Alone, Not Alone

I gave a 25 minute slideshow about my Alaska trip to some middle schoolers out towards the suburbs.  I think it went well. I believe I told my story okay.

A colleague started the first half of the presentation describing the myriad types of climbing. I provided the ‘alpine mountaineering’ aspect in context of my trip in June 2011 to Denali. The students are reading a novel this Summer about a young mountaineer and his travails.

What stuck with me from my walk down the upper glacier from the camp at 14k feet was this feeling of ‘alone/not aloneness’. Going downhill is always relatively easy, finding comfort in a cold uncaring universe is certainly more challenging.

I was in a white-out cloud and the snow was deep, there were bamboo wands every hundred feet or so, I didn’t have a tent. Looking back I could see my tracks. Looking forward there was whiteness. I followed the wands. I found an old camp at 9,8k or so a few miles later. Ski tracks emerged. The crevasses began to show themselves more frequently. I spotted a camp on the lower glacier by the North East Fork. I had to jump a couple of questionable snow bridges. I saw a red tent, and another, they were speaking Spanish. By the red tent there were skis. I was on snowshoes. I would wait for the Tennesseeans. Eventually they’d be here. I would join their rope and cross the lower glacier before dawn.

A Bigger Cloud

All safe

Heard from L that B&K are safe save some cold toes. Will post some of my photos of Alaska to Flickr probably today.

Went running with M yesterday on the river and up the hill on my 1200m repeat loop. It’ll be nice to become a runner again. I suppose that’s the constant in this life, being reborn by trials of fire, or in my case pedestrianism.

My best to Evan on his XC two wheeled journey, I hope the weather stays clear and that it’s all downhill from Wyoming.

Alive in Alaska

So the good news is that I’m alive in Alaska in Talkeetna. I arrived via single prop Beaver bush plane this afternoon after a long night slogging across a thankfully frozen glacier with some Tennessean compatriots I met at camp 11k as I was hiking down.

Sadly, I have some sort of Bronchitis, which is what brought me back down here to near sea level. Ben and Koysta still hope to finish at least the Upper West Rib, hopefully sooner than later, though Ben has already soloed the West Buttress.

It is warm and green here which is a nice change of pace compared to burning glacier sun, hot/cold & snowing, & sometimes incredibly cold. Hopefully I’ll spend a couple of days here to recover from the grippe and be on my way back East, as I do miss my family and friends.

Full on Slovak Direct, Denali – from June 2010 (Huey & Westman)

BD grassroots athlete Jesse Huey reports on his ascent of Denali’s Slovak Direct route from Black Diamond Equipment on Vimeo.

Pretty insane. It makes the W. Rib (& even the Cassin) look tame. Frost nip, beware indeed, kick those feet. Very impressive and I think committed is definitely the name of the game here (figuratively and literally). Triple rainbow all the way.

The full text of the original post on Black Diamond’s grassroots athlete journal page is here.