I’ve worked as hard as physically possible at my age and fitness level, and have gotten some help from the boys, who probably don’t even know their own strength — they are amazing.
The amounts we’ve been carrying vary quite a bit. Yesterday, up to 14,200 foot camp, Louie decided to not use a sled and to help me out he took most of our group gear. Jordan and Joe helped as well. This got my pack down to around 45 lbs though Louie’s was still around 65. Even at 45 lbs I had a difficult time getting the chunk of about 3,000 vert done, especially since we were going to the equivalent of more than 15,000 foot elevation. I was quite proud of Louie and the boys, as they did haul some weight up here, and in good time at around 6 hours (good time for Denali, anyway.)
Both Louie’s and my packs were difficult to handle but so are sleds on the icy sidehills when you’re moving from 11,500 foot camp to 14,200.
During the first single carry we did from Kahiltna Base, I hauled my half (less a gallon of fuel) which made my total load that day around 120 lbs, with about 40 in the pack and the rest in the sled, and on the double carry we did from 7,000 to 11,500 Louie hauled most of my share of the group gear. To be clear, the boys definitely helped me out getting up here and my thanks goes to them from the bottom of my heart. Oh, and also today they headed down 700 vertical to pick up the last of the cache we left down there two days ago, and left me up here blogging and charging their Ipods.
In summary, If we hadn’t planned on the boys doing what it took to get my sorry ass up here, I never would have brought the blog gear and would have somehow reduced my personal gear weight. That said, if we went that route we wouldn’t be doing the WildSnow Denali trip but rather something else.
I should also add that our plan all along with our gear style was to not get ridiculous, but still bring things like a cook tent, good repair kits and first aid kits, plenty of food, Ipods, two SLR camera setups, etc. Thus, we’re probably an average weight expedition with the added 15 lbs or so of solar and blog gear.
WildSnow.com publisher emeritus and founder Lou (Louis Dawson) has a 50+ years career in climbing, backcountry skiing and ski mountaineering. He was the first person in history to ski down all 54 Colorado 14,000-foot peaks, has authored numerous books about about backcountry skiing, and has skied from the summit of Denali in Alaska, North America’s highest mountain.