Denali Summit Photo Album


Post by WildSnow.com blogger | June 18, 2010      


Louie and I posted our summit photos a few days ago. Because our group was doing a ‘Retreat from Moscow’ due to the weather and issue of getting on the waiting list for plane flights, I didn’t get photos of the boys, till yesterday. Getting the images ready for upload took a while, and here they are finally.

Morning at camp, Mount Foraker gets firstlight.

Morning at camp, Mount Foraker gets firstlight.



A useful skin track was set to the base of the headwall. Nice to vary the muscle groups during a 6,000 vert day that goes to 20,300 feet!

A useful skin track was set to the base of the headwall. Nice to vary the muscle groups during a 6,000 vert day that goes to 20,300 feet!


Looking back at Mount Foraker. When you climb Denali, Foraker definitely beckons

Looking back at Mount Foraker. When you climb Denali, Foraker definitely beckons.


Topping out of the Headwall, at 16,200 feet.

Topping out of the Headwall, at 16,200 feet.


Looking ahead at a hard day to come. We didn't skimp on gear, as the size of the pack indicates. An emergency stove and sleeping bag were carried by the group, and we brought all our high altititude clothing, some of which we'd carried for two weeks and still had not used.

Looking ahead at a hard day to come. We didn't skimp on gear, as the size of the pack indicates. An emergency stove and sleeping bag were carried by the group, and we brought all our high altititude clothing, some of which we'd carried for two weeks and still had not used.


After climbing Pig Hill you do this amazing section of knife ridge. On your right, the Southeast Face of Denali drops thousands of feet into an abyss of scale that seems like fantasy fiction. By now, even though we were somewhat acclimated to 17,000 feet, we were all feeling the altitude. No one had severe symptoms, but the weird puffy head feelings and shortness of breath just bother the heck out of you, and it's all a bit scary if you know anything about what can happen to people up here.

After climbing Pig Hill you do this amazing section of knife ridge. On your right, the East Face of Denali drops thousands of feet into an abyss of scale that seems like fantasy fiction. By now, even though we were somewhat acclimated to 17,000 feet, we were all feeling the altitude. No one had severe symptoms, but the weird puffy head feelings and shortness of breath just bother the heck out of you, and it's all a bit scary if you know anything about what can happen to people up here.


North Face parka does the trick

North Face parka does the trick


Joe on the summit.

Joe on the summit.


Colby and Tyler show off their K2 Backlash skis on the Denali summit, which they indeed rip on (yep, both the skis and the summit).

Colby and Tyler show off their K2 Backlash skis on the Denali summit, which they indeed rip on (yep, both the skis and the summit).


Black Diamond also provided some skis, Kilowatts of power!

Black Diamond also provided some skis, Kilowatts of power!


The advance summit team.

The advance summit team


Skiing off the summit requires a bit of scrapping down the ridge ascent route, to line up for the Football Field. If you've got time and want to ski roped up there are other options, but when it's around 15 below zero with wind, and you're not totally acclimated, you might just take the path of least resistance.

Skiing off the summit requires a bit of scrapping down the ridge ascent route, to line up for the Football Field. If you've got time and want to ski roped up there are other options, but when it's around 15 below zero with wind, and you're not totally acclimated, you might just take the path of least resistance.


About midway down the upper portion of the route. You're skiing on Denali, it feels fantastic!

About midway down the upper portion of the route. You're skiing on Denali, it feels fantastic!


On the way down.

On the way down.


Caleb contemplates being on the big one, on skis. Something to savor for the rest of his life. The rest of us felt the same way.

Caleb contemplates being on the big one, on skis. Something to savor for the rest of his life. The rest of us felt the same way.

While working on these excellent photos (many from Jordan, others from the rest of the group), I was struck by just how fortunate we were on this trip. Again, getting seven guys in the same expedition skiing off the summit on the same day was a in my opinion a somewhat rare gift offered by the mountain, and I continue to savor it.

FYI, we’re still stranded by the weather at Kahiltna Base. People are starting to act strange, making weird noises and gazing for hours across the glacier with what I’m calling the ‘Kahiltna Stare.’ Hopefully any mental problems that develop will be limited in consequence due to the absence of weaponry, but then, everyone has an ice axe. Luckily we’ve got Whippets as well, and have practiced the art of ski pole throwing. Thus, we plan on arriving in Talkeetna alive and uninjured.



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Comments

24 Responses to “Denali Summit Photo Album”

  1. Tom June 18th, 2010 8:43 am

    I have always loved Wildsnow but this road trip and climb have been your best work yet. Can’t wait to see what you pull out for the drive home. Congrats!

  2. Lindy and Geoff June 18th, 2010 8:44 am

    Once again, great job of providing a mix of photos and commentary that help tell the story. We’re hoping your flight out comes in soon!! Talkeetna will look mighty pretty.Thanks for another chapter in the adventure.

  3. Devon June 18th, 2010 8:50 am

    Congratulations to you and the crew Lou. I have enjoyed following you guys throughout the trip and I can’t wait till the next season. Hope you guys have a safe trip home.

  4. Shannon williams June 18th, 2010 9:11 am

    Amazing pictures! Can’t wait to hear the Stories. Bummer that you’re stuck in the storm- bet you guys are ready for some beers…. See you soon!

  5. Jennie W. June 18th, 2010 9:22 am

    Fantastic photos fellas. Looking forward to seeing you soon.

  6. Perry June 18th, 2010 9:33 am

    Congratulations!!!!! Those pictures are breathtaking.

  7. CDawson June 18th, 2010 9:37 am

    Lou, as always you have outdone yourself. Wonderful photos by all the guys, what an adventure. The summit looks well used that day, how many other parties made it up?
    I stood atop Mt. Tamalpais after hiking up the side from Summit the other day at 2571 ft above the pacific, looking out at the ocean, contemplating being 18,000 feet straight up on top of North America!!!
    Makes one feel a mite small in comparison.
    See you soon,
    Craig

  8. Nick June 18th, 2010 10:34 am

    Great job Lou! Very inspirational. This is definitely on my “attempt” list at some point.

    Dostie – weak sauce you were in the Bay Area and didn’t drop me a line!

  9. Mamam June 18th, 2010 12:37 pm

    Lou, Celebrating Pimmy today and remembering your first assent of Denali with him 37 years ago!!!!!.. I never realized what a trip it was. The photos of this trip are fantastic..it’s been a ride for me just looking at them. Good luck getting out of there.
    Love you guys…Mamam

  10. Dostie June 18th, 2010 12:55 pm

    HoooooooooYaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  11. Annah June 18th, 2010 1:14 pm

    Wow. Those photos are breathtaking. I almost teared up (and by almost, I mean I did). I can’t imagine what seeing those views would be like in real life.

    Thanks for sharing this experience with all of us!

  12. Julie Leslie June 18th, 2010 1:21 pm

    Congratulations Colby and crew!! Absolutley oustanding!! Standing on top ‘o the world!!

  13. Rick June 18th, 2010 1:27 pm

    Nice work and congrats!!!

  14. Tap Dawson June 18th, 2010 1:43 pm

    Magical photos! its so great that mama nature cooperated and gave you the gift of such a beautiful day…

  15. Rob Wales June 18th, 2010 3:05 pm

    Just so awesome on so many levels! Bravo!

  16. Chelsea Pillsbury Collins June 18th, 2010 3:40 pm

    Lou, these photos are absolutely incredible! It sounds like it has been a great trip. As I sit here in hot Texas, I enjoy looking at these pictures of mountains and snow and daydreaming that I am there!

  17. Anton June 18th, 2010 4:16 pm

    Epic Photos!

    Hopefully the sponsor-lords will feel adequately honored.

  18. Randonnee June 18th, 2010 7:47 pm

    Excellent!

  19. Mark June 18th, 2010 9:51 pm

    Stunning visuals. And to see skiers skiing up there makes it even more amazing.

  20. Bar Barrique June 18th, 2010 10:10 pm

    Great stuff; hopefully the weather will again favour you so you can begin your trip home.

  21. Gary Kean June 18th, 2010 10:17 pm

    Great photos and its been fun following your trip up to AK. My last BC trip in Alaska when I live there (20 years back), was on Denali. I will always remember making turns up there.

    PS. Louie, how was your 2011 K2 Waybacks?

  22. Lou June 19th, 2010 12:04 am

    Hi Wildsnowers!!!!! We’re in Talkeetna! I just bought a round of C. Gold for the boys who brought you those photos. More to come — we still have the road trip back!

    Thanks everyone for your support and comments, what you’ve done is gold, pure gold, and is what keeps WildSnow going!

    Lou

  23. Thomas B June 23rd, 2010 4:56 pm

    thanks for hauling up all that bacon we scored at 14200ft, I think it was yours… the only next good summit weather was on Sunday the 20th, I lucked out and scored mid boot top consistent powder on pig hill off of the summit, with snow getting more hammered lower down. Nice up there no doubt. FYI when you and 100 other climbers left 14K there was only winds and snow at night but weather was decent and even sunny for 2 days @14K. Nasty above 16K and nasty below 13K. Sorry you had to wait so long at base, that gets old.
    Hope you enjoy the rest of our great state.

  24. Lou June 23rd, 2010 5:20 pm

    Thomas, yeah, that was our bacon. Glad you enjoyed it! Glad to hear there were some summit windows up there. Timing all that is a lot of guesswork. Yeah, we waited for a while down at base but by getting there early we were able to fly out on some of the first flights that made it through, so it was a good move to get down there, though I agree that if weather was good at 14,200 we could have had some more fun there. But with that low pressure moving in, no way to know it wouldn’t slam 14,200… better to be safe than sorry. It’s Denali…

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