Sunday, 17 June 2012

Off the mountain and now back in Anchorage

After several days sat at 14200 Camp watching the never ending cycle of the weather, snow, high winds, with the occasional clear spell with high winds and watching multiple avalanches and some climbers play lotto with said avalanches.  A few in the camp decided to retreat of the mountain.  Alex and I would do so with Ty and Aaron a couple of Americans we met on the mountain and they are great and very funny guys.

We left in ok weather leaving Will, Nick and Dan to see if they could get much higher (they made 17000, but are now off the mountain now too). We descended into the murk below and into a horrible wet snow storm, with visibility being reduce to nothing at points and the occasional small crevasse fall, a couple with legs pedaling in thin air above the cavern below.  We made 7800 and bunkered down after our 8.5hrs of storm fighting.

In the morning Alex, Ty, Aaron and I all roped together and skinned out of 7800 and towards Base Camp and the air strip.  After some initial crevasse avoidance and Alex digging out of one we made good time and cruised to BC and even Heartbreak Hill didn't dampen our spirits.

We checked in with Lisa and had to wait until the morning to get off the mountain with Paul from TAT flying the long way home, video to come, we landed in Talkeetna again.  Ty and Aaron would need to wait until evening as TAT produced their magic and took advantage of a small window and flew a bunch of climbers off the mountain Ty and Aaron being the first.

Alex and I had already started on the beer and food and Ty and Aaron getting of the mountain would lead to 2 days of eating and drinking in Talkeetna and entertaining Tanya the bar manager of the Fairview with our out of town antics (as I am sure many do every session).

After a big night Thursday it was a slow start to Friday and then a sleepy return to Anchorage.  The last few days have been spent milling about and investigating Anchorage and I am currently trying to get on a flight to see the bears in a natural environment feeding on salmon, fingers crossed I can get out there Sunday or Monday.

I will write more and post vids and photos of the trip soon and certainly write a trip report.

One thing I can say, Denali showed us some tough weather, without getting cold even and hauling your own gear is certainly one way to make things hard for yourself.  I am very glad we went unguided and that even in some terrible weather we did very well.

A bit more planning of team, objectives and food would be ideal, but we made out pretty damn good.

Thanks to Peglers for the support with gear.

Thanks to Alpkit for tents and cooking pots, mugs, utensils and lots of stuff sacks.

Thanks to PowerTraveller from Will.

And to cycleworks for sorting the replacement GoPro in a couple of days at the 11th hour.

I am now off to chase bears hopefully and see more of anchorage and maybe take in a crag of two.


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