Monday, June 8, 2009

Preparation for a Denali Expedition

So many of you might wonder what goes into preparing for a Denali expedition. For the last few days our team (Mary Harlan, Richard Riquelme and myself) have been doing just that. The preparation starts many months in advance with our office staff and Alaska interns. The guides job starts almost exactly the same way the team climbers trip starts with personal gear packing and of course fitness throughout the winter.

We arrive in Alaska four days to a week prior to the expedition start to prepare for the trip. AAI has a cabin at the Talkeetna Hostel where we stay and do our food packing for the trip. The Hostel is a great place for us to hang out and relax in addition to prepare for the trip.

AAI Guide Danny Uhlman between Trips

Food packing is the single most time consuming part of our trip. It usually takes 3 people 3 days to repackage and prepare all of the food for a 21 day trip.

Packing Food in the Cabin

Once food packing is done we start gear preparation and packaging. AAI has a gear shed located at the K2 Aviation located at the airfield.

Packing Gear in the Shed

There are countless other small jobs to be done scheduling and preparing for a smooth running trip that get taken care of before the trip starts. These include checking in with the Park Service, checking in with the flight service, and organizing and purchasing all of fresh food and pizza for the first few days of the trip.

The day before the trip starts we head down to Anchorage to meet with the climbers and do a gear check and meet with the climbers on our team. We also use this time to purchase any last minute items in the big city prior to heading back up to Talkeetna.

Of course it is not all work for those of us who get here more than four days prior to the trip. There is a little time for relaxation and enjoyment. Talkeetna has almost everything a guide could need to keep them entertained for a few days, like several pubs and even a rock climbing gym.

Mary at the Climbing Gym

Richard at the Pub

Mary at the Pub

Moose Mary

--Alasdair Turner, AAI Guide

No comments: