Thursday, June 02, 2016

Road to Denali, part 19: We're Off!


The Colorado Buffs (our team name) are off to Denali this Saturday. We plan to fly into the glacier on the 6th, though weather could delay us. It's also possible, though not very likely, to fly in on the 5th. Our total trip is planned for 3 weeks, but hopefully we get the summit in around ten days. Weather should be the determining factor, though fitness, an injury, or an accident could delay us as well.

This trip happened because I offered my 18-year-old son Derek a climbing trip as a high school graduation present (he graduated summa cum laude). He chose The High One. Denali had been on my list of mountains to climb for 25 years, but it took my son to get me there. Thanks, Derek.
We have to get all this gear into our packs...
On such a big, serious mountain I wanted a strong team and felt just the two of us wasn't safe enough. A fall into a crevasse with a 2-man team is a serious predicament. Hence, I recruited two of the strongest guys I know: Charlie Nuttelman and Tom Karpeichik. You might think I'd want partners that would never quit on the goal, but I chose these guys because they WOULD quit on the goal. ....???

If Derek or I were in trouble and the summit was in reach, both of these guys would turn around immediately and help us. It wouldn't even be a decision for them. They would see only one path.
And all this food!
I guess they aren't quitting on the goal, because the number one goal of this trip is to come back safe and with all our body parts. The number two goal is to have a great time together and be good partners, friends, fathers, and sons to each other. Number three is to get the summit of Denali.

I couldn't imagine a better team.  I will, and have, trusted my life to these guys many times. I know they will take care of me and I'll do the same for them.

This is an entirely different trip than I've ever done before and I'm a bit apprehensive about it. I'm going into it very humble and very cautious, knowing where I'm ignorant and what are my limitations. I think I'm prepared, physically, mentally, emotionally, equipment-wise, and food-wise. I hope I'm right.

You can follow our progress by monitoring this page:

http://share.findmespot.com/shared/faces/viewspots.jsp?glId=0oq57BqUZM9uixMPjprspEnVzBUBCsXxT

If you care to, send us good wishes for a safe trip.

See you in July.

Bill

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George Derrick said...

Congratulations. Great job. Very fast time.