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Dude,  where  are  we?  


Denali  After  Action  Report  




By:  Jeff  Rogers  

First  let  me  cite  Timothy  Hult  on  this  introduction  to  his  Denali  guide.  I  think  it  sums  
up  a  few  points  that  people  who  have  not  attempted  Denali  would  not  understand  
otherwise.  If  you  would  like  to  read  his  full  guide  the  link  is  listed  at  the  end  of  this  
document.  If  it  no  longer  works  email  me  for  the  PDF.  



Date:  May  16th2015  –  June  4th  2015.  Sea  Kayaking  cool  down.  Fly  home  June  12th  
Team:  Gypsies  of  14k  
Members:  Jeff  Rogers  (Expedition  Leader),  Alex  Calder  
Route:  West  Buttress  
Ski  Descents:  All  of  the  route  below  14000ft,  Lower  West  Rib,  Below  fixed  lines,  
Rescue  Gulley,  Lower  summit  ridge  to  Rescue  Gulley  to  14000ft  on  West  Buttress  


A  couple  of  things  to  note  is  a  typical  party  takes  21  days  to  reach  the  summit  and  
camps  at  17200ft.  We  had  30  days  of  food  and  3  Gallons  of  fuel  to  maximize  our  
ability  to  wait  out  storms  and  try  for  the  summit  multiple  times  if  needed.  
Thankfully  the  only  real  storm  we  were  hit  by  was  at  the  airstrip  while  we  were  
trying  to  leave.  It’s  worth  noting  that  we  were  given  two  gallons  of  fuel  and  another  
five  days  of  food  from  a  successful  guided  group  before  their  descent.  Both  of  which  
we  did  not  use!  
The  first  three  days  are  spent  arriving  to  Anchorage,  spending  a  day  buying  food,  
and  then  another  travel  day  from  Anchorage  to  Talkeetna  via  the  train,  and  a  day  
waiting  for  weather  to  clear  so  we  can  fly  in.  
An  average  day  would  be  a  5hr  carry  up  and  a  10-­‐minute  ski  down.  We  had  days  
that  ranged  from  3hrs  to  10  hours  while  carrying/moving  camp.  And  summit  day  
was  the  longest  by  far  at  17  hours.  The  amount  of  climbers  on  the  mountain  while  
we  were  there  was  approx.  300  at  various  spots  from  7200-­‐17200ft.  Skis  
significantly  shorten  the  carries.  I  recommend  anyone  who  is  comfortable  on  skis  
use  them  until  11000ft,  experienced  skiers  can  use  them  on  the  entire  mountain  
with  good  snow  conditions.  We,  unfortunately,  did  not  get  those  conditions.  
A  narration  of  each  of  these  days  along  with  pictures  will  be  added  when  I  receive  
all  the  content  from  my  climbing  partner.  
*Day  1:  Fly  in,  drop  off  climbers  at  Ruth  gorge,  pick  climbers  up  at  the  Moose’s  tooth  
Land  at  Kahiltna  Airstrip,  Repack,  Bury  a  Cache,  Move  to  7800  
Day  2:  Haul  Load  to  9700,  Camp  at  7800  
Day  3:  Move  to  9700  
Day  4:  Single  Carry  to  11000  
Day  5:  Haul  Load  to  just  below  polo  field,  stopped  by  wind  
Day  6:  Haul  Load  to  just  below  polo  field,  stopped  by  wind  
*Day  7:  Move  to  14200,  Single  Carrying  from  the  polo  field,  windy  (DUMB  IDEA)  

Day  8:  Rest  Day,  build  and  fortify  camp  at  14200  
Day  9:  Storm  Day,  ski  from  15200ft  on  the  West  Buttress  
Day  10:  Ski  from  west  rib  at  16000ft  
Day  11:  Try  to  acclimate  by  getting  to  high  camp  at  17200ft,  get  stuck  behind  
guided  group,  turn  around  at  Washburn’s  thumb,  bad  headache  this  day  for  me  
Day  12:  Ski  from  West  Rib  at  16000ft,  Go  over  to  the  edge  of  the  world  and  take  
many  pictures.  
Day  13:  Rest  Day  and  prepare  packs/drink  tons  of  water  for  summit  day  
*Day  14:  Summit  day,  4:00am  start,  12hrs  up  5  hrs  down,  back  at  14000ft,  coughing  
and  headaches  on  ascending  pig  hill  and  on  the  descent.  I  also  spent  almost  two  
hours  chatting  and  rehydrating  with  a  couple  climbers  at  17.2k.  Thanks  for  the  
Day  15:  Rest  Day  
Day  16:  Partner  decides  he  wants  to  leave  and  try  to  beat  the  incoming  storm,  we  
descend,  pick  up  cache  at  11000k  after  searching  for  an  hour.  
Day  17:  Storm  Day  at  airstrip  
Day  18:  Storm  Day  at  airstrip  
Day  19:  Get  picked  up  around  noon  by  Talkeetna  Air  Taxi,  Dry  Stuff,  Drink,  Burgers,  
Drink,  Live  Music  in  Talkeetna,  Pizza,  Drink,  Sleep  at  Talkeetna  Air  Taxi  
Day  20:  Hitch  a  ride  to  Anchorage,  Spenard  Hostel  
Day  21:  Spenard  Hostel,  Buy  supplies  for  Sea  Kayak  Trip  
Day  22:  Train  to  Whittier,  Start  Sea  Kayak  Trip  
Day  23:  Sea  Kayaking  
Day  24:  Sea  Kayaking  
Day  25:  Sea  Kayaking,  Return  to  Whittier,  Train  to  Anchorage  
Day  26:  Spenard  Hostel,  Dry  stuff  from  Kayak  trip  
*Day  27:  Fly  home;  sit  next  to  morbidly  obese  woman  for  the  flight=half  a  chair    
Day  28:  Arrive  home  
*=Hardest  Days  of  the  Trip  



The  philosophy  behind  packing  for  this  expedition  was  to  sustain  us  for  an  entire  
month  with  no  assistance  from  any  other  groups.  Self-­‐reliance  is  an  important  
aspect  of  mountaineering  and  relying  on  other  climbers  can  endanger  you  and  
whomever  you  are  relying  on.    


All  the  Gear  Laid  out  


Packed  (yes  I  need  some  ski  luggage,  but  the  box  they  shipped  in  worked  well)  
Climbers  with  no  food  from  home  may  be  able  to  get  away  with  one  massive  fully  
packed  duffel,  fully  stuffed  carry  on  and  fully  packed  ski  bag.  

First  Aid  Kit  

2x  pair  Surgical  Gloves  
2x  Antiseptic  wipes  
2x  triangular  bandage  
Ace  Bandage  
Gauze  Roll  
Diamox  250mg  per  dose  (my  buddy  had  125mg  tablets,  he  double  dosed  after  
seeing  mine)  
Dexamethasone  4mg  per  dose  
Ciprofloxacin  HCL  500mg  per  dose  
Azithromycin  250mg  per  dose  
Advil  (30)  
Low  Dose  Aspirin  (8)  
Benadryl  (15)  
Laxative  (6)  
2x  Non-­‐stick  Gauze  Pad  
2x  Medical  Tape  
5x  Cotton  Swabs  


4x  Butterfly  Bandage  
3x  Pepto  tablets  
1x  tincture  of  Benzoin  
3x  Safety  Pins  
Backup  lighter  
Emergency  Blanket  
2x  Moleskin  sheet  
2x  Foam  Blister  Sheet  
Burn  Crème  
Codeine  (cough  suppressant)  
Imodium  (anti-­‐diarrhea)  
Knee  Brace  
Medicated  Gold  Bond  (Not  necessary  but  I  like  having  it,  maybe  travel  size  is  better)  
Yes  we  wanted  to  be  prepared  for  anything.  Another  thing  in  our  medical  kit,  
Wilderness  First  Responder  certifications.  Knowing  how  to  treat  things  that  can  
happen  is  more  important  than  any  of  this  stuff.      

Repair  Kit  
Extra  Fuel  Cap  (Not  needed,  pumps  serve  as  fuel  caps)  
stove  repair  kit  (MSR  Expedition)  
spare  fuel  pump  
zip  ties  (10)  
hose  clamps  (forgot  these,  essential)  
bailing  wire  (5ft)  
spare  waist  belt  buckle  (Gave  this  one  away  to  a  fellow  climber  who  broke  his)  
spare  small  buckle  
550  cord  (50ft)  
gorilla  glue  
JB-­‐Weld  putty  (Repaired  my  Whippet  pole  after  it  snapped,  life  saver  for  a  skier!)  
gorilla  tape  (Duct  tape  on  roids)  
extra  lighter  (Not  needed  if  each  person  has  one  and  theres  a  flint  &  steel  w/stove)  
diamond  file  (Ski  edge  maintenance)  
extra  compactor  bags  (Never  enough!)  
Volie  scraper  
Multi-­‐Tool  (Essential,  we  brought  a  cheapo  one  from  Wal-­‐Mart  10.2oz,  a  
Leatherman  squirt  or  juice  would  save  you  some  serious  weight  here)  

Equipment  and  Stuff  

-­‐Black  Diamond  Couloir  Harness  (Not  the  harness  I’d  go  with  again,  you’re  wearing  
this  99%  of  the  time,  so  as  long  as  it  has  the  correct  features  weight  is  not  a  factor,  
comfort  and  ease  of  use  is  huge.  The  Couloir  is  a  bitch  to  double  back)  
-­‐7  Non  locking  biners  (assorted)  

-­‐3  Locking  Biners  (assorted)  
-­‐Petzl  Ascender  (Beats  tying  a  climb  heist  at  every  piece  of  pro!)  
-­‐2  half  length  runners  
-­‐1  full  length  runner    
-­‐3  Ice  Screws  (Not  used)  
-­‐Guide  ATC  (Not  used)  
-­‐4  Pickets  (Make  great  tent  anchors  more  than  anything  else.  The  guiding  companies  
had  already  placed  most  protection  on  the  route,  but  I  recommend  you  always  have  
one  on  your  pack  while  in  crevasse  terrain)  
-­‐Grivel  Whippet  Ski  pole  (Absolute  piece  of  shit)  
-­‐Camp  Interalp  Ice  Axe  (Oldie  but  goodie,  29oz  of  metal.  Don’t  forget  to  insulate  for  
summit  day)  
-­‐Homemade  Pussik  Loops  (Experiment  with  lengths)  
-­‐Petzl  Sarken  Crampons  (Sweet  set  of  Pons,  fit  my  AT  boots  and  Barunstses  with  and  
without  overboots)  
-­‐Miscellaneous  cord  for  sled  rigging  and  glacier  rescue  (Bring  a  ton  and  stash  what  
you  do  not  use  at  your  cache  at  base  camp.    The  best  sled  rigs  used  compression  
straps  with  fastex  buckles  instead  of  rope  to  cinch  down  the  duffels  on  the  sled.)  
-­‐Fischer  Hannibal  94s  177cm  (A  great  ski,  could  have  gone  a  tad  wider  but  overall  
excellent  and  very  light)  

Why  would  anybody  walk  down  a  mountain?    
-­‐Fischer  Ambition  10  Touring  Bindings  (I  broke  a  pair  of  ambitions  12s  clean  off  my  
ski  a  month  prior  to  the  expedition,  however  I  was  able  to  work  with  Mike  Marolt  at  and  get  a  pair  of  Ambition  10s  sent  to  me  right  away,  and  I  was  sent  a  
spare  pair  by  Bill  Ewert  at  Fischer  to  stash  at  base  camp  in  case  I  broke  the  new  pair.  
Thanks  again  for  the  help  with  your  connections  at  Fischer  Mike!)  

-­‐B  and  D  Gear  Ski  Leashes  (Not  recommended,  they  loose  their  elasticity  very  
quickly,  would  be  an  excellent  product  if  it  worked  as  designed)    
-­‐Black  Diamond  Ski  Strap  (Awesome,  can  be  used  to  rig  your  ice  axe  to  ski  pole)  
-­‐Magic  Carpet  Nylon  Skins  
-­‐Camp  Pulse  Helmet  (Love  this  thing,  perfect  blend  between  a  rock  helmet  and  a  ski  
helmet.  But  with  all  the  head  layers  going  on  and  off,  we  seldom  used  helmets  for  
our  ski  descents,  I  would  leave  it  at  home)  
-­‐Homemade  Chest  Harness  (Webbing  and  experimentation)  
-­‐Avalanche  Transceiver  (Again  like  the  helmet  it  seems  like  a  good  idea  at  the  house,  
but  is  not  used  frequently  on  the  mountain,  leave  it  at  home)  
-­‐Snow  Saw  (Get  the  best  freaking  one  you  can  find,  ours  was  old  as  hell  and  could  
have  been  much  better  and  saved  us  a  lot  of  work)  
-­‐Screwdriver  for  binding  adjustment  (If  only  the  Ambitions  stayed  where  I  set  

Some  more  Gear  (Note  the  knee  brace,  a  good  idea  for  the  first  aid  kit).  Also  bring  an  
expedition  flag.  They  are  sweet.  
-­‐1995  Lowe  Alpine  Kanga  Himal  SE  100+15  (With  modern  gear,  you  do  not  need  a  
115L  pack,  my  pack  empty  weighs  7lbs  13oz  which  is  a  ton,  so  think  of  summit  day  
when  you  purchase  a  pack  for  this  trip,  my  buddies  Lowe  Alpine  75+20  weighing  in  
at  ~5lbs  seemed  to  be  ideal.  Do  not  go  too  light;  it  still  needs  to  last  for  up  to  4  
weeks  in  a  very  rough  environment.  However  if  you  have  or  need  to  do  long  
unsupported  trips  without  the  aid  of  a  sled,  I  believe  my  pack,  and  mystery  ranch  

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