Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Click the link, then enter the user name (Denali) and password (ORCA). These are case sensitive.
It may take a while to load. Then turn your sound on and click "watch photoshow" or click on any thumbnail to look at individual pictures.
Sunday, June 8, 2008
It may take a while to load. Then turn your sound on and click "watch photoshow" or click on any thumbnail to look at individual pictures. I will probably revise it when I get pictures from the other team members.
Friday, June 6, 2008
Denali mountaineering rangers led a life-saving technical rope rescue of a fallen solo climber on Mt. McKinley the evening of June 3.
Claude Ratté, age 44, of Montreal, Quebec was descending the West Buttress route from the 17,200-foot high camp to the 14,200-foot camp when he fell almost 2,000 feet down to the Peters Glacier. The climber fell from an elevation of approximately 16,400 feet down a 35 to 40 degree snow and ice slope, suffering facial trauma and a leg and ankle injury in the fall. Ratté was able to use his satellite phone to dial 9-1-1 shortly before noon on Tuesday. Alaska State Troopers connected the distressed climber with Denali National Park rangers who initiated a ground rescue. The high altitude Lama helicopter was unable to fly due to heavy cloud cover.
Denali's West Buttress route. Claude Ratté fell 2,000 feet down the steep snow slopes to the left of the ridge crest, below the 17,200-foot camp. Rescuers hauled him back to the ridge and then lowered him to the 14,200-foot camp to await evacuation. Image courtesy of Costnet.com/denali.
Denali's West Buttress route. Claude Ratté fell 2,000 feet down the steep snow slopes to the left of the ridge crest, below the 17,200-foot camp. Rescuers hauled him back to the ridge and then lowered him to the 14,200-foot camp to await evacuation. Image courtesy of Costnet.com/denali. _______________________________________________________
A hasty team led by NPS mountaineering ranger Brandon Latham mobilized immediately from the 17,200-foot high camp, reaching the injured climber within three to four hours. A second rescue team led by mountaineering ranger Mik Shain climbed up the fixed lines from the 14,200-foot camp to assist in the elaborate technical rope rescue.
After an initial medical assessment was performed by the first responders, Ratté was secured in a rescue litter and the labor-intensive technical rope rescue commenced. Using multiple anchored rope systems, the patient was first raised 2,000 feet back up to the 16,200-foot elevation on West Buttress ridge, before being lowered 2,000 feet down the Headwall to the NPS ranger camp at 14,200 feet. From the time of the initial distress call, the entire ground rescue operation took 10.5 hours and involved 14 ground rescuers including mountaineering rangers, NPS volunteers, mountain guides, and independent climbers.
Denali mountaineering staff estimates there have been at least 10 significant climbing falls onto the Peters Glacier, including three separate fatalities in 1998. The technical rope rescue of Ratté involves the longest raising operation in Denali mountaineering history.
As of the morning of June 4, Ratté remains in serious but stable medical condition at the 14,200-foot camp awaiting helicopter evacuation. With improving weather conditions on the mountain, the patient is expected to be flown off this afternoon and transferred to an Anchorage-based air ambulance for further medical care.
By Maureen McLaughlin, Climbing Magazine
Wednesday, June 4, 2008
Weather is supposed to get worse overnight, so if it doesn' t clear today who knows when they will get out. Again the phone was cutting in and out, so no more details of the climb.
This am I got a phone call from Bobbi that they were down at 7000 feet , expected to fly out today to Anchorage today and hoped to be home by Thursday.
Bobbi and I planned our trip to Tahiti for next year. Danielle, are you available?
Tuesday, June 3, 2008
George's blog (6/1) - The GORCA team (Steve, Ben + George) made it today!!! Congratulations. They reached the summit at 7:30 PM after a 9 hour climb, stayed for a few minutes and decided that the below zero temps and +20 winds was enough and headed back to 17K. Good to be in the land of midnight sun for a long day of light and climbing. Paul decided to hold back given the near whiteout conditions. It was a 4 hour return trip and the team is tired and resting up.
Paul's blog (6/1) - We only had two possible summit days left, today and tomorrow (Monday). We really wanted to attempt the summit, especially after being at 17,200 foot camp for a week. After that much time, you think you are going out of your mind from boredom. Try to imagine what life would be like being stuck at high camp. You lay in your bed, eat only dehydrated food, without a shower and have little to do except stare at the ceiling for 16 hours per day for a week. It is a test of your sanity. It is the sacrifice mountain climbers have to make at times for that ever elusive summit. Of course, when you have been in a situation like this for a week, it adds significantly to your desire to reach the summit and go home.
In order to have enough food to summit and get to the bottom of the mountain, today and tomorrow were our only options for a summit. This obviously made us very determined to head to the summit today. However, we woke up to poor weather conditions. It was nothing but a cold, windy and a white out because of the snow. Regardless, we proceeded to get ready to summit while hoping for the weather to change. It did not change. We even got to the point of roping up. Meanwhile, I had a bad feeling in my gut. It kept getting stronger with each passing moment because of the the weather conditions. Finally, I told my teammates that I was not going to join them for the summit attempt. If they wanted to try for the summit that was ok with me. I was not comfortable with making the attempt in the white out conditions we were faced with. It was very tough to take a stand against the majority but I knew I was being true to my climbing phyolosophy. In addition, I was being true to the promises I made to my family and my wife. Hopfully, the weather is ideal tomorrow so I can reach the summit. For now, I know I made the right choice regardless of whether my partners make it to the top or not.
George's blog (6/2) - The GORCA team is planning to start the trek home today. They are looking forward to warmth, pizza and beer. It has been three weeks of zero-temps and tent-bound days and nights, time now to return to the comfort world.
No update from Paul yet to see if he was able to summit on 6/2.
Andy flew home on 6/2 and was in his own bed by 2 a.m. on 6/3. My knee is still swollen - may see an orthopedist. Peter was scheduled to fly home on a redeye, leaving Anchorage at 1 a.m. and getting to Salt Lake on 6/3.
Monday, June 2, 2008
Sunday, June 1, 2008
Andy and Peter