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Denali Expedition: Cifelli & Team Carry up the Fixed Lines

Day 11 on the mountain.

We woke up at the 14 camp once again chilly but not quite as cold as the previous night. Everyone prepares for the day and makes their way to the mess tent. Hot water is ready! Coffee is essential, and then Cinnamon Toast Crunch with powdered milk and warm water. It is actually very good!!

Since coming to 14,000’ Camp, we have been admiring the headwall which directly faces the camp ascending about 2,000’ above. Today is our day to ascend and cache supplies. The headwall is like motorcycle hill on steroids! We made our way up to the bergschrund near the top and where the fixed ropes begin. The first step over the bergschrund was fun and exciting to ascend for most! And then using our ascenders made our way up to the top on the ropes. The incline is probably 60 degrees, and the practice yesterday was very useful, for most of us, it was the first time using these ropes and gear.

We all made it and cached our stuff. Descending was equally perilous but a bit more fun and of course, a lot faster! Wrapping the rope around our arm we just leaned forward and walked down. (I personally really enjoyed that!). We made it back to camp a little tired but excited to have ascended.

This place is incredibly beautiful but also can be merciless. This place has some of the most amazing views I have ever seen and dangerous corners and crevasses. It’s a place where you can simultaneously get sunburn and frostbite. We are constantly taking layers on and off. It can be so cold to have to wear a parka and then in a few hours just a T-shirt. Having the right gear and guidance is so important. We are blessed to have three outstanding guides. Dom, Seth, and Nicole. They are very capable, knowledgeable, and kind of superhuman! So, rest assured to all our loved ones at home, we are in very good hands.

We are also far enough along in this trip to start missing home and in particular our friends and families. For me, I miss my family, my kids Max, Emma, and Sophie mostly. Cannot miss this opportunity to tell you how proud I am of all three of you!!

Tomorrow is rest day, and then hopefully we scale the headwall again up to 17,000’ camp.

RMI Climber Cary Idler


Comments (4)

Congratulations - that must’ve been an amazing feeling and view! Everyone at BJSC is cheering for you! Safe travels to you and the team.

Posted by: Katie Tallman on

Wow! What an incredible adventure! I’m sure the stories and pictures you bring back will be ones you keep for a lifetime. Be safe and happy travels!!

Posted by: Dana on

Miss you!! You better not anti-live. It seems so beautiful to be up there and I hope this will be a great experience for you!

Posted by: Emma Idler on

Thinking about you Cary. What an amazing once in a lifetime experience Please be safe and I have no doubt you are going to persevere. Be strong.  Can’t wait to hear all about it when you come back.  Love you !

Posted by: Tammi idler on

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