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Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Summit Day Pics....

Summit day was a 12 hour round trip from high camp (C4) in which we faced brutal winds getting up and around Denali Pass (at 18,200') after which however the winds abated as we climbed higher to a manageable 15mph on the summit with clear skies over the Alaskan range....




David Cole





Jimmy Herbaugh & Ryan O'Niell




James Ludka & Jimmy Herbaugh



Ryan O'Niell




Mike Alexander





Lee Farmer





Lee, David & Mike

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Off the mountain

After an intensive session in talkeetna the team are now fully rehydrated.
Currently continuing rehydration programme on the alaskan railroad.
Mike
Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device

Monday, June 27, 2011

SMS from 881632530073@msg.iridium.com

27TH GOT OUT OF BASIN AND ALL WAY TO AIRSTRIP 13HRS NO PLANES FOG!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

SMS from 881632530073@msg.iridium.com

26TH DUG TENTS OUT OF 3FT OF SNOW AVALANCHES LAST NIGHT BUT WE MOVE TONIGHT AS WEATHER BETTER

Saturday, June 25, 2011

SMS from 881632530073@msg.iridium.com

25TH STORMBOUND! HIGH WINDS AND SNOW KEEPING US TENT BOUND HOPING IT WILL CLEAR LATER

SMS from 881632530073@msg.iridium.com

24TH WITH HUGE LOADS 100LBS MADE IT ALONG TRAVERSE AND DOWN HEADWALL INTO BASIN CAMP

Friday, June 24, 2011

SMS from 881632530073@msg.iridium.com

ON THE 23RD WE AWOKE TO A SMALL WEATHER WINDOW WE TOOK A CHANCE AND ALL TEAM MEMBERS SUMMITTED!! WE DONE DQ TEAM

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

SMS from 881632530073@msg.iridium.com

BATTERED BY STRONG WINDS AND STUCK AT CIV FOOD AND FUEL A CONCERN BUT SPIRITS HIGH FORTITUDINE VINCINIMUS!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

SMS from 881632530073@msg.iridium.com

STILL AT C IV COLD + SUNNY BUT CAN'T GO HIGHER WINDS TOO STRONG TEAM OK

Monday, June 20, 2011

SMS from 881632530073@msg.iridium.com

20TH SNOW BOUND AT CAMP IV WEATHER LOOKS SAME FOR NEXT 48HRS SO WE HAVE TO STICK IT OUT FOR BETTER WEATHER

Sunday, June 19, 2011

SMS from 881632530073@msg.iridium.com

TOUGH DAY MOVING TO HIGH CAMP HEAVY LOADS UP HEAD WALL AND RIDGE BUT CAMP ALL SET UP WE ARE READY

Saturday, June 18, 2011

SMS from 881632530073@msg.iridium.com

TODAY 18TH A RESTDAY PREPARING FOR MOVE TO HIGH CAMP WEATHER DETERIORATING POSSIBLE SUMMIT 21ST/24TH

SMS from 881632530073@msg.iridium.com

17TH DID A LOAD CARRY UP HEADWALL PAST WASHBURNS THUMB INTO CIV AND RETURN WEATHER AMAZING ALL WELL

Thursday, June 16, 2011

SMS from 881632530073@msg.iridium.com

ON 17TH WE LOAD CARRY TO HIGH CAMP WE HAUE LOADS OF FOOD AND FUEL AND WEATHER LOOKING GOOD FOR PUSH

SMS from 881632530073@msg.iridium.com

ALL WELL RESTING AT BASIN CAMP GETTING FUEL AND FOOD OFF DESCENDING TEAMS AND HELPING THEM OUT COOKING FOR THEM

SMS from 881632530073@msg.iridium.com

SUNNY WEATHER ON OUR REST DAY MANY TEAMS GOING UP BUT TOO MUCH FRESH SNOW WE THINK

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

SMS from 881632530073@msg.iridium.com

STILL SNOWING AND SAW AUALANCHE WE ARE 2 DAYS AHEAD OF SCHEDULE AND SITTING OUT BAD WEATHER

SMS from 881632530073@msg.iridium.com

TODAY THE 15TH LOTS OF SNOWFALL -20C IN TENT LAST NIGHT COLLECTED CACHE

SMS from 881632530073@msg.iridium.com

MOVEDTO BASIN CAMP PASSED FOOD CACHE AND CROSSED LARGE CREVASSES SET UP CAMP AND RESTED

Monday, June 13, 2011

SMS from 881632530073@msg.iridium.com

A REST DAY - 13TH BEFORE MOVE TO BASIN CAMP AT 4330M SNOWING AND - 15C ON LAST NIGHTS LOAD CARRY ALL TEAM DOING WELL

SMS from 881632530073@msg.iridium.com

A REST DAY - 13TH BEFORE MOVE TO BASIN CAMP AT 4330M SNOWING AND - 15C ON LAST NIGHTS LOAD CARRY ALL TEAM DOING WELL

SMS from 881632530073@msg.iridium.com

A GOOD SLEDGE PULL INTO MOTORCYCLE HILL CAMP AND LOAD CARRY PAST SQUIRREL POINT AND WINDY POINT LEFT GEAR CACHE AND BACK TO CAMP

Saturday, June 11, 2011

SMS from 881632530073@msg.iridium.com

FROM CAMP 1 UP SKI HILL IN THE NIGHT COLD -13C SET UP CP AT BOTTOM OF KAHITNA PASS NEXT CAMP AT MOTORCYCLE HILL LEE"S BDAY ALL WELL

Friday, June 10, 2011

SMS from 881632530073@msg.iridium.com

LEFT BC 2AM CROSSED MANY CREVASSES IN SNOW FOG IN C1 @ 6AM SET UP CAMP AND SLEPT UP NOW ENJOYING THE SUN AND VIEWS ALL WELL

Thursday, June 9, 2011

SMS from 881632530073@msg.iridium.com

TEAM WERE POPULAR IN TALKEETNA NOW IN BC ALL TEAM WELL WEATHER GOOD NO WIND + SUNNY MOVING TO+BC+C1 TONIGHT

Monday, June 6, 2011

Anchored down in Anchorage

Me and Lee arrive with lots of gear.
Mike
Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Welcome to another blog of the 2011 Denali Quest Expedition, in this blog we'll bring you some information of the West Buttress route. The route the expedition will be attempting. As we mentioned in the last blog, the West Buttress route was pioneered in 1951, by Barry Bishop, Bill Hackett, Bradford Washburn, Henry Buchtel, Jerry More, Jim Gale & Mel Griffiths. Today is remains the most popular route on the mountain with around 80% of climbers attempting Denali using this route.

It is the easiest route lacking many of the technical difficulties that other routes have. However these statements are decieving. The mountain is big, cold, and has unpredictable weather. Around 1,000 climber attempt the West Buttress route annually and only around 50% summit. Statistically around 100 acquire altitude sickenss (AMS) or frostbite, and twelve rescues are made. Despite the relatively large numbers of climbers the Denali National Park Service encourage a philosophy of self-sufficiency amongst the expedition teams Unfortunately around 40 climbers have died on the West Buttress route since records began.

Getting there, from Anchorage the team will drive for around three hours to Talkeetna. A frontier town known as a 'happy drinking town with a mountaineering problem!' From Talkeetna the team takes a ski plane for a 45 minute flight to the mountain. It is possible to walk to the mountain but this takes 5-6 days, the team are subscribing to the Alaskan adage 'fly and hour or walk a week!'. The team lands at Kahiltna Base Camp at around 2,200m.

Camp 1 'Ski Hill' will be established at 2375 m at the confluence of the main Kahiltna Glacier and the heavily crevassed Northeast Fork. The first part of this trip is down hill and is known as 'Heartbreak Hill' and will skirt around the base of Mt Foraker and Mt Crosson and the west side of Mt Frances.The journey is around 9Km long and will take 3-6 hours from Kahiltna Base Camp.

Camp 2 'Motorcycle Hill' is at 3,350 m and will take around 4-9 hours to cover the 7Km. After this camp the ground gets a lot steeper so the snow shoes and sledges will be left behind here and the team will 'cache-and-carry' loads of food and equipment up the mountain.

Camp 3 'Basin Camp' At about 3,700m the team get to squirrel point, named after a red squirrel that was spotted here. Then up through Windy Corner at 4040m to camp as Basin Camp at an altitude of 4,330m. This will take between 4-8 hours and gain 980 metres.

Camp 4 'High Camp' Is the last camp before launching the summit bid. Getting there covers steep angled snow slopes and a massive headwall of ice and snow fixed lines are in place for protection. The camp is at an altitude of 5,245m and will take 3-8 hours to reach from Basin Camp.

Summit attempts will be made from High Camp. There is 950m to gain and it will take anywhere between 8-16 hours to gain the summit. Despite only being 4Km away from camp. The team pass through Denali Pass at 5,545m and over a flat section known as the Football Field at 5,945m then towards the summit at an altitude of 6,194m.

If successful then we descend from the summit down to Camp 2 rest, pick up food and equipment and then onto Camp 1 rest here and then back to Kalhitna Base Camp.

Then blogs on the expedition will be a lot shorter because of character limits using the texting service, but we hope these early blogs give you a taste of our adventure.

Thank you for all the support and encouraging texts and emails already. Please do tell all your friends to follow our blog – it can be a hard and lonely place up there on the mountain and those messages of support give the team a big boost.

You can contact the group via SMS go to http://messaging.iridium.com/

Type in the satellite phone number 00 8816 325 30073 and enter your message.

Be safe in whatever you do.

Lee Farmer

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Some quick thoughts...

First off, I'd like to take this opportunity to thank my wife and children, my climbing expedition crew , and my mother for supporting me on this vacation. I certainly would not be attempting this without all of you! Further, there are few occasions where a group of gentlemen from all over the globe (many who I've never even met) can assemble for the sole purpose to have fun! ( and freeze our backsides off at the same time.) It is an honor and privilege to be a member of this expedition. And boy is there a lot of crap to drag up this thing! One solid step at a time...
Si se puede!


James


Welcome to the second blog of the 2011 Denali Quest Expedition, in this blog we'll bring you some information of the climbing history of the mountain. There was no doubt early exploration in the area surrounding Denali was by the Athabaskan people who inhabit the wider area around the mountain.  They referred to the mountain as Dinale or Denali, which translated means 'the high one' or 'the great one'. 

Readers however may also be aware of the mountain's other name McKinley.   In the late 1890's a gold prospector named the mountain McKinley in political support for the then president William McKinley.

 

Today the mountain is known by both names, because the Alaska Board of Geographic Names changed the name back to Denali, and locally it is known by this name. However in 1975 the Alaskan State legislature requested the name be changed through the United States Board on Geographic Names was blocked by Ohio congressmen.  As William McKinley's hometown was in Ohio.  So today the name Denali is correct in the eyes of the Alaskan state board, whilst McKinley is correct to the USA National board.

 

Like many mountains the world over, there's curious names association with features on the mountain.  Wickersham Wall was named after Judge James Wickersham who in 1903 made the first recorded attempt at scaling the mountain via the Peters Glacier and the North Face known today as Wickersham Wall. This route was not actually climbed until 1963.

 

Dr Frederick Cook claimed he had climbed the mountain and gained the first ascent in 1906.  Though his claim was highly suspicious, though it was widely believed.  He also laid claim to being the first to the North Pole in 1909. His claim to the first ascent of Denali, was later proved false by Bradford Washburn.

 

The Sourdough Expedition in 1910 comprised of Tom Lloyd, Peter Anderson, Billy Taylor, and Charles McGonagall), they attempted Denali despite a complete lack of climbing experience.  They devoted three months to achieving the first ascent.  Their summit day equipment comprised of a bag of doughnuts, thermos flasks of hot chocolate, and a 14 foot (4.2m) spruce pole. Only two of the made it to the North Summit. Which is actually the lower of the two peaks. Here they erected the spruce pole.  They recorded that they took 18 hours and this impressive time has never been bettered.  When they returned back to civilisation no one believed that they had reached the summit, until the first true ascent in 1913 confirmed their claims.

 

The first true ascent came on the 7th June 1913, by a party led by Hudson Stuck. The first people to reach the summit were Walter Harper and Harry Karstens. They pioneered a route via the Muldrow Glacier, a route still popular today.  Harry Stuck spied through binoculars the large spruce pole on the North Summit, and confirmed the Sourdough expedition's claims.

 

Today it is still widely believed that the Sourdough expedition did truly succeed. However the pole was never seen before or since, so there is still an element of doubt. 

 

Denali is regularly climbed today in the short summer season of May to July.  Around 58% of those attempting the mountain make it to the summit.  It has claimed the lives of around 110 climbers and the most popular route is the West Buttress Route, pioneered in 1951 by Bradford Washburn.

 

Be safe in whatever you do

 

 

Lee Farmer

 

2011 Denali Quest Expedition


 
 
 





Monday, May 30, 2011

Denali is one of the last great wilderness expedition challenges left in this ever decreasing world. At 6,194 metres it certainly isn't the highest mountain in the world, being dwarfed by many Himalayan and South American peaks. However it's Arctic environment, extremes of diurnal temperatures, hard storms, and it's great height above the Alaskan plain, make it a severe testing ground. Not only for personal strength and will, but for teamwork and friendships. There is a huge burden on logistics and equipment, nothing can afford to go wrong.

The 2011 Denali Quest Expedition team have been self selected for their experience on expeditions, especially in extreme environments. The team members are: David Cole (Australia), Lee Farmer (England), Mike Alexander (England), Jimmy Herbaugh (USA), Ryan O'Neill (USA), James Ludka (USA).

Denali is one of the coveted Seven Summits. The quest to reach the highest points on every continent. First achieved in 1985 by American Dick Bass, and in 1986 by Canadian Pat Morrow, and also in 1986 Austrian Reinhold Messner. To date around 275 climbers have completed the challenge (January 2010). Two variations are accepted incorporating either Puncak Jaya or Kosciuszko.

The Seven Summits are:

Africa Kilimanjaro 5,895m / 19,340'
Asia Everest 8,848m / 29,029'
S America Aconcagua 6,962m / 22,841'
N America Denali 6,198m / 20,335'
Europe Elbrus 5,642m / 18,510'
Antarctica Vinson 4,892m / 16,050'
Oceania Puncak Jaya (Carstenz Pyramid) 4,884m/16,024'
or Kosciuszko 2,228m / 7,310'

If successful, David Cole will gain his fourth mountain peak of the sought after seven summits, and for Lee Farmer; it will be his seventh and final peak. Lee will achieve membership into one of the most exclusive and sought after clubs in mountaineering circles and David will be well on his way.

For members of the 2011 Denali Quest Expedition attempting Denali is a chance of a lifetime. Jimmy Herbaugh, Ryan O'Neill, James Ludka, are looking forward to scaling their country's highest mountain and fulfilling lifelong ambitions.

The 2011 Denali Quest Expedition is an unguided and independent expedition, who are attempting Denali by the West Buttress Route arguably one of the more straight forward routes on the mountain. However it will require great physical effort, sound judgement and skill in mountaineering practices, patience, acclimatisation, and a bit of luck.

You can contact us via the satellite phone whilst on expedition (8th June – 30th June). To send an SMS Message go: http://messaging.iridium.com type in the satellite phone number 8816 325 30073 and text up to 160 characters.

In the next blog we'll be telling you about some of the history of the mountain, the West Buttress route, and the preparation in putting this expedition together.


Be safe in whatever you do.

Lee Farmer
2011 Denali Quest Expedition