Finally, the time has come to climb the BIG mountain! The adventure that we have been preparing for over the last three years. We are as ready as we'll ever be! Now, it's just up to the weather and our bodies. We have a 24 day permit and are scheduled to fly to base camp May 17th (weather permitting). Our three person team is called The Highest World Expedition in honor of our Belgian partner Aruand De Laveleye. We are starting with approximately 150 pounds of food and 5 gallons of fuel. In fact, we will be climbing most of the mountain twice due to the amount of food, fuel, and gear we have to carry. Meaning one day we will carry half our stuff up to the next camp or a cache site in between and go back down to camp for the night, then the next day we will carry the other half of our stuff to the next camp and set up then retrieve our cached supplies. If all goes perfectly (which it rarely ever does mainly because of weather) we could be done in 12 or 14 days. If we are tent bound for days waiting out a storm or multiple storms, then it could take 24 days or more. I guess just keep on eye on our Spot Tracker to find out. Which some days it might not work real well if we are socked in by the clouds.
Andrew pointing to the south summit of Denali. The south summit is about 1,000 ft. higher than the north summit.
Below are a few pictures of the West Buttress route that we are taking. This is the most commonly climbed route on Denali. As of May 15th, there are 234 climbers on the mountain, 16 have already come off the mountain, and 2 of those 16 have reached the summit. Plus, the NPS has issued 1,020 permits to climb the mountain this season.
Also, some other websites to keep track of while we are on the mountain are the current weather forecast, Talkeetna Web Cam, and the AMS blog (Alaska Mountaineering School, who we did our 12-day glacier course with a couple of years ago). AMS does guided expeditions and they have expeditions in front of us now and will have expeditions behind us starting on the 25th of May. The guides check in with Talkeetna via satellite phones whenever possible to give updates on movement, weather, and such. Their motto with that is "no news is good news," so keep that in mind.
Think good thoughts for us over the next few weeks, and picture the three of us on the summit (healthy and happy) on a clear, calm, blue sky day!