Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Denali Super Bowl

There has been a lot written about eating utensils for mountain climbing. This includes one article of note by Denali legend and our lead guide Dave Staeheli. Of course, each climber has their own preferences, and while there is no perfect utensil system, here is what I do to my mug and bowl to improve on insulation and reduce the curling factor.

I cut pieces of bathroom towel to fit the bottom of my mug and bowl. Using Loctite brand epoxy, I glue each towel peice to the bottom of my mug and bowl.

While the mug is already insulated, the modification reduces the curling factor. The curling factor is the angle at which a mug or bowl will start to slide when placed on packed snow or ice, divided by how slippery the surface is, times the drag coefficient as determined by the weight of container and its contents.

The same modification to my bowl not only helps keep it from sliding to the floor of the cook tent, spilling the contents on my teammates' boots, but it also keeps the food warmer, longer.

Regardless if it's an overnighter or a three week expedition, these modifications are worth the effort. This includes carefully preparing the area to glue the towel peices on, and letting the epoxy properly cure for at least 24 hours. However, as with anything in life, nothing is perfect. The bowl's towel piece will attract small balls of ice if the heat from the food melts any snow or ice that it's sitting on. But these balls can also reduce the curling factor, making slippage less likely.

Art Huseonica, Denali Ice Agers 2010 Expedition team member, Maryland, USA

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Something New and Different!!

Here at Mountain Trip, we have a long history of thinking outside the box. We led the first hang glider descent of the mountain in 1976, the first all-women team in 1983, the first guided dogsled accessed ascent in 2007 and we are at it again!

A Denali expedition begins long before the climbers load up in their ski plane for the 45 minute flight to Base Camp. Months of preparation are required to assemble the appropriate equipment and to prepare yourself for the physical rigors of a Denali climb. We are therefore inviting the expedition team members to post their own thoughts, insights and personal commentary to provide the reader of this blog a fuller view of what is involved with a Denali expedition.

Historically, expedition dispatches are written by the guide service, which affords us the opportunity to paint the experience in colors of our choosing (rosy and fun!). We feel confident enough of our program that we are opening up the editorial process to our climbers as well. You, the reader, can learn from their experience and will hopefully come away with a more well rounded picture of the trip than if we simply give you "our version."


Welcome to the Denali Ice Agers Dispatch Blog!

Towering above the vast Alaska Range in Central Alaska, lies the crown jewel of North American mountaineering. Officially known as Mount McKinley, most people call it by the Athabaskan name Denali, meaning "The Great One."

Denali is a mountain of superlatives, as it is the highest point in North America, has a higher vertical relief than Mount Everest and is home to some of the cruelest weather in the world. Climbers venturing onto its flanks need to be highly organized and very well prepared.

In late June, 2010, a team of climbers will attempt to climb the iconic West Buttress route to the summit of the mountain. Led by a team of experienced guides from the long standing guide service Mountain Trip, the team will meet in Anchorage, Alaska before heading up to the village of Talkeetna to fly into the heavily glaciated Alaska Range.

The team will consist of:

David Marchi of Mount Shasta, CA
Caitlin Hague of Girdwood, AK
Bill Dwyer of Seattle, WA
Kelly Ryan of Ophir, CO
Jason Buttrick of Anchorage, AK


Art Huseonica of Crofton, MD
Bob Baker of Anacortes, WA
Shlomo Waser of Sunnyvale, CA
Pierre Godart Augsburg, Germany
Tony Scheuller of Reno, NV

We will do our best to update this blog daily, while the team is on the mountain, but please keep in mind that many factors can, and often will, conspire to make communication from such a remote place very challenging. Feel free to contact us for the latest update, but also keep in mind the old axiom, "No news is good news!"

We encourage friends and family to post comments and will do our best to relay comments to the climbers, but this is not always feasible, and is not really the intent of this dispatch blog. We want to help you readers follow the progress of the team and thereby feel closer to the team members. If you ever need to get word to a team member, please call us and we will relay your message. Our office phone number is +1-970-369-1153 (GMT-6).