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iceclimber
12-11-2008, 01:20 PM
Awhile back I had made a few threads about a winter hike up Mt. Washington.

My brother in law, Dean, and I will be heading up to NH the day after Christmas and hopefully will get a spot to camp at either Hermit lake shelters or Harvard cabin. I see the weather has been quite cold and that is a good thing as I will be using this trip as some training for my attempt at the West Buttress route on McKinley this summer.

It has been neat reading some past experiences this winter on the Lion's head route. Also glad to see there haven't been too many incidents up there this winter. I would like to thank Climbabout for his suggestion in reading material. "not without peril".

After our trip I will post some pictures here and tell you guys about it. We are looking to just have a great time and if the weather opens up and we make the summit then great, if not, this trip will be a blast.

corey.mcentyre
12-11-2008, 01:32 PM
I'm looking forward to your pictures. I also want to attempt a winter summit of the mountain. I'm not quite as brave and will be going on an REI guided trip (hopefully, in March). Not to mention I do not own enough winter gear and they'll provide it as part of the hike package (the use anyhow - we don't get to keep it). I've also read Howe's book. I'm hoping your pictures and trip report will replace the images in my mind from "Not Without Peril" before I go. ;-) Good luck! Stay warm and safe.

Brad
12-11-2008, 08:50 PM
I think Corey has fallen in love with the mountain.

mtruman
12-11-2008, 11:15 PM
Interesting that Not Without Peril should provide motivation for winter trip planning. I've read it too and enjoyed it, but I didn't find that it made me more eager to climb the mountain. Of course I can't resist anyway since I've fallen in love with it (and all the White Mountains) just like Corey...

iceclimber
12-12-2008, 10:03 AM
For me, any literature to do with mountaineering and climbing gets me pumped. While the tragedies are not motivational, they are educational. Anything that is descriptive and has to do with where one might go or has been is always more enjoyable to read.

mtruman
12-12-2008, 10:59 AM
For me, any literature to do with mountaineering and climbing gets me pumped. While the tragedies are not motivational, they are educational. Anything that is descriptive and has to do with where one might go or has been is always more enjoyable to read.

I think you hit it right on the head. The educational aspect is huge. For me the most incredible part about reading NWP was remembering being in so many of the spots that are being described (except under much different conditions) and being that much more amazed by the circumstances and the results.

TrishandAlex
12-12-2008, 01:23 PM
Have fun. I look forward to the day when I climb Washington in the winter. It won't be this year, but perhaps next. Looking forward to your TR.

ColdWeatherClimber
12-14-2008, 08:56 PM
Awhile back I had made a few threads about a winter hike up Mt. Washington.

My brother in law, Dean, and I will be heading up to NH the day after Christmas and hopefully will get a spot to camp at either Hermit lake shelters or Harvard cabin. I see the weather has been quite cold and that is a good thing as I will be using this trip as some training for my attempt at the West Buttress route on McKinley this summer.



The West Buttress route on Denali is a month long slog to the top. From TR I have read the most you have to prepare for is long slogs with 60 lb pack, and the altitude. It would be in your best interest to get very familiar with altitude sickness. Drink plenty of water on your ascent. This route draws thousands a year. If I remember correctly, it will still cost a good bit of money to get you to the top. Not as much as Everest, but still a chunk from what I heard. Good luck to you, I know you can make it.

Bill O
12-14-2008, 09:21 PM
Denali can be climbed on your own relatively cheaply. $150 park fee, $300 or so for the flight and that's it. Except for all the gear and food. I'm at a point where I'd be comfortable leading a trip there.

The traverse will be good prep. Carrying a 80-100lb pack and dragging a sled is what you need to prepare for. I agree, learn everything you can about altitude sickness but other than staying hydrated you can't prepare for it.

If you're going with a guide they will take great care of you. If you're doing it on your own let me know and I can share some tips. For one, tough it out and do a single carry to camp one...its mostly flat.

I think I mentioned this before, even if you go with a guide, learn everything you can about the mountain. Don't just tag along, know the routes.

ColdWeatherClimber
12-14-2008, 10:38 PM
That's true Bill, I agree with you. If you do it all Alpine style and haul it all up with you, prepare for a very heavy load. I use a Dana Design Astralplane Overkill. You can't get those anymore, but you can get the new Mystery Ranch Kodiak, which is the newest incarnation out of Bozeman.

Take sunscreen, drink lots of water, and don't walk with your head down, keep looking around so you know where you are. Remember, drink lots of water.. even though it's cold outside, you need it. Being dehydrated leads to a lot of problems! Keep your clothes dry, the ones you are wearing and the ones in your pack.

Keep in mind park costs, the plane in to the glacier, food costs, equipment costs, the cost of the regular plane fare to alaska, all adds up.

dangergirl
12-15-2008, 05:53 PM
We are attempting the West Buttress on Denali in 2010! If anyone has any pointers I am all ears. I can carry 50-60 lbs (it does slow me down) but am capable of carrying 45lbs for many days without suffering much. I keep my Jandd Golith pack in my car and hike with it up hills during my lunch break. I vary the pack weight from 30-60lbs.
I also bring a heavy pack with me when we do trips with slower people. This summer I threw 40lbs in my pack when we hiked Mt Washington with my parents. (It kept me from going to fast and it was great training!)
Anyway, enjoy! -:)

Bill O
12-15-2008, 07:39 PM
We are attempting the West Buttress on Denali in 2010! If anyone has any pointers I am all ears. I can carry 50-60 lbs (it does slow me down) but am capable of carrying 45lbs for many days without suffering much.

Crossfit.com and crossfitendurance.com

Guided or independent?

dangergirl
12-16-2008, 06:43 AM
Thanks for the info! I checked it out and plan to read more into it later tonight! :)

climbabout
12-16-2008, 09:11 AM
Dangergirl - Make no mistake - the west buttress route is indeed a long arduous climb. All I can say is train, train, train. And then train some more. Long slow workouts 1-2 hours or more - biking, hiking, slow running, mixed with some twice weekly sessions of interval training, plus twice weekly weight lifting to gain both upper and lower body strength will serve you well - try to focus on multi joint movements - squats - deadlifts etc... these are some of the things you'll see on the crossfit sites. Variety and intensity - increase both as the climb nears. Above all get out at least weekly with a heavy pack going both uphill and down. If you live in a flat area like I do, you'll need to improvise - stair climbing, step mill work, stadium steps, whatever. I live near the shore, so part of my regimen was hiking on the beach in the sand with a heavy pack, while pulling a truck tire - 2-3 miles at a clip. In addition to funny looks it will get you ready for pulling a sled on the lower part of the route up to 14k camp. Lastly - watch your nutrition and try to minimize excess body fat - look into the zone diet - it will be mentioned on the crossfit sites. It's not a fad diet, but rather a balanced way of eating regular foods, but in the right proportion of carbs-protien-fat - many small meals spaced throughout the day. I was the west buttress in late season 2007 - our team made it to 16,500 and we were turned back by unstable conditions - along with several other teams. We waited it out at 14k for 9 days until our supplies ran low. The reason I mention this is to be prepared for the mental aspect of sitting and waiting - it can really wear you down mentally - and I mean to the point where you just want to quit. I'm returning in 2009 hoping for better weather.
Good luck - If I can answer any other questions let me know.
Tim

Bill O
12-16-2008, 09:31 AM
Good advice.

My team hunkered down at 17,000 for almost a week waiting out the weather. Thankfully I had terrible knee pain and turned around much lower on the mountain. They did end up making it though.

I second the zone diet. Once you figure it out its really easy to follow. Good details on crossfit. Also, many elite mountaineers are making huge improvements by following crossfit and crossfit endurance. Many dive right in and only follow those sites. Improving their strength and stamina and slashing the amount of time they train.

For me train, train, train turned into injuries and more injuries.

AlexFTGU
12-16-2008, 04:56 PM
Denali can be climbed on your own relatively cheaply. $150 park fee, $300 or so for the flight and that's it. Except for all the gear and food. I'm at a point where I'd be comfortable leading a trip there.

I'm going out there in about two years...I'm just going to go ahead and say, Sarah Palin ruined Alaska for me...I can't wait to get there and form my own opinion..

iceclimber
12-17-2008, 07:26 AM
yes, one needs to be in the best shape of their lives, but don't go overboard which could lead to training injuries which would prevent your climb and don't stop having a life because all you do is train. You could be in the best shape of your life and altitude could affect you, thus bringing your trip to an unexpected halt. Many people have climbed Everest and the following year returned only to have altitude hit them unlike the previous year. It is a gamble. Being in great shape will certainly give you a better chance, but there have been studies which have shown that those who trained for a marathon actually did worse at high altitude than a normal guy who did not train as hard. It had to do with the marathon runner's body requiring more oxygen per breath.

One does not race up Denali. One camps their way up. As climbabout mentioned, there is indeed A LOT of down time. I have chatted with numerous professional mountaineers who have been up Denali more than a few times. As Bill O and Climbabout also hinted at, the endurance aspect is what one really needs to work on. Usually for most guided trips you will plug away for an hour then rest, then repeat. So, if your workout times are less than 1 hour, you will have to deal with another mental aspect once you get there, but that is really what it is, mental.

I have friends who would be strong enough for Denali, but they would admit themselves that they lack the desire and mental fortitude for such an undertaking. Climbing Denali's West Buttress is indeed no glorified hike with a heavy pack, but an endurance marathon of cold, pain and playing the hurry up and wait game. I was given this nugget of advice from a mountaineer up in North Conway:

"The ones who are most successful on mountains like Denali, are those who have no agenda, they are just there and enjoy the moment. They are not constantly worrying about whether or not they will summit." This is great advice and while I too have experienced summit fever before, I will be going with this advice in my mind's eye this coming summer.

One more thing. I strongly agree with Bill O that one who is going to climb Denali should make him/herself very familiar with the route through photos, books, journals, informative videos and through talking with people who have been there. This is an obvious must for anyone going unguided, but is certainly a great advantage to those who plan to go guided. I have spent the last year and a half getting very familiar with the West Buttress route. It has only made me more pumped for this summer.

iceclimber
12-19-2008, 03:41 PM
whoa mama, 1 degree up there right now. Quite a change from Orlando's current 78 degrees. That's ok, I'll be prepared. The minutes are ticking now till go time. We fly up to upstate NY tomorrow. Good thing not today by the looks of it. I just hope that a storm doesn't prevent our drive North next weekend. Merry Christmas to all.

iceclimber
12-23-2008, 12:47 PM
So, how goes it everyone? Been having some cold snowy weather down here in Cato, NY. I've been sleeping out in my tent and it's been right dandy. A few more days and we'll be up in your neck of the woods. Maybe some of us will bump into each other on the mountain.

iceclimber
12-26-2008, 08:42 PM
It is with great regret that I must inform all who knew about my intended trip to Mount Washington, that our trip has been postponed. We drove up from NY yesterday evening. We had a hotel booked in Woodsville (I believe) the all seasons hotel in Vermont. Well, my brother-in-law developed a serious stomach flu on the way up and by the time we arrived around 1am to Woodsville had lost quite a bit of fluids and a great deal of stamina. So, after we woke up (or should I say I woke up as he did not sleep to well) we found that he was still in dire straits so I concluded it would be best to return home rather than pursue our trip.

Man, that was a tough call since I had done quite a bit of planning and we were both jazzed about it.

Well, we got back to NY this afternoon. We are both obviously bummed, but what can you do? Things happen. It was a good dose of learning that the best laid plans can come apart due to uncontrollable circumstances. I think that anyone would agree that learning to deal with disappointment and plans that fall to ruin is a trait you need to get a grasp of if you are going to have fun with mountaineering.

Mt. Washington will still be there, Lord willing. We'll have another go one day at it. I am just grateful for the snow and cold here at my Wife's parent's home where I can still camp out and get some good cold camping in while I am up here for the holidays.

So, sadly, there will be no pictures yet. Happy new year everyone.

iceclimber
12-27-2008, 03:14 PM
Ah, we indeed made the right decision coming back. My brother-in-law has become almost a permanent fixture in the bathroom. Looks like the weather would have been nasty with sleet and wind anyways.

Well, sorry to keep adding replies to my own replies, but it seems like it is a ghost town in here for the holidays.