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Thread: Ready for MW?

  1. #21
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    Default winter climb of Mckinley

    B - pick yourself up a copy of the book "minus 148". It's a fascinating read about the first winter ascent of Mckinley in 1967. Makes Mount Washington in the winter look like a tropical island. Mckinley is tough enough in the "summer" climbing season for even the most seasoned climbers.
    Tim

  2. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by climbabout View Post
    B - pick yourself up a copy of the book "minus 148". It's a fascinating read about the first winter ascent of Mckinley in 1967. Makes Mount Washington in the winter look like a tropical island. Mckinley is tough enough in the "summer" climbing season for even the most seasoned climbers.
    Tim
    Am I about right on that number? I know it's a very short list.
    Bill
    Next up: Vermont City Marathon: May, 2011
    EasternLight

  3. #23
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    Not sure about the exact number, but it's very small indeed.
    Tim

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    I've heard of the book before, I'll make sure to pick it up.

    Let's see, a quick google search turns up...Dave Johnston, Art Davidson, and Ray Genet in 1967, Naomi Uemura in 1970, Vern Tejas in 1988, Vladimir Ananich, Artur Testov, and Alex Nikiforov in 1998, also Masatoshi Kuriaki in 1998. Probably some others too. I know that's not all of them, so even if there's 20, I get the point that it's a short list. For some reason I was thinking it was more common and done most years. Hell, I'd still roll the dice on it if I ever thought that I was ready.
    Summa sedes non capit duos

  5. #25
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    From 7summits.com here's the description of climbing seasons on Denali:

    Snow and weather conditions for climbing major Alaska Range peaks are usually best from May through July. Colder minimum temperatures and strong northwest winds commonly occur in May. Late June and July are warmer but more unsettled. By late July, travel on the lower glaciers is made difficult by melting snow bridges over crevasses and by more inclement weather with heavier snowfall and increased avalanche danger. The highest success rates occur in June. April is an excellent month for many of the lower peaks with conditions often cold and clear while the winter extremes still linger on Denali and Mt. Foraker. The coldest weather on Denali is found from November through April with average temperatures ranging from -30F to -70F recorder at the 19,000 foot level. It is not uncommon to find it -50F at the 17,200 foot camp in early May.

    Winter climbing in Denali borders on the ridiculous more because of its unfathomable risks than because of its mountaineering challenge. Some of the world's best climbers have either disappeared or perished form literally being flash frozen! In winter months, the jet stream, +100mph (160 km/h), will often descend over the mountain's upper flanks. Combine this wind with the naturally caused venturi effect that doubles wind velocity in such areas as Denali Pass and you will find one of the most hostile environments on this planet. The combined effect of ferocious wind and extreme cold easily and routinely send the wind chill off the charts.
    Great article from the International Journal of Wilderness on Denali here: http://7summits.com/denali/daryl_mil...wilderness.pdf

    Here's another article on the Russian ascent of Denali in January 1998. Echos the sentiments from Minus 148. This was the first ascent in January (although it doesn't mention other winter ascents). http://classic.mountainzone.com/news/denali.html
    Mark

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  6. #26
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    Great article on the Russians. Smoking tea leaves, I got a laugh out of that. Myself being Russian (ethnicity, not nationality), that doesn't surprise me in the slightest. I get the idea that it's a very difficult climb, and unlike smaller mountains, you can't wait for good weather because you can start your climb and the weather can change suddenly for the worse when you're 15 days out, and I don't think there's any way to forecast that far ahead.

    I was just looking at information on Denali in case I might ever try it years from now and it seems that the Muldrow glacier route is the best route. It's rated as "easy" as the west buttress but doesn't have a terribly long approach. I wouldn't feel right about flying halfway up to climb. Imagine on Washington if you could arrange to ride the snowcat up Tuckerman's to the base of lion's head and only climb from there. I'd consider that to be unsportsmanlike, I'm sure many would disagree but I think to be able to legitimately say that you've successfully climbed a mountain, you need to have not only reached the summit, but have done so starting from the base. I have no doubt that there's examples of specific mountains where this definition would be difficult to apply depending on what constitutes the "base", and it would become an issue of semantics, but I think it's a good rule in the general case. If anyone feels differently about that, that's fine, but that's how I feel so that's the rule I'll apply to myself.

    It was actually reading information about McKinley/Denali last summer that got me wanting to climb in the first place, and I only chose to start with Washington because it's somewhat local to me, not too difficult for a beginner (in my opinion, I already know a hundred times over that this isn't shared by many here) but still a good challenge in the winter. I might or might not ever be ready to attempt Denali but if I was I'd probably want to try it in winter anyway, just seems a whole lot more interesting and unique.

    Anyway, this is all hypothetical for something that won't happen for years if at all. I'm waiting for winter to come again so I can complete Washington without getting injured this time, and then see about moving on to Hood or whatever would qualify me for Rainier, likely finding a school to teach me solo glacier travel techniques before trying a glaciated peak. My apologies for derailing this thread.
    Summa sedes non capit duos

  7. #27
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    If that is the case you should start all your climbs at sea level. Seems unsportsmen like to climb Mount Washington after driving a third of the way up to Pinkham.
    Bill
    Next up: Vermont City Marathon: May, 2011
    EasternLight

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    I just finished reading the book "Into Thin Air" about an Everest Climb gone bad, and the author mentions a guy who came all the way from Sweden on his bicycle because he wanted to do it all under his own power !!!

  9. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by GPB View Post
    I just finished reading the book "Into Thin Air" about an Everest Climb gone bad, and the author mentions a guy who came all the way from Sweden on his bicycle because he wanted to do it all under his own power !!!
    Do you know who that guy is? He is one of the "stars" of Everest: Beyond The Limit

    He finally summitted after multiple attempts.
    Bill
    Next up: Vermont City Marathon: May, 2011
    EasternLight

  10. #30
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    Default goran kropp

    His name was Goran Kropp - he later died in a separate climbing accident.
    Tim

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