Congrats Tim... hope to see some snaps at the next NELFPC meeting.
Long live Ed "Big Daddy" Roth!!
"I don't care about Milwaukee or Chicago." - Yvon LeBlanc
Congrats, Tim! Denali is a tough mountain. If the weather is bad, it isn't forgiving - glad you had good weather for the summit. Great job!
Day 13 copied from link page:
Unlucky day thirteen. It started out well enough up at high camp. We basically devoted about four hours to a leisurly breakfast and packing session. Everybody was in a good mood remembering all that we'd accomplished on summit day. We drank coffee and tea and chocolate and chatted for hours. Then we got to the serious work for the day; descending to 14,200 ft. Conditions were ideal, the backpacks were huge, and we made steady progress. The high exposure section of the day; tiptoeing along the dramatic crest of the West Buttress, went quite smoothly. As did the strenuous descent of the steep fixed rope section. It was just where things got a little easier around 15,000 ft that a climber missed a step and Mark DeSmet had to do an ice axe arrest for all he was worth to stop the fall. He managed that. It was a textbook performance and it saved the day... But it popped Mark's shoulder. He knew immediately that it was dislocated. Myself and Matt and Pete then scrambled to get our climbers onto safe terrain so that we could climb back up to Mark in order to get the enormous pack off his back and attempt to stabilize his arm. I called the National Park Service on my radio, since I knew there was a four-man patrol down at 14k camp, and since we were definitely going to need some help. Mark has a phenomenal tolerance for pain and with his arm in a sling and an assist from one side he was able to walk quite rapidly down to 14,000 ft, where the patrol, two of whom were paramedics, took over his care. As our team got down and got busy building camp, the NPS patrol medicated Mark and attempted -with medical help advising via satphone- to reduce his shoulder. That effort was unsuccessful and the decision was made to get a helicopter in for Mark. I have no doubt that Mark would have been tough enough to climb all the way down with his arm out of joint, but it simply would have been too dangerous with the possibility of a crevasse fall thrown in. The helicopter came, and Mark kept right on smiling, joking, and flashing a thumbs-up as they took him away -despite his discomfort.
And so our team is well, but diminished this evening. We tried to imagine Mark, a little scruffy from two unwashed weeks on a mountain, flirting and joking with the hospital staff down in Wasilla. Matt, Pete and I discovered that Mark must have been doing a fair chunk of the work because it was all that the three of us could do to keep up with the chores this evening. And we do have some big chores ahead. Tomorrow we will descend to 7,800 ft. Our loads will continue to be heavy, which is the inevitable downside of having gotten so lucky with weather... We have at least a week's worth of unused food and fuel to carry down, along with all the trash we generated. But we can and will get it done. We won't dwell on our misfortune -there isn't need for some great analysis of the incident; big packs, soft snow and steep slope angles sometimes exact a toll. This time, due to Mark DeSmet's quick action and sacrifice, the toll was mitigated -and due to the friendliness and expertise of the NPS rescue teams, our climb can proceed.
"Wubba, wubba, wubba. Bing, bang, bong. Yuck, yuck, yuck and a fiddle-dee-dee." - The Yeti
Thanks Christopher. After reading your post, I went back to the RMI site and discovered I couldn't see all the posts on Firefox but when I switched to Safari I could read them all. I wonder what else I'm missing out on.
As you said, "Talk about fortunate. I'm glad no one was more seriously injured or worse."
Down to base camp
Spoke with Tim's wife last night, Tim is safely down to base camp, when conditions are right to land a plane on the glacier he will fly off and back to civilization.
Can't help but remember Tim quoting another member of climbing's elite, "Getting to the summit is optional, getting back down is mandatory"
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Thanks to all the good wishes and thoughts from all who followed my Mckinley climb. It's good to be back home in CT. Here's a couple of summit photo's courtesy of Dave Hahn as my camera was a bit balky in the cold on summit day.
Mckinley Summit - photos posted
For those interested my trip photos are posted here:
Good to hear you got up and down safely and I'm sure you had a wonderful climb.
Mountaineering is something that lures me more and more every day. I really need to get my feet wet, but not black.
Nothing like BIG WILDERNESS to make a person feel small, eh?
An achievement so big, oddly, is understood in little tiny bits, spread over years. Enjoy the future as you come to really understand what you've done
Note to self: Turn your negatives into positives.
Very well put Murray.