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Denali - Climbing Estimates

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first siting:

the denali climbers are in town now. spotted two easily, as they were completely dressed in gore-tex walking down the street near my house on a sunny warm day in los anchorage or it could have just been a couple of guys looking for hookers. the season has begun, be safe, have fun, drink lots of beer at the west rib!

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Man I would love to see someone's TR of how they went light and took up a big bag of weed to trade for food and fuel while on the route. What do they call it, an 'urban legend'? God, just think of the weight savings...

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i used mushsmile.gif to score a sleeping mat, 2 gallons of gas, and about 25 pounds of candy bars (the later while at 17k)

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The key things to remember here are the mountain and the weather. You can certainly summit in 2 weeks, if the mountain lets you. If you do a single carry to ski hill and then move camp every 3 days you're there. This pretty well keeps you to the 1000' a day rule o' thumb.

Day Loc

1 Kahiltna Base

2 Ski Hill

3 Carry to 11

4 Rest/Weather

5 Move to 11

6 Carry to 14|WC

7 Rest/Weather

8 Move to 14

9 Retrieve cache/rest

10 Carry to 16k|17k

11 Rest/weather

12 Move to 17k

13 Rest/weather

14 Summit

15 Descend


Some years you can walk to the top whenever you feel like it. However, when I was there in '98 the success rate was 0% until May 30, which was the first summit day. The success rate went to 11%. I summitted on the 4th of June, which was the second summit day. The success rate went to 19% that day. That means that nobody summitted on any other days during that time. Not super-fit CO studs who sleep at 11k. Not sponsored VIPs with the finest of everything. The final tally for the year was 39%. Significantly lower than avg.


Another friend was there in '02. They had 2 days of unsettled (not bad) weather during the 3 weeks they were there. They could do whatever they wanted, whenever they wanted.


Those are kind of the extremes you need to be aware of. Yes, a fit climber would have no problem punching out the vert without getting sick. Whether you get the window at the right time is really the question. Is it better to take 4 weeks off once or take 2+ weeks off, possibly 2 or 3 times to get it?


Plus, it really does take 4 days to get picked up once in a while. The day we summitted an RMI group voted to descend. They were still at base camp 3 days later when I made it back down. We had 5 ft. of snow at 11 and were stuck there for 2+ days. I finally skied down, solo, thru the night because I was so sick of being there for like 25 days. Everyone who had been coming down was strung out between 14k and BC.


I pulled in at 5:30 in the morning and got in line for Geeting behind the RMI group. The sun came out for the first time in 3 days and 150+ climbers came down and got in line for the planes. By 2 pm there were 200+ folks in BC, milling around. I got lucky and got out on about the second or third plane in. The flight services thought it was opening up and sent 4 planes in. The clouds rolled up the glacier and trapped the pilots in BC for 2 more days. I had to leave Talkeetna with my gear still sitting on the Kahiltna.


None of this had anything to do with my motivation, skill, level of fitness, etc. I was lucky enough to hit the window and had the time. There are so many factors that can control you.


There's really no reason you can't hit 14k in <10 days. Above that you're subject to a whole new ballgame.


Good luck.

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Just got off the mountain on Friday.

Total days: 21

We arrived at 17,200' on day 13 but had to wait for the weather to clear for 6 days. We got to summit because we had allowed more than enough time to sit out any storm (we brought 28 days of food and fuel). This year has been especially stormy. I'll be posting a TR in the days to come so you'll be able to check out how we climbed and all.

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congrats! six days at 17k, that had to have been rough.

looking forward to reading your trip report.


hope you hit the Fairview Inn with your climbing partners afterwards and all got thrown out in the wee hours of the morning...its a good way to end a trip like that!

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Didn't make it to the Fairview Inn but did make it to the West Rib. We didn't spend too much time there because we kept eating and drinking and eating and drinking. Even when we left we did so because if we didn't leave then, we would have been to drunk to do so later.

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