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Wednesday, June 10, 2009
Summit of Denali is Reached
May and early June 2009 have presented climbers with very poor weather conditions in the Alaska range. The weather finally improved yesterday, June 9, and the dispatch below describes the successful climb by an AAI team to the summit.
Despite the poor conditions, three of AAI's first four expeditions of the season have summited. The first expedition of the season was the only one to not summit. After sitting out bad weather at 17,200 feet, they made their final attempt in a small weather window on May 18th, only to be thwarted by high winds four hundred feet below the summit.
Here's the news of yesterday's success, that was completed this morning with a return to camp at 17,200 feet. Lead Guide Aidan Loehr called in this dispatch today via satellite telephone:
"Hey this is Aidan with Team 4. We summited late last night! Super exciting stuff!! We left from high camp [http://www.aai.cc/high_camp.asp ] at 11:00am yesterday and the weather was as good as it gets up here. The whole way up there was nothing but blue skies and a bit of wind. We made it to the top at 9:15pm. There was a white out the whole time we were on the summit [ http://www.aai.cc/summit.asp ], but we still got great views on the summit ridge. We finally got back to high camp at about 1:30am. It was a long day and everyone is sleeping in."
"Some good news for future teams, the weather patterns seem to be changing and it looks like the rest of June should be sunny, clear, and not so windy!. This afternoon we are planning on heading down to our camp at 14,000 feet [ http://www.aai.cc/camp3.asp ]. "
"Here are two messages I am happy to convey: Kevin would like to send his best wishes to his daughter Megan, and James says to tell his wife he loves her...and the Lakers too!"