Saturday, May 30, 2009

Out with the Low and in with the High

Saturday, May 30th:
Rob called again today!  I was able to pass on your encouragements and messages from home if you asked.  He said that the low pressure system that had brought all of the snow was being replaced with some new high pressure.  This means that the weather will be improving.  The only drawback is that there is expected to be cold temperatures and strong winds during the transition period. 
Rob said though that it was sunny today when we were talking and that the team might make the move to 17k tomorrow potentially setting them up for a summit bid on Monday. 
This is hopeful news!  I'll pass more when I get it. 
From Lara: 

May 30, 2009 Saturday

Our team hasn't received much good news lately. The weather is said to continue on it's storm mood until monday or tuesday. Don't worry though because even though our team has been backed up a couple of days, they are still on schedule. Yesterday our team attempted to do a half carry to camp 17000 (or 16800.) My father called me at around 4 pm telling me they were going to try to do the half carry and that they would return in about 7 hours. I still have not received a call from him, so I am not aware of whether or not they succeed in that. Even if they were not able to go all the way up, this attempt will help them on their acclimazation. I wish there is more I can tell everyone, but to compensate for the lack of information on the climb, I will provide more information about the mountain.
Our mount Denali (also known as Mt. Mckinley) is known as one of the seven summits.
Denali- North America
Kilimanjaro- Africa
Aconcagua- South America
Elbrus- Europe
Carstensz- Oceania
Vinson- Antartica
Everest- Asia (Tallest mountain in the world)
Mount McKinley has a larger bulk and rise than Mt. Everest, although the summit of Everest is higher measured from sea level 29,028 feet (8,800 m). Everest's base sits on the Tibetan Plateau at about 17,000 feet (5,200 m), giving it a real vertical rise of a little more than 12,000 feet (3,700 m). The base of Mount McKinley is roughly a 2,000-foot (610 meter) plateau, giving it an actual rise of 18,000 feet (5,500 m).
The forces that lifted Mount McKinley—the subduction of the Pacific plate beneath the North American plate—also raised great ranges across southern Alaska. As that huge sheet of ocean-floor rock plunges downward into the mantle, it shoves and crumples the continent into soaring mountains which include some of the most active volcanoes on the continent. Mount McKinley in particular is uplifted relative to the rocks around it because it is at the intersection of major active strike-slip faults (faults that move rocks laterally across the Earth's surface) which allow the deep buried rocks to be unroofed more rapidly compared to those around them.
The first recorded attempt to climb Mount McKinley was by Judge James Wickersham in 1903, via the Peters Glacier and the North Face, now known as the Wickersham Wall. This route has tremendous avalanche danger and was not successfully climbed until 1963.
The mountain is regularly climbed today, with just over 50% of the expeditions successful, although it is still a dangerous undertaking. By 2003, the mountain had claimed the lives of nearly 100 mountaineers. The vast majority of climbers use the West Buttress Route, pioneered in 1951 by Bradford Washburn, after an extensive aerial photographic analysis of the mountain. Climbers typically take two to four weeks to ascend the mountain.


1 comment:

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