Friday, June 29, 2012

Denali Part 4: Messner Avalanche

We made camp at Camp 4 (14,000 ft) on June 6, 2012.  And then we hung out at Camp 4 until June 15, 2012 while we waited for a weather window.  When we arrived at Camp 4, we were optimistic and believed that we would be able to ski lines like the Messner Couloir, the Orient Express, and Rescue Gully.  We didn't anticipate that we'd get snowed on for 8 days, straight.

While hanging out at Camp 4, we actually had quite a bit of fun.  Two of the funner moments occurred when the Messner let go.  On June 8, 2012, the Messner unloaded, dusting the camp.  The June 8 avalanche exposed a nice layer of blue ice in and around the Messner.  Then the real storms came.  On June 12, 2012, the Messner unloaded again.  I took this video; here is what it looked like:

Of course, this wasn't the only activity on the mountain.  The Valley of Death, below Camp 4 was constantly rumbling.  There were a couple times while lying in my tent where I caught myself holding my breath, hoping that the rumbling wouldn't come any closer.  I laid in my tent playing Jet or Avalanche--guessing whether the sounds outside were caused by a jet or an Alaska-sized avalanche.

I still think skiing the Messner would be really cool.  It's just that while I was there, and given the conditions, I didn't think it was worth it.  Check out this guy's adventure in the Messner on June 16, 2012 (Aaron and I flew off the mountain on June 16, 2012):

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