Denali Speed Record

Regional discussion and conditions reports for Canada and Alaska. Please post partners requests and trip plans in the Canada and Alaska Climbing Partners forum.
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by mconnell » Thu Oct 01, 2009 7:45 pm

Nobody can answer your question. It depends on how fast you adjust to altitude, how much pain you're willing to endure, what the weather looks like, etc. How much time you take off also depends on how much you want to reach the top. The longer you stay, the better your chances.

Since time off during the AK climbing season is hard for me, I have thought about the shortest trip I would do. I wouldn't consider anything less than 2 weeks on the mountain, but I live at 9000' and train between 9000 and 14000 feet (usually between 10 and 13k). Even if I could get up it faster, I wouldn't allow less time since the weather is unpredictable far enough out to deal with permits. (Personally, I would rather go for 3 weeks and stay off the west butt).

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by Pivvay » Thu Oct 01, 2009 8:04 pm

If you want to summit then take as much time as you can. You can't control or predict the weather no matter how strong you are nor predict your acclimatization. A story of someone summiting in 7 days doesn't help you because you don't have their set of circumstances on your attempt.

If you're willing to gamble on good weather and a perfect trip I'm sure you could do it in less than 2 weeks, maybe even a week if you live somewhere you can spend a lot of time up high (colorado, utah, california, etc) and are strong like bull and lady luck smiles on you. And just because people in CO run up 14ers all the time, that doesn't mean many of them wouldn't get sick if they spent the night. Making the quick ascent and descent is different than your body actually being happy to be there.

And just explain how speed records work to you boss, it's not rocket science. Or tell him to take a hike and let you use your vacation for whatever you want even if it's 25 days of extreme knitting.

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by fatdad » Thu Oct 01, 2009 10:10 pm

I believe Galen Rowell may have done the first one day ascent of the West Butt., but I want to recall (perhaps incorrectly) that he started from Windy Corner of something like that.

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by bdynkin » Thu Oct 01, 2009 10:12 pm

gwave47 wrote:What is the shortest amount of time I could climb Denali in? What is the least number of days I would/could need off work to climb Denali?

I don't mean to sound patronizing but you should first probably climb Rainier a few times (preferably non-tourist semitechnical routes, like Kautz), Orizaba, maybe an easy 6K+ mountain in South Amercia and then try Denali.

The best way to shorten a Denali ascent time it to develop an ability to climb in marginal weather. Our team trained pretty hard on mt Washington all winter (mostly bad to really bad wetaher) before Denali. It took us 10 days to summit in rottent but not extreme weather. I myself would not do it any quicker even with ideal weather.

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by gwave47 » Thu Oct 01, 2009 10:59 pm

bdynkin wrote:I don't mean to sound patronizing but you should first probably climb Rainier a few times (preferably non-tourist semitechnical routes, like Kautz), Orizaba, maybe an easy 6K+ mountain in South Amercia and then try Denali.

Don't worry, I'm not talking 2010 or anything. I'm well aware of the dangers of not being properly trained. I can promise I will summit Rainier first, and will be taking a 10 day prep course and who knows what else. It's just a discussion point right now. I am a very eager person who likes to take on new challenges and loves adrenaline and fear, but I do not have a death wish. Thanks for the concern though!

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by vidclimber » Thu Oct 01, 2009 11:53 pm

Thank you for setting me straight on that issue.

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by Steve Gruhn » Fri Oct 02, 2009 3:30 am

Coming from South Carolina, you should budget one day to fly to Anchorage or Fairbanks, one day to drive to Talkeetna, one day to fly to the mountain, 21 days on the mountain, one day to fly back to Talkeetna (you won't be assured of having a plane available the instant you're ready to go), one day to drive to the airport, and one day to fly home. That's 27 days and doesn't account for any unusual weather or touristing in the lowlands. You should probably also give yourself some cushion in case of inclement weather.

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by AndyJB444 » Fri Oct 02, 2009 4:07 pm

Seems like most teams who are dialed and in relatively good fitness can get away with 24 day expeditions door to door - including bad weather/rest days.

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by travelin_light » Sat Oct 17, 2009 6:35 am

Watch out. I have heard of guys wearing track spikes trying to set the speed record. Look out for them, they will blow right by you before you even know what is going on. Hide your scotch too because if they do not send they get really thirsty.


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by MoapaPk » Sat Oct 17, 2009 7:53 am

gwave47 wrote:That's my point though. Acclimatizing is part of the climb. The speed record should be how fast you climb including acclimatizing. Otherwise, you have a non standardized variable that may give him the advantage.

Is this a lot different from exercising to get in shape beforehand? Some of the climbers from Bishop, CA, would go running on White Mt (to 14k') before big trips. Would that be cheating?


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