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gomek

West Butt Trip Report with link to pics

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Team "Danger Duck" was in full affect on Denali from 5/22 - 6/7. Team Danger Duck was myself, Rod, Lonny, and Gary.

 

Pic link

Denali Pics

 

 

 

5/20 - Flew from Seattle to Anchorage arriving a little after midnight. Got picked up by Denali Overland and were whisked away to Talkeetna.

 

5/21 4:00 AM - Dropped off at the Talkeetna Air Taxi bunkhouse in town. We ended up dropping our gear and walking the mean streets of Talkeetna for a few hours until the Roadhouse let us in to feed our faces. After eating we headed straight to the airport just to be told that all flights were on hold due to the weather. Enter stage left - The West Rib Pub and its wonderful Ice Axe Ale. Sure they say you can only have 2 but 2 at lunch in the restaurant and 2 an hour later in the bar and I was feeling no pain. Add a few more Alaskan Ambers to the tab and me and my "Roadie" bottle of Sierra Pale were staggering back to the Airport to crash.

 

5/22 8:00 AM - I'm not going to lie to you, I was hurting. After eating breakfast "twice" Rod and I spent most the morning hanging out at the Ranger Station people watching and reading old Alpinist issues. The Rangers had us convinced we would be stuck in Talkeetna for several days due to the weather. Around 1:00 PM we headed back over to TAT to meet Gary and Lonny. After hanging out for a few minutes the call came that flights would be leaving ASAP. After a lot of starting and stopping and a short 6 hour wait we were on our way to Base camp. After an uneventful flight and landing we found ourselves on the glacier sorting gear and packing our sleds. After just a few minutes a huge avalanche broke loose up the glacier from us off the flanks of Mt Hunter. A short time after this I hear someone calling my name (actually by a nick name), it is another buddy I knew would be at base camp who was going to attempt Hunter. They had been surveying the Lowe-Kennedy route and had nearly been buried in the avalanche. Welcome to the Alaska range I thought to my self. After saying our goodbye's we headed off into the "night" bound for 7,800 camp.

 

5/23 - We got a late start and single carried up to 9,000'. No one felt like pushing it so we set up camp.

 

5/24 - Best weather day on the trip by far, hot and not a cloud in the sky. Carried to 11,000.

 

5/25 - Moved to 11,000.

 

5/26 - 5/31 was miserable for the most part. It never really stormed but the weather was crap. It never seemed to stop snowing. After a few crappy days at 11,000' made a carry in bad weather to 14k. The top of motorcycle hill was actually worse than Windy Corner. After a rest day we moved up to 14K, on 5/29 I think.

 

6/1 - Carried up to 17,200'. When we left camp it was snowing but we wanted to get moving. About the time we got on the fixed lines the weather started to clear. The ridge walk up to camp we were treated to spectacular views and no wind. We cached right outside of high camp, even at 8:00 PM it was warm. We all knew a bunch of people must have made the summit. We headed down getting back to camp at midnight.

 

6/2 - Rest

 

6/3 - Move to 17,200 camp. This was a long haul and it was cold and windy as we approached camp.

 

6/4 - Rest, retrieve cache.

 

6/5 - A lot of people were up early so we started getting ready. While we were getting geared up Rod got his hands cold to the point we could not rewarm them and he was forced to stay behind. We left camp and were shortly stuck in a high altitude traffic jam on Denali Pass. Above Denali Pass the wind remained reasonable and we continued. Once we reached the Football field I was bumbed to see we had to decend a 100' and even more bumbed to see Pig hill still facing us. The flip side of course was we could see the summit! After an eturnity and another traffic jam on the summit ridge we were on top with a bunch of lame ass french guys on SAT phones and an even more lame group of USC Frat boys who actually refused to take our picture because they were "to busy" getting their summit shots. After snapping a few shots of our own we headed down, arriving in camp at 9:00 PM, an 11 hour day.

 

6/6 - 6/7 - We packed up and left high camp at 1:00 PM. We decided to push straight through to base camp and a short 13.5 hours later we were there! The hike down from 7,800' to Base really was wonderful. We left 7,800 at 11:00PM and were all alone on the glacier. We were so hopeful that the weather would be good enough for flying that we didn't even set our tents up. After getting aced out of our first position by a very crafty Alpine Ascents guide/group we flew out a bit before noon. After landing we shot over to the West Rib (After checking out and dropping off our CMC's with the rangers) for more Ice Axe Ale and A LOT of food. We caught the 3:30 PM Shuttle to Anchorage and the 7:30 PM flight home to Seattle.

 

The End...

 

IMG_4906.sized.jpg

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Congrats to Team Danger Duck on the summit and on the excellent pics on your link. Our team was coming down the mountain around this time so we must have passed you guys on the way out. We were in the 11,000 camp on the 24th but stayed overnight and went out the following day. Sounds like you guys blew right through from 17,000 to BC. That must have killed the old feet. We too were bummed out when we saw the descent onto the field and at the sight of Pig Hill, however, we couldn't see the top of the hill due to the weather. Too bad about the poor weather the last week of May. We lucked out and were off the mountain just before it moved in.

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Thanks Guys,

Congrats on making it to the Football Field Flatlander! We had some friends that didn't make it up to high camp earlier this season. Coming straight down from 17,000 wasn't to bad but the feet were in agony the last few miles.

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Now that I got to see what you look like......I must say, You arent the dick I pictured you to be.

 

Nice work.

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