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  1. #1
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    SKI DENALI Expedition - My Experience Climbing Denali and Skiing the Messner

    Some of you may have seen my posts about Denali elsewhere, but I figured I’d post about it here for those of you who may be interested but hadn’t seen it.

    This past June I had the adventure of a lifetime skiing Denali with my good friend Josh. Skiing one of the 7 summits had been a goal of mine since I was knee-high to a grasshopper. Getting to check it off the “Life Goals” list, and doing it in the conditions we did it in, was a dream come true.

    Among other routes, we were fortunate enough to ski the Messner Couloir in amazing snow – something that is very rare. Skiing Denali (especially the Messner) put the exclamation point at the end of an amazing ski-mountaineering season in which I was also fortunate enough to tag The Grand, Longs and North Maroon.

    It was a 3 week expedition and I put a lot of time into the documentary and in-depth write-ups. I’ve posted all the videos and some of my favorite pictures in this thread, but I don’t want to redo all of the writing work in this thread. So, at the risk of people flaming me for spamming, I’m going to provide links to the write-ups. Not trying to spam…if you don’t want to see them, don’t click on them.

    And without further ado...

    Highlight Video - 3 Weeks in 3 Minutes:



    The Write-Ups:
    Write-up Part 1 - Getting to Kahiltna Base Camp
    Write-up Part 2 - Skil Hill Camp to Motorcycle Hill Camp to to Camp 14
    Write-up Part 3 - Skiing Rescue Gully and West Rib/Orient Express
    Write-up Part 4 - Summit Climb and Skiing the Messner Couloir
    Write-up Part 5 - Denali Departure and Going Home




    Documentary Videos:

    This one is the entire documentary. All 5 parts in one go. Independent parts below.




















    Some Pics:

    Denali comes into view after One Shot Pass.


    At Kahiltna Base Camp with Hunter behind us.


    Ski Hill Camp.


    The High One as seen from Ski Hill Camp. ~13000' of vertical.


    Ski Hill Camp Senic.


    Enormous, cracked glaciers come into view as the storm lifts.


    4 am color on the skin track.


    The upper mountain comes into view during our cache run.


    Hauling heavy loads up Squirrel Hill.


    Route finding up the lower Orient Express as clouds rolled in and out.


    Climbing on the West Rib.


    Top of the fixed lines on the West Buttress.


    Start of skiing Rescue Gully.


    Pow in Rescue Gully.


    Pow slash on Rescue Gully.


    Navigating through crevasse fields.


    Near Washburn's Thumb on summit day.


    Walrus-mustache at Denali Pass on a cold and windy summit day.


    Frustration after 1.5 hours of unsuccessfully trying to make water at 18500' on summit day. Cold.


    The Summit Ridge.


    Obligatory ugly-face-pic on the summit.


    Standing alone for a few minutes on the summit - quite the experience.


    About to drop into the Messner.


    Skiing fast on soft snow mid-way down the Messner. One of the best turns of my life.


    Really lettin' 'er rip on the amazing snow below the Messner's choke.


    A look back at our turns on the last section of the Messner.


    An all too common sight on our way down to Kahiltna Base Camp.


    The brutal slog up Heartbreak Hill...already traveled 12+ miles lugging a lot of weight and the snow was heavy and sticky.





    (If anyone can tell me how to display the images smaller in the forums please let me know. I tried several things with the bbcode but had no luck.)
    Last edited by jbski; 10-27-2014 at 11:05 AM. Reason: Added captions.
    When in doubt...straighten 'em out.

    joelbettner.blogspot.com

  2. #2
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    awesome post. wouldn't change the size on those pics a bit. thanks for sharing
    Last edited by grinch; 10-26-2014 at 11:36 PM.

  3. #3
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    Mar 2012
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    ^keep um big. So rad!!!

  4. #4
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    Nice fucking work. A+.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ernest_Hemingway View Post
    I realize there is not much hope for a bullfighting forum. I understand that most of you would prefer to discuss the ingredients of jacket fabrics than the ingredients of a brave man. I know nothing of the former. But the latter is made of courage, and skill, and grace in the presence of the possibility of death. If someone could make a jacket of those three things it would no doubt be the most popular and prized item in all of your closets.

  5. #5
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    Jan 2007
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    Seattle
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    Badass, thanks for posting! I've been waiting for this one! And yeah, pics are good size as-is. If anyone complains, they need a monitor with more resolution.

  6. #6
    Join Date
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    Maine Coast
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    What a year you had in the mountains and what amazing conditions you had for the descent Denali. Amazing, thanks for sharing.

  7. #7
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    Feb 2012
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    W/ Oz, Craig, McConkey
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    Great, Fn Great........

  8. #8
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    Dec 2007
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    Nice....
    www.apriliaforum.com

    "If the road You followed brought you to this,of what use was the road"?

    "I have no idea what I am talking about but would be happy to share my biased opinions as fact on the matter. "
    Ottime

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
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    5,553
    Siiiiick,

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    A LSD Steakhouse somewhere in the Wasatch
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    9,235
    cream rises to the top again
    thanks for churnin up the goods
    "When the child was a child it waited patiently for the first snow and it still does"- Van "The Man" Morrison
    "I find I have already had my reward, in the doing of the thing" - Buzz Holmstrom
    "THIS IS WHAT WE DO"-AML -
    ski on in eternal peace

  11. #11
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    Oct 2007
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    bucks county pa
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    just awesome .. thanks for sharing...
    always forward but never straight

  12. #12
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    Jun 2006
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    Ventura Highway in the Sunshine
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    Very cool, what a great trip, and and even greater season, way to get after it.


    IMHO, link to your blog is perfectly fine as long as there is a reasonable TR posted here. It is the one pic wonders that bother me.

    A few quick captions on so of the photos would be nice, though.

    I agree it is a constitutional right for Americans to be assholes...its just too bad that so many take the opportunity...
    iscariot

  13. #13
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    Apr 2008
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    Quote Originally Posted by hutash View Post
    A few quick captions on so of the photos would be nice, though.
    Done.
    When in doubt...straighten 'em out.

    joelbettner.blogspot.com

  14. #14
    Join Date
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    Boston
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    FKNA. First rate.

  15. #15
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    Dec 2006
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    crown of the continent
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    well played sir!
    FKNA!!!!
    Something about the wrinkle in your forehead tells me there's a fit about to get thrown
    And I never hear a single word you say when you tell me not to have my fun
    It's the same old shit that I ain't gonna take off anyone.
    and I never had a shortage of people tryin' to warn me about the dangers I pose to myself.

    Patterson Hood of the DBT's

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
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    Sacramento, CA
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    Inspiring. Wonderfully done and congrats on an incredible season. Thanks so much for sharing.
    ((. "The joy I get from skiing...
    .)) That's worth dying for."
    ((.
    .)) -CR Johnson

  17. #17
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    North Van/Pemberton
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    1,405
    not bad.
    "Fuck the ski hill and your ego, go ski touring" - PS

  18. #18
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    Paper St. Soap Co.
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    WOW!

  19. #19
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    You guys killed it up there. Nice job waiting out the weather. Any interest in a north summit? 2017 maybe?
    "The idea wasnt for me, that I would be the only one that would ever do this. My idea was that everybody should be doing this. At the time nobody was, but this was something thats too much fun to pass up." -Briggs
    Quote Originally Posted by LeeLau View Post
    Wear your climbing harness. Attach a big anodized locker to your belay loop so its in prime position to hit your nuts. Double russian Ti icescrews on your side loops positioned for maximal anal rape when you sit down. Then everyone will know your radness
    More stoke, less shit.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by _Aaron_ View Post
    You guys killed it up there. Nice job waiting out the weather. Any interest in a north summit? 2017 maybe?
    We killed it? Uhh...YOU GUYS KILLED IT up there!

    For those that don't know, Aaron and crew skied the Big 3 all in one expedition (Hunter, Foraker, Denali). First time it has ever been done like that and only one other person (the legendary Andrew McClean) has ever skied all of them at any point. Really incredible. I was fortunate enough to see them on their way out on our second day on the mountain. They looked haggard but satisfied.

    And to answer your question Aaron - yes. North Summit, Black Rock Peak, Wickrasham Wall and a first descent that we were eyeing on the West Buttress (had hoped to do it on this trip but it wasn't even plausible due to ice)...they all have me interested in getting back up there. The trick will be getting it cleared by the boss (=wife), haha.
    When in doubt...straighten 'em out.

    joelbettner.blogspot.com

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by jbski View Post
    And to answer your question Aaron - yes. North Summit, Black Rock Peak, Wickrasham Wall and a first descent that we were eyeing on the West Buttress (had hoped to do it on this trip but it wasn't even plausible due to ice)...they all have me interested in getting back up there. The trick will be getting it cleared by the boss (=wife), haha.
    Sick. Lets talk about it next time I see you. You talk to the boss. I'll talk to myself.
    "The idea wasnt for me, that I would be the only one that would ever do this. My idea was that everybody should be doing this. At the time nobody was, but this was something thats too much fun to pass up." -Briggs
    Quote Originally Posted by LeeLau View Post
    Wear your climbing harness. Attach a big anodized locker to your belay loop so its in prime position to hit your nuts. Double russian Ti icescrews on your side loops positioned for maximal anal rape when you sit down. Then everyone will know your radness
    More stoke, less shit.

  22. #22
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    Eagle River Alaska
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    well that's something I want to do really bad, even more now. Maybe I should stop eating bacon poutine!

    thanks for the inspiration!
    Its not that I suck at spelling, its that I just don't care

  23. #23
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
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    Back in the barrel again
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    1,071
    Beautiful work!
    Loved the viddy: pacing, stoke and sound track.
    Go for adventure, take pix, but make certain to bring'em back alive!

  24. #24
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
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    Uber Alles California
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    I watched the whole video, nice f-ing job!!!!

    So sick

  25. #25
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
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    530
    Sick sick

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