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  • Mount Denali Expedition 2024 - Summit & Ski

    May 18, 2024 3 min read

    Paul at Turnagain Pass in Alaska (May 16th)

    North America's Highest Mountain 

    Here's something truly amazing for us here at Paradise: Paul Fotter, the original Paradise Backcountry Ambassador, is attempting to summit and ski the highest peak in North America this week! 

    Last Saturday Paul drove from Whitefish, Montana, to Calgary, Alberta, and hopped on a plane to Anchorage, Alaska. What's he up to you ask? Oh nothing too crazy, just attempting to ski & summer Mount Denali!! 

    Today (May 18th), Paul begins his Denali expedition with a team of seven. Denali is the highest peak in North America (20,310 ft - 6,190m above sea level) and requires a high level of mountaineering and guiding ability. When summited, you must be an expert backcountry skier to ski down safely. Only 1,500 Denali permits are given out yearly, so this isn't a simple objective - he's been prepping and planning for over a year. If successful, this will be the highest altitude a pair of Paradise skis has ever reached without being in an airplane! 

    Paul is nothing short of a backcountry expert, he works year-round as a mountain guide, is a certified EMT, and volunteers at the Flathead Avalanche Center at Hungry Horse, Montana. 

    Join us in wishing Paul clear skis and smooth skiing! We'll keep you updated as he goes. 

    Denali Expedition Live Updates:

    May 18th - Official confirmation: we've recieved the InReach notification that he's started the expedition! 

    InReach Notification

     

    May 21st - Message from Paul: "Team is tired but feeling good after three days of pulling sleds... Made it to camp one (11,000 ft into the trek) last night at 1AM, travelling at night to avoid hear during the day. We're resting and waiting out some weather before moving to 14,000 ft". 

    InReach Location message from Paul

    May 24th - Message from Paul: "Tried to move a load of food to 13.5k ft today, ended up digging a cache at 12.5k when a member of the team started experiencing symptoms of altitude sickness, so we decided to descend. Taking a rest day tomorrow to acclimatize more. 

    I am feeling really well! Felt strong today and am enjoying the mountain more than expected. It's so beautiful up here"! 

    Pauls Location - May 25

     

    May 25th - "We moved our cache of gear up to 13.5k today. Back down to 11k to sleep then moving camp up to 14k tomorrow before a storm is supposed to roll in Monday/Tuesday".

    May 25 - Pauls Location - Mount Denali
    May 27th - "Team made it to camp at 14.2k last night. Long day of hauling and setting up camp yesterday. Today we will go get our cache at 13.5k and bring it up to the camp at 14k. We are feeling the altitude but overall feeling good! 

    Made freinds with a couple from Sanpoint ID at 11k and are camping beside them at 14k, one of whom grew up in Maine. Fun to meet folks from where I grew up"!
    Pauls location - May 27 - 14.2k feet
    May 29th - "Had a great day aclimatizing and skiing from 15.5k today. Really fun to ski bluebird powder high on Denali! All the big lines unfortunately are not in great condition for skiing. Team is feeling good and excited"! 
    InReach Location Skiing Mount Denali
    May 30th - "Super eventful day yesterday! We moved a cache of food to 16.2k atop the fixed lines. On the way back down we assisted a rescue of a climber with a broken tibia/fibula. A couple other climbing teams assisted and we were able to get her down as Park Services met us on the slope. Sounds like she should be okay and flown out as soon as weather allows. I smashed my finger pretty good hammering in a picket, hoping the pain goes away soon! Team is taking a rest day and enjoying the sun while the upper mountain storms". 
    Pauls location - May 30th
    June 1st - "We are unfortunately not going to get a large enough weather window to summit before our flight back to Talkeetna. Team is going to start descending the mountain and try to fly back to Talkeetna the 3rd if weather co-operates. Hard pill to swallow but the team feels satisfied with what's been an incredible trip".
    June 3rd - "Team got back to basecamp early in the morning and is flying back to Talkeetna today". 
    Well, what a trip folks! We're all damned proud of Paul and his team! We'll update you with another article with more info about the trip once Paul is back home. 
    Safe travels home Paul! 

    _________________________________________________________________
    If you're unfamiliar with Mount Denali, check out this video: 
     

     

     

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