Ya de regreso de nuestra expedición a Alaska. Primero escalamos un par de vias de hielo cerca de campo base (Bacon & Eggs + Mini-Moonflower). Despues salimos hacia Denali y cuatro dias mas tarde hicimos cumbre por la via normal. .
Lamentablemente agarré un virus y no estaba en condiciones para intentar nuestro objetivo principal, la arista Cassin, en la brecha de buen clima que se avecinaba. Por el contrario tuve que bajar al campo de los 11 mil pies para propiciar una mejora mas rápida. .
Ya recuperado subí a los 14 mil pies desde donde saldríamos a la base de la ruta. Durante dos semanas el viento estuvo soplado bastante fuerte y varias tormentas cargaron la montaña con mucha nieve. No eran las mejores condiciones y las zonas de avalancha que amenazan la aproximación forzando demasiado un intento en la ultima ventana de dos dias que el pronostico mostraba (misma que no llego) asi que tomamos la difícil decisión de no intentar la ruta y vomenzar nuestro descenso. El tiempo se nos acabo. .
Ha sido difícil aceptar y asimilar la situacion pero he estado aprendiendo mucho de los errores cometidos. También hubo cosas buenas como compartir una primera expedición con Max (@maxalvarezcham ) y empezar a consolidar una cordada asi como compartir expedición con Carlos (@carlospetersenc ) y asi darle vigencia a los principios de la Linea Directa (@lalineadirecta ) transmitiendo a los mas jovenes algunos conocimientos y evitar aprendizaje empírico, empujando asi el nivel nacional del montañismo. .
Agradezco a mis patrocinadores por su incondicional apoyo:
Denali towers 20,310 ft/6,190 m above sea level making it the highest peak in North America and the 3rd highest mountain in the world. If measured from its base to peak it is actually the tallest mountain in the world!! Denali measures 18,000 ft/5,500 m while Everest from its base is just 12,000 ft/3,700 m! .
Denali is shy, though, enshrouded in clouds much of the time, but those lucky enough to see her, witness an unforgettable sight! I felt so blessed to have been able to go there and that we caught some rare clear weather to see!
Time is the number one enemy of our lives. Nothing can beat it or stop it. Therefore, make the most out of each day because we don't know when our time will come.
I am not afraid of much. However, I am afraid of hell. Knowing that God is in control of my life, and that my life could literally end after every breath I take, encourages me to make sure I'm living for God in everything I do.
Moments. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
The mountains have provided me so much - I turn to them often. I started the season with hardly what I'd call a plan, but by the end I'd realized a couple of big mountain ski dreams and enjoyed other ski pursuits around the country. Everything just fell into place this winter/spring and we seemed to hit the conditions in their prime most of the time. With these dreams achieved, some a decade in the making, those doors close and new ideas emerge. Hanging the skis up, turning to all things summer, and reflecting on what a season it has been I'm most proud and happy to have been able to share these experiences with so many people. Happiness is best shared. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Thank you for reading my story, collaborating, sharing your own hardships so openly with me, and for the generous donations to Brain and Behavior Research (@bbrfoundation ). I wasn't sure how this would all pan out when I started but I'm glad it turned out the way it did! So many people to thank and deserve recognition for their support in the struggle I went through, for their effort in developing my project, and for making this season a wild success - overwhelmed how lucky I am to have these people in my life. I'm certainly not alone in these struggles so I hope those in need continue to find strength and reach out for help in whatever battle you face. You're not alone. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
You can come back from the dark and live large, always. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Until next season - best wishes.
A recent shot of one of our R44 helicopters at the Sheldon Chalet. For those who are not familiar, the Chalet sits at the 5,500 foot level... while Denali in the background rises nearly 15,000 feet taller. #talkeetnaairtaxi#alaskarange#thisisalaska
We were there to ski!
After about 6 days climbing and skiing the mountains near base camp on the Kahiltna, we thought we should take advantage of the “not terribly stormy weather on Denali” —
We took 2 days to get to camp 4 at 14k.
After a day of cutting blocks and building camp (camp building, cooking and eating seemed to be a real priority for our team!)
We headed up the West Rib Cut off. The goal was to head toward the summit in hopes of skiing something... At around 19,000’ near the top of the Orient express the weather was looking pretty intimidating. Another “wall of hate”. Mike and I were stoked for the challenge of skiing the 5000’ 40° to 50° Orient Express. We knew the conditions would be full on steep combat skiing. We were not interested in descending the West Ridge in very poor and perhaps un-skiable conditions late in the day. And we were hungry for the feeling and challenge of skiing a steep line at this elevation. Jason and Kris wanted the summit and continued onward! They were hoping the wall of hate would stop moving in and were prepared to descend the West Ridge ‘on site’ in a storm.
Welp, Mike and I got our challenge. It was some of the most variable snow and skiing Ive ever encountered. Incredibly cold sticky thick winter snow, breakable wind-board, super hard neve, glacier ice with just a few centimeters of faceted snow sticking to the surface, glacier ice with no snow…
Between the conditions, elevation, and every warm piece of insulation I had on the trip stuffed into my pack we can only make six or eight turns before having to stop and rest and to navigate our next move.
As we neared the bottom, the storm moved in and visibility was gone. Luckily we had just slipped past the crevasses and bergshrund and into some more enjoyable settled powder back to camp. Hot drinks and high fives. What a line!
... part two below...
@scarpana #noplacetoofar @factionskis #forthefew @julboeyewearna @strafeouterwear @hestragloves @kates_real_food @gnarlynutrition #wantmoredomorebemore @camp_usa @mtn_outfitters_breck
After exploring bits of the lower Kahiltna, we decided to put in some blue collar work and move camp up to 14k. 2 days later an impromptu noon ski tour to the west rib cutoff found us in beautiful weather at 16.2k. Going higher seemed like the natural choice. Climbing conditions were outstanding. In time, clouds built up, and @mikeyarno and @teagueholmes decided to ski the Orient from 18.5k. @kephoto and I decided to go a bit further towards the summit, and give us an escape down the well-marked West Buttress. Eventually, we reached the football field and pig hill, but the storm was brewing behind us. We turned tail and skied down from 19.8k. Things went smoothly until halfway through the rescue gully when the storm finally caught us - 20 min from camp. Skis were swapped for crampons and belayed whiteout downclimbing over ice steps in search of the bergshrund ensued. A bit tense, but all ended well back at camp where Mike and Teague fueled us up with some sort of sausage concoction. #alaskarange#denali#skimountaineering#westrib