Over the past two decades I’ve lived all around the globe, seizing every opportunity to travel and explore the outdoors. I’ve experienced some great adventures along the way and I’ve met some amazing people. It’s been an incredible journey, but I’m not planning to slow down anytime soon! Enjoy the site, and stay connected. – Paul
Not long now!! Final prep is underway and I’m headed to Alaska in just a few days. I’m excited, admittedly also a little nervous, but feel ready for the adventure and challenge to come.
I’m planning to post to social media as we go using the DeLorme inReach Explorer satellite communicator and GPS device. These updates will be posted to Facebook and Twitter, and my GPS location will be tracked and viewable on my MapShare page along with the messages I post.Tweets by @pmando
I’ll also be able to send and receive messages through the inReach device, so drop me a line and say hi! I should have a lot of downtime in the evenings to write back.
To send me a message, follow these easy steps:
My expedition company will be providing updates for all of their teams on the mountain through the Denali Cybercast blog at their website and on WordPress.com. Look for references to the team I’m on: Alp Team 4, departing May 18th with Vern Tejas as lead guide.
I believe these posts will also be made available on AAI’s Facebook page.
Denali National Park & Preserve has set up a mountaineers blog with daily dispatches covering current conditions and status on the numbers of climbers on the mountain and how the season is progressing.
While I’ve previously shared some information on the West Buttress route in an earlier post, I found the American Alpine Institute – another commercial expedition outfitter, not to be confused with Alpine Ascents International who I’ll be climbing with – has a great virtual tour of the route with descriptions, photos and even some video. You can click on the links below to learn more about the West Buttress route as we climb the mountain:
They also have a great short video that really gives you a taste of what the Denali West Buttress expedition experience is like – looks like a big challenge and a lot of fun!
Well that’s all for now. Back in a couple of weeks with – if Denali will let me – a summit of North America’s highest point to show for it! While there is only a 50% probability of summit success (and it was even less last season), it’s sure to be a grand adventure nonetheless…
Denali National Park & Preserve have now started their mountaineers blog for the season ahead, with daily dispatches covering current weather and conditions as well as some figures on the numbers of climbers on the mountain.
Amazingly, a whopping 800+ climbers have registered for 2015, so while there’s just 5 climbers on the mountain as of today it will certainly get quite busy around the peak season (when I’ll be there)! And weather-wise, it was a tropical 15F/-9C at 7,200ft base camp this morning…
With a bit over a month to go until I depart for Anchorage and make my way to Talkeetna to meet the team and start the expedition, I feel like I’m rounding the final straight and making a last sprint to the line – the start line in this case.
Well I can FINALLY say that I’ve gathered all the kit I think I’ll need, with a few small exceptions for some minor stuff. As a lover of all things outdoor equipment and apparel I’ve enjoyed researching and acquiring various products, but I have to say I’m glad I’m done ordering and sizing and returning items! Online shopping has been both a blessing and a curse.
Being a member of some outdoor company’s pro deal programs has also been a huge benefit, and has certainly eased the impact on my bank account. I appreciate the support these companies have given me: Scarpa, Mountain Hardwear, Outdoor Research, Marmot and Edelrid.
I’ve shared some more information on the expedition gear for Denali in this earlier post.
My conditioning and physical prep hasn’t been as straightforward as I’d hoped, as I’ve had to deal with a few old injuries – including what was my fourth surgery in the past couple of years! I think I’m all fixed/patched up now, but the operations and subsequent recoveries have definitely been an unwelcome interruption.
I’m a little nervous about the fitness that’s needed to ascend Denali, as the expedition plan makes it clear what’s required: 8+ hour days hauling 60lb packs and pulling sleds of the same weight up the glaciers. Alpine Ascents provided me with some guidance on what a training regimen might look like, and I’ve used this as the basis for my exercise routine:
I’m really curious to meet the team on May 17th/18th in Talkeetna. As this is a group activity rather than an individual pursuit, it will take the whole team working together (with the guides) for us to get to the summit successfully.
Alpine Ascents shared the team roster with me this week, along with some other reminders and information. In addition to myself, these are the clients on our expedition:
I don’t know anything about their backgrounds or experience, but I’m looking forward to getting to know them well over the course of the expedition. In addition to us six clients, we will have two AAI guides including the Denali legend Vern Tejas.