Peak(s):  Denali - 20237
Date Posted:  06/12/2014
Date Climbed:   06/03/2014
Author:  pioletski
Additional Members:   XC Snowboarder, Bean
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Denali Photo Essay



Crew: Mike (Bean), Marc (XC Snowboarder), Matt (pioletski)
West Buttress route of Denali; summited on 6/3/2014

At this time last year, folks were asking me what I was going to do after finishing the 14er tour. I talked of taking my kids backpacking in July; I was entertaining vague thoughts of some interesting 13ers, maybe Rainier, maybe the Grand Teton. Marc had one peak to go on his 14er list, which he has now finished. I thought that maybe, eventually, I would consider Denali, but felt that I had some work to do first.

So an email arrives from Bean in November that throws all those well-ordered thoughts for a loop. Denali this spring! As with the 14er project, it had to start with some serious shopping... Now I can say that it is the most beautiful place I have ever been, and it was the most brutally difficult task I have done. I won't try to put too many words into this TR, but instead invite you to enjoy our photos.

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The trip begins and ends sorting gear at the Talkeetna Air Taxi bunkhouse


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View of Denali from Talkeetna


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Breakfast at the Roadhouse


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Surf's always up in Talkeetna


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All aboard for Kahiltna. L to R: Matt, Mike, Marc


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Quite the scenic flight


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Rigging sleds at Kahiltna Base


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Met up with Jordan, whom you may remember as Jcwhite on this forum, here to ski the 3 biggest peaks in the Alaska Range


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As Jordan puts it, "let the sweat-fest begin!"


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Traversing Kahiltna Glacier


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First night: Ski Hill Camp, 7800'


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Things are cozy in the tent


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Third night: 11,000 camp. Note the conga line on Motorcycle Hill


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Sorting gear and food at 11,000 camp


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And we're off: Motorcycle Hill


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Squirrel Hill


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Windy Corner


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Approaching 14,200 camp


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Once at 14 camp, we dug in and built ourselves a castle


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Our cozy mess tent


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Enjoying the calm before the snowstorm. The funnel-shaped couloir at top center is the Messner.


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Gearing up for a training climb


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Mt Hunter afloat on the ether


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Large, slow-moving guided groups... the bane of the West Buttress route.


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Marc ascending the fixed belay lines above 14 camp


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Mike at Washburn's Thumb on an acclimatization day


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Summit day! Hunter and 14 Camp seen from about 16,000 feet.


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Beautiful day on the West Buttress


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Marc and Mike on the Phantom Headwall


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The "Ski the Big 3" crew catches up at 18,500 feet


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Matt at the summit


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Marc and his teddy bear atop Denali


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Bean at the high point of the continent


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View from the top of North America


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Descending: Pig Hill


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Back to crampons to descend the West Buttress


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Sunset from 16,500 feet... the sun will rise again in 2 hours.


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Homeward bound at Windy Corner


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Back at Kahiltna Base with the Big 3 team. Note the snowflakes, which would pin us down here for 36 hours before we could fly out.



Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 37 38 39 40


Comments or Questions
kansas

The Standard at the Roadhouse...
06/13/2014 11:47
Is a great way to start the day.

Looks like we were in the area at the same time (we were on 11,300) congrats!


jbchalk

Huge Congratulations, Matt!
06/13/2014 15:17
Job well done. Looks like a phenomenal trip for you, Mike, and Marc. Loved the pics. So glad it worked out for you guys.

Cheers, man!


bergsteigen

Awesome job!
06/13/2014 21:07
I've been waiting to hear about the outcome of this trip! Excellent job to all 3 of you! Stoked and Jealous, one day.


taylorzs

Nice!
06/13/2014 22:11
Looks like an awesome trip and great photos. Nice job guys!


AeroDan

Drool...
06/14/2014 00:23
Great to see you all descended the proper way (skis/board)! Really rare these days that I get jealous, but this did it. Thanks for sharing!


jmc5040

Way to get it
06/14/2014 04:07
Looked like an awesome trip and such an amazing accomplishment. Congrats to the whole team!


Zambo

Surfs Up Indeed
06/14/2014 23:32
Great photo essay Matt - thanks for sharing all the pics and memories. This seems like a pretty awesome follow up to the 14ers project if you ask me. Well done and congrats to all, guys.


EatinHardtack

Sweet
06/15/2014 22:50
Awesome trip report! Congrats to all of you!


--bb--

Congrats!
06/16/2014 02:27
Congrats to you all! Super fun to watch the updates on Lauren's Facebook page. Many folks, including me, were cheering you on from afar - watching your progress and hoping for a safe and summit-ful adventure!


benners

Great Job Up There!
06/17/2014 18:39
Matt, Marc, and Mike. Great photos and congratulations on a sweet achievement! Cheers .


SnowAlien

This
04/02/2015 19:45
looks like fun. The ”castle” photo is great! Congratulations on the successful summit and ski. Moar ski photos, please!



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