Sunday, August 19, 2012

Day 11

Today was a rest day where we got to hangout around camp and build our strength for a day that is said to rival summit day. We went through our packs and took out everything we will not need higher up the mountain like changes of clothes, extra mittens, camping booties, food, and solar panels. This is all done to cut weight and to make our move tomorrow an easy 10 hour day. Haha. Not sure if there is an easy 10 hour day. Yesterday the AMS team that's a week ahead of us and another guided tour went off the summit leaving 17,000 camp around 11:00 am. All last night we were trying to make radio contact with the AMS team to see how everything went and to make sure they made it home safely. We didn't get an answer last night. This morning, we were awakened by planes flying around the mountain. This is uncommon because just the other day someone was mentioning that there haven’t been a lot of planes flying. As the day went on there were more and more planes and helicopters flying around the top of the mountain. Pretty easy to put two and two together, everything didn't go as planned with the people summating Denali yesterday. This is when it started to hit me that above camp 14,000 feet it's serious. We were able to make radio contact to the other AMS team and they made it back to their tents last night at 2:30 am with everyone safe and sound. We are not 100% sure what happened to the other team, however, the rumor is that when traveling back to camp they had a fall. We are not sure how many people are missing and what the state of the people are. However, if they were hurt, laying in the snow all day is cretain death. Today at 17,000 camp they had 80 mile an hour winds that would give you frost bite to any unprotected skin within minutes. The wind blew so hard that it toppled the protective snow walls around AMS's tents leaving the people inside to feel the full effect of the wind. With winds that speed hitting the tent directly it is easy to imagine the tent being blown to bits. It starts by the wind blowing on the tent and flattening it out until one of the poles breaks. Once a pole breaks, it will cut through the tent fabric. The people in the two tents moved to the side the wind was coming from to try and hold the tent up however the wind was just too much for one tent and it ended up breaking. I am unsure how broken the tent is or how they will be sleeping tonight. They are planning on climbing down tomorrow and we will be able to get the full story. 

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