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jobe

Doug Geeting Aviation Screws Climbers

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I just got back from 12 days on Denali and treated like crap by Doug Geeting Aviation. We waited for 6 hours the day we got into Talkeetna as we "waited for the glacier to warm-up." Meanwhile, tourists were coming and going. The girl working there even admitted we were being kept there until they ran out of tourists to take. While this was annoying, it was nothing near the anger I experienced when waiting to fly out. We waited for 8 hours on the glacier as about 30 other climbers (including 3 Alpine Ascents teams) were flown off the mountain by other air services. All but 4 had arrived at the airstrip after us but were quickly flown off. The only DGA plane to arrive had tourists who had payed the extra money for a "glacier walk," only to find they were picking up smelly climbers. Two other climbers waiting with us confirmed our assumption told us that DGA hates climbers. Anyways, I left a note for Doug when I finally flew in and just recieved a response:

 

Dear Joel, I'm very sorry that you were not happy with the service we

provided you.

It has been a tough year for us. WE lost an airplane on the tokositna river

sandbar a few days prior to your pick up date. AS you may try to understand

the difficulty in re-arranging a schedule that is already full to max

capacity for three planes now having only two. AS much as we try to get

other air to help us out on those busy days, they too are booked heavy with

charters previously booked from last winters bookings. TAT had the same

thing last month. The lost an airplane on the Kahiltna base camp. As much

as they tried, they too had pissed off climbers waiting at the base camp.

Something's just cant be helped Joel. Not even for you.

I know that non of what I'm saying makes any difference to you when your

waiting on the Kahiltna for an airplane. For 27 years I have flown

climbers. I have never treated climbers as anything but "equal" citizens

with the rest of humanity. They mom and pop that books a flight tour has

just the same priority as the climber who has to wait a while for glacier

pick up. Why should I cancel the mom and pop who have been planning on their

flight around the mountain for months?

 

First off, climbers do not schedule a pick up time with us in advance. On a

busy day Joel, how would you suggest we handle it? Cancel the days flights

for the day when the climber shows up at base camp? Id appreciate any

suggestions.

I've tried it all, been there done that. Do you have any idea where I make

my money? It an't from climbers. Its from the flight seeing.

 

Just so you know, if it weren't for the flight tourist coming up here, the

price to the Kahiltna glacier would be more like $700 per person. Who do

you think pays for all this equipment? Climbers? Not.... Ask the other

the other guys too if you think I'm a liar. My 27 years in this biz tells

me that.

 

So to end this letter, you can say what you will about me and my company.

My reputation in this business is good enough to pull me through any mud

slinging from you. I'll just shake it off like a bad case of the flees and

keep on going. Cuz after servicing and survived the Denali flying for 27

years. I guess I must be doing something right, but I'm not perfect. I

have room for improvement, but in this case Joel, no learning is required.

 

I do appreciate your agony of having to wait a few hours on the Kahiltna

glacier with all that awful scenery. maybe you should give up the mountain

wilderness thing if it bothers you to wait for a few hours longer in such a

wonderfull setting. or,

 

you might try a little patients and understanding of certain events that led

up to your anger.

WE didnt plane on making you wait. It wasnt deliberate. It was a schedualing

thing that was beyound our reasonable meens to do anything about that.

WE didnt go out of our way to make your trip a bad one. WE simply try to

provide transport service to the glaciers and do the very best that we can

with what we have. for as little cost to you as possible. I dont

appologise for that.

 

DG

 

In response, all these "months in advance" bookings seem like nonsense to me. As I was writing my note to Doug tourists were constantly streaming in setting up flights for the day. There is no way they get totally booked months in advance. DGA says they treat climbers equally, but it's pretty obvious that since climbers "don't pay for any of this equipment" we're unimportant to his business. If this is the case, he has no need for any of our business. Talkeetna Air, K2 and Hudson all seemed to treat their climbers well so use one of them and let Doug Geeting take care of the tourists like he wants.

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jobe - sorry, guy, but I'm going with Geeting on this one. Big deal, 8 hours!! He's right, try flying into the Kluane Icefields where there arn't any tourist flights helping to lower the cost of glacier landings - 700 - 900 dollars is the going rate! And the last time I flew into the Kluane icefields, it took 5 days to fly in and 8 days, yes jobe, 8 days to fly out, not 8 hours............when you go into the Alaska Range, you have to totally change your outlook on time and expectations. Doug is a good guy and has helped a LOT of climbers get out alive under tough conditions - cut him some slack!

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Jobe, I know what you are saying but that is the way it works. I have flown in & out with Hudson. Weather made it hard getting in and out.

I just used TAT. Paul did not want to fly into the West Fork of the Ruth do to the recent snow fall. We opted to wait til the next morning for firmer conditions. He said he did not want to fly in but would if we really wanted too but really did not want to. He told the folks at the flight service he was probably going to "stick a plane on the West Fork". He hesitantly took up, did a light test landing to pack the run way and test the snow and then set the plane smooth as silk.

 

14 days later, we were at the Mountain House landing strip. we had told them on Thursday that we wanted out Saturday morning if possible. We hoped for 1st thing in the moring before they started flying tourist in. We watched TAT bring in tourist all day. I asked the pilot when we were schedualed to fly out. I then found out they had just flipped on of their newest planes on the West Fork of the Kahiltna. They were flying 3 climbers out at 11pm when it happened. $200,000 plane nearly totaled. Anyway, they were short a plane.

Another flight service offered to help get us our. I flew out with another service willing to help TAT out. TAT got my partners out moments later.

Later that day, Geeting let Paul borrow his Beaver to help get some of his clients off the mountain.

It is hard to be patient when you are looking forward to a West Rib Summit Burger and a couple cowboy sodas and you ready to get off. Seeing the "tourist" flying in frustrated us also but it just part of the game.

Jedi

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holy shit that guy can fly a plane. he spells worse then i do!!!!

 

yeah jobe. sux and all, but i think d.g. is in the complete right and when he said:

quote:

I do appreciate your agony of having to wait a few hours on the Kahiltna

glacier with all that awful scenery. maybe you should give up the mountain

wilderness thing if it bothers you to wait for a few hours longer in such a

wonderfull setting.


that was the smack down right there!!!! SMACK DOWN

 

good luck next time.

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So much for "the customer is always right" [laf][laf][laf]

 

I guess that doesen't "fly" in Alaska [laf][laf][laf]

 

I am with the other 2 reponses, some area's of the world just require more patience than here in the PNW where instant gratification is the norm.

 

Sorry they made you feel like they were not respecting you as a paying customer though, that sucks.

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perhaps purchasing your own plane would solve the problem [Razz] just a thought [Wink]

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Jobe, next time walk. Those guys have enough on their hands without dealing with whiners like you. Step back and look at the BIGGER picture and just be really thankful that you can fly in there at all! It's a privilege to be able to have them scoop you up so you can relax with a cold one back in Talkeetna. Why shouldn't he take tourists on flights? He has a great point. Just accept it. [big Drink]

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I just returned from the Alaska Range/Talkeetna and experienced similar delays with the air taxi service we used. However, I am in complete agreement with how the Talkeetna based air taxi services operate.

 

The air taxi services in Talkeetna are like any other commercial business. They got to make a little money and do it within a short business season. Efficently operating their planes by flying scheduled tourists in and out helps them 'meet the bottom line'.

 

Doug Geeting will extend himself to get climbers in and out of the mountains. We waited for a day and a half to get flown in with TAT due to weather. It was not until Geeting boldly landed on the glacier under very limited visabilty conditions that the other air taxi services were compled to give it a go themselves. Doug paved the way.

 

When flying back to Talkeetna coordinate with Lisa or whoever the base camp manager is at the time to fly out first thing the next morning. You don't see any tourists on the glacier at 8am when the sun is below the rigde line and the temp is less then 60 degrees.

 

And like what others have said, be patient, absorb the environment you're in and enjoy the views of Hunter, Foraker and Crossen.

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When we came out of Denali many years ago, we told base camp Annie we needed a lift back to Talkeetna with Doug Geeting not knowing when we would get back to Talkeetna. We arrived at 9:00p.m. that night to base camp. We were then told that we were going to leave in 30 minutes becuase a plane was coming in.

 

I wish I would have had 8 hours to just sit and enjoy the splendor of those mountains.

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i have to agree with everyone elses response on this one. i just got back a couple of weeks ago and we went with geeting as well. we had great luck and everyone seemed to be very cool that worked for him.

 

yeah there were some delays, but that is life. on our flight out we got crammed into a 185 with all our gear and a couple of tourists, yet it didn't bother us one bit because of where we were. enjoy the place, it is a once in a lifetime experience. i would have been pissed if i was one of those tourists. they are paying a crapload of money for a short flight with no gear.

 

we got lucky on our way out and caught a plane right when we got to basecamp. the pilot actually turned around to come and get us. on the way back he did some acrobatics and buzzed the talkeetna river. now that is f-in service.

 

i heard from alot of climbers up there that TAT is the service to go with if you are climbing, but it sounds like they have the same problems as geeting even though they are the climbers air taxi.

 

you should be thankful you weren't on one of planes that wrecked.

 

by the way were you with that group from boeing that left about on the 14th or 15th? if so did you summit?

 

j

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I agree Stefan - in my opinion, the time spent waiting in basecamp is the most relaxing and best time of the whole trip. The stress of climbing is over, I can catch up on my reading, enjoy the mountains, enjoy the ambiance of basecamp, eat lots of food (previously stashed), the hustle and bustle of the city and home will arrive soon enough - enjoy the calm before the storm!

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What I would do right now to be away from my desk and sitting for 8 hours at base camp on the Kahiltna! Jobe, I guess you've never heard the phrase, "Patience is a Virtue". You should try it sometime. It might actually extend your life. If you want instant gratification, maybe you should stick to the South Side on Hood or spend more time in a rock gym? [Wink]

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TAT and Geeting will also put you in where no other services dare to land. I do appreciate it.

Jedi

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This is RURP:

Mr. Jobe needs to relax. A good number of years ago, we waited several days in Talkeetna for the weather to change. When it did, the brave pilots flew 24 hours a day to get people to and from the mountains. On the way back from McKinley, a couple of people in my group had to wait TEN days on the Kahiltna after the climb for the weather and backlog of flights to clear. I was lucky and left the climb early because I was not feeling good. Doug Geeting flew me out despite the pleading of the late famous Swiss guide, Ray Genet, who was begging for my plane so he could get back to Talkeetna to have dinner with some German businessmen.

If you are in a big stinking hysterical post-modern impatient rush, the big mountains are not for you! Those pilots risk their lives for your entertainment. Eight hours on the Kahiltna...OH THE PAIN AND FRUSTRATION!!! [Roll Eyes][Roll Eyes][Roll Eyes]

RURP has spoken.

 

[ 06-28-2002, 10:33 AM: Message edited by: RURP ]

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I would have liked to see the note you wrote for Doug.... his response sounds like you burnt his ear off. There would be no reason for DG to have the hostile edge he had in his response had you made a reasonable comment to him.

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I have flown with Getting a couple of times, and always been treated well. DG and TAT are the only outfits that will fly to the upper Tokositna. K2 used to fly to some wild places in his Super Cub, but I think they are more interested in Beaver flights to Kahiltna International.

 

I agree that your note to Doug must have been a nasty one. Take a red and chill you little whiny b....

 

[ 06-28-2002, 01:00 PM: Message edited by: crazyjz ]

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Welcome the CC website Jobe, sit back and enjoy the spray. That is our initiating the feeble. If you can take all our shit then you might be able to brave our approaches. Then well let you start spraying about renegade bolters.

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Betty has not been to Alaska, but...

Jobe or whatever new guys name is said he was waiting in talkeetna...now waiting in Talkeetna would suck...and Betty will go against the cc.com tide to say that DG should have dropped them off a little sooner if possible...

 

But, if Jobe was waiting on the Glacier, perhaps Betty knows why...especially if others were leaving? Don't always assume you know the reason why Doug was so slow to come get you...

Did Jobe do something to be a d&*ck to the Base Camp Betty Lisa? If so, plane rides out can definitely be slow to arrive!!!

What was Jobe's team name? Betty will find out what you did and let you know...

 

[ 06-28-2002, 03:53 PM: Message edited by: Big Wall Betty ]

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In this case you definately can't plan to be taken out exactly when you want. You have to realize that they'll come get you when they can. Eight hours is a pretty minimal time to wait as some folks wait for days.

 

As far as Doug's scheduling goes, there is no way that you could know how busy his schedule is.

 

I think people have the fast food mentality when it comes to Denali. That is, they think they can plan exactly how it is all going to go. In reality, you are climbing a mountain and things never go as planned.

 

Give a little more respect to DG, he's doing the best he can.

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Glad to see the main thread here came to a resolution. Jobe posted that he has come around, so no need to keep floggin' him with horsecock or whatever. To digress a bit...

 

quote:

Originally posted by MtnHigh:

I just returned from the Alaska Range/Talkeetna and experienced similar delays with the air taxi service we used...When flying back to Talkeetna coordinate with Lisa or whoever the base camp manager is at the time...

MtnHigh, or others who might know,

I thought sweet little Base Camp Annie was the main base camp manager? She used to be the ONLY one all climbing-season long, beginning about 8 years ago. I've gotten a little out of touch with what is going on up there, but was wondering if Lisa is now her replacement, or if there is some sort of new rotation deal for base camp managers that the air taxi services set up. Hmmm...

 

--pindude

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Jobe,

I feel your pain. It sucks to wait but we have to thank those tourists for helping to keep the costs down for us at least a little. Those pilots work there asses off. As for DG's assertion that the tourist's flights are mostly booked months in advance-- he is probably fibbing a little. I've seen many tourists pull up in the mini van, dad gets out asks some questions about booking a flight and then they are off for a Denali flight 45 minutes later.

 

What the longest anybody has been stranded at KIA ? Anybody know? I bet it is an insane number of days.

It helps to bury some high proof whisky at your land/pickup point for your return wait.

 

[big Drink]

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Annie retired. Lisa Roderick (sp?), Paul's (TAT) sister is Annie's replacement. Lisa used to work for Feathered Friend's in Seattle years back and is Westman's girl.

 

Jens, hah, who buries it? I thought you were suppose to take it with you up and down the mountain [chubit]

 

My two partners brought 1/5 of Tequila (sp?), 1/5

of 15 year old scotch and 1/5 of Rum. Not being a liqior drinker, I opted for the 1/2 case of beer for those tent bound days. The beer was gone after the 1st week (I had help) so we got Paul to fly in 18 beers and 3 bags of chips. Those damn Navy SEALS can drink! [big Drink]

Jedi

 

[ 06-28-2002, 08:59 PM: Message edited by: Jedi ]

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This is so funny, does anybody else think this jobe individual sounds like a total lame-ass. I would think that just being up on Denali would be fun. It's not as though you're in LAX waiting for a connecting flight to Dallas or something. You remind me and myself when I'm in Seattle traffic, but you weren't in Seattle traffic, you were on Denali. Maybe the scene was way different than I imagine but I have to say I thought that note DGA wrote you was right on and quite hilarious.

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Thanks, Jedi, for the answer. Annie started the base camp gig around '93-'94. Interestingly, her job immediately before that was as an airline stewardess--she went directly from being a jet-setter with almost all the amenities, to living in the dirty snow with smelly climbers! She was a lot of fun to talk to, and I bet she broke a few hearts, too.

 

quote:

Originally posted by Jarred Jackman:

This is so funny, does anybody else think this jobe individual sounds like a total lame-ass.

Careful, Jarred. If you read back through the thread, Jobe came around after he himself read through the replies of others. So, no, he's not a "total lame-ass," but you could be (I doubt if you are either) by not READING and THINKING before you WRITE! Please don't remind me of crazypolishbobbinghead. [Razz]

 

--Steve

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