine how special it would be to ski from the summit with Louie, I’ll be seeking out adventures to share with my boys too.

  13. Chuck June 9th, 2010 2:26 pm

    Great Work Guys… Nice Hat Tyler!

  14. brigitte June 23rd, 2010 7:25 am

    Great adventure. Good luck with the climb.

  Your Comments


  Recent Posts




Facebook Twitter Email Instagram Youtube

WildSnow Twitter Feed



 



  • Blogroll & Links


  • Welcome to Louis (Lou) Dawson's backcountry skiing information & opinion website. Lou's passion for the past 50 years has been alpinism, climbing, mountaineering and skiing -- along with all manner of outdoor recreation. He has authored numerous books and articles about ski touring and is well known as the first person to ski down all 54 of Colorado's 14,000-foot peaks, otherwise known as the Fourteeners! Books and free ski touring news and information here.

    All material on this website is copyrighted, the name WildSnow is trademarked, permission required for reproduction (electronic or otherwise) and display on other websites. PLEASE SEE OUR COPYRIGHT and TRADEMARK INFORMATION.

    We include "affiliate sales" links with most of our blog posts. This means we receive a percentage of a sale if you click over from our site (at no cost to you). None of our affiliate commission links are direct relationships with specific gear companies or shopping carts, instead we remain removed by using a third party who manages all our affiliate sales and relationships. We also sell display "banner" advertising, in this case our relationships are closer to the companies who advertise, but our display advertising income is carefully separated financially and editorially from our blog content, over which we always maintain 100% editorial control -- we make this clear during every advertising deal we work out. Please also notice we do the occasional "sponsored" post, these are under similar financial arrangements as our banner advertising, only the banner or other type of reference to a company are included in the blog post, simply to show they provided financial support to WildSnow.com and provide them with advertising in return. Unlike most other "sponsored content" you find on the internet, our sponsored posts are entirely under our editorial control and created by WildSnow specific writers.See our full disclosures here.

    Backcountry skiing is dangerous. You may be killed or severely injured if you do any form of ski mountaineering, skimo randonnee and randonnée skiing. The information and news on this website is intended only as general information. Due to human error and passing time, the information, text and images contained within this website may be inaccurate, false, or out-of-date. By using, reading or viewing the information provided on this website, you agree to absolve the owners of Wild Snow as well as content contributors of any liability for injuries or losses incurred while using such information. Furthermore, you agree to use any of this website's information, maps, photos, or binding mounting instructions templates at your own risk, and waive Wild Snow owners and contributors of liability for use of said items for ski touring or any other use.

    Switch To Mobile Version