It's funny - I put in my last cybercast from Nepal about two weeks ago, and just finished typing up the first one for Denali. For being somewhere else all the time, I sure feel like I'm always letting people know where I am!
Island Peak stands at 20,305 feet above sea level. We were joking while we were there that we should just bring a really tall ladder to make it to the same elevation as the summit of Denali, which is at 20,320', and how different the two climbs were. Island: a different language, rocky trails, animals to carry your gear, people to cook your food and carry the kitchen, a day from base camp to the summit. Denali: US land, entirely ice from the moment you start, 120 lbs of gear that you are responsible for moving up the mountain, a shovel for making your own sleeping place level (and protected from wind and snow), and 15+ days of walking slowly uphill carrying lots of weight, hoping the weather will give you a break so you can go back down. It would be difficult for them to be more different, but it's all the mountains, and it's all good.
So we're off, weather permitting, tomorrow afternoon. We'll spend the next full day at base camp, by the snow runway, going over crevasse rescue and building a strong camp and all the other stuff we need to be ready for the mountain. It will be a few days until we have phone reception and can call in again, but posts, as always, will be at www.alpineascents.com/denali-cybercast.asp See you soon!