Dave Ghan phoned me yesterday from base camp at Mount Saint Elias via satellite phone. Though patchy, we were able to have a short conversation: he has fashioned skins out of crampons and rope, and they spent the last week under bluebird skies hauling 600 pounds of gear up to base camp, ascending over 12,000 vertical feet in the process. It is a 9.5 mile traverse one way to base camp, resulting in 10-15 hour days moving gear from the boat to camp. Needless to say, the crew is getting tired.
As soon as they settled into base camp, a low pressure system arrived and the mountain is now obscured by snow and fog. Conditions don’t look great, but the team has begun to climb, doing recon up Shale Ridge above camp.
Best of luck on reaching the summit, and bagging a 15,000 vertical foot descent–quite possibly the longest snowboard descent in the world.
Photo: Dave in training in the Mt. Baker parking lot, courtesy Sky Risvold.