Solo Winter Route CASSIN Mount McKinley.

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Watermann2

Big Wall climber
Saluzzo Italia
Topic Author's Original Post - Dec 11, 2014 - 08:00am PT
Hello everyone, sorry for the translation (I do not know your beautiful language)
I wanted to ask who is more experienced than me, if the way to Denali CASSIN solo winter is already being attempted by some hikers, (it seems to me that in winter solo nobody has ever succeeded) but I could be wrong, though, to favor some expert knows something climbing or winter attempts on CASSIN, please tell me what do I know that the very strong climber Kirkpatrick, will try to climb the normal route from MCKINLEY (chapeau, large enterprise) But great ANDY, why not climb the Cassin? I'm sure she would make her one of the largest masterpieces of all time !!!
I thank in advance all those who will give me information about the solitary to Route Cassin in winter.

Greetings to all from Italy
climbski2

Mountain climber
Anchorage AK, Reno NV
Dec 11, 2014 - 08:12am PT
Denali in winter is incredibly unpleasant. Very few people have the experience to survive intact long term in the temperatures encountered. -30 average on lower mountain and much colder above 14k feet, -60F -50C common. Few trips with even experienced capable groups manage to summit in winter on even the easiest technical routes. Most of those are not attempted in the heart of winter they are done as close to the end of winter as to be technically winter.

Modern climbing gear is not designed to operate effectively at -50F (-45C) and below. Nylon Tents and clothing shred from the slightest nick. Metal gets brittle, A momentary mistake will cause frostbite. Days are VERY short. The simplest tasks are annoyingly difficult and after days quite demoralizing. At -65F most materials start acting even more strangely and break very easily.

Tecnical tasks are hard to do in mittens and the only boots that keep you warm in those temps require being fit very loosely.

The Cassin is enough for most folks in perfect conditions.

I suppose it's doable for the right person. But it would be gawdaful unpleasant and very risky even for them.

clinker

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, California
Dec 11, 2014 - 08:18am PT
Pizza and beer (or wine) is a molto better idea.
crankster

Trad climber
Dec 11, 2014 - 08:20am PT
Suicide.
MarkWestman

Trad climber
Talkeetna, Alaska
Dec 11, 2014 - 08:44am PT
Cassin has only one winter ascent- Jon Waterman, Roger Mear, Mike Young in 1982.
West Rib was soloed in winter 1983 by Dave Staeheli.

Pulling off a winter ascent of a non technical route like the west buttress without getting frostbite is a significant accomplishment. On a technical route on Denali in winter, I put ones odds of sustaining frostbite at near certain. (All three of the above froze their toes).

Having climbed Denali in April, I can't really imagine being up there 2-3 months earlier.

Waterman' story makes clear that they felt lucky to live through it.
MarkWestman

Trad climber
Talkeetna, Alaska
Dec 11, 2014 - 08:45am PT
At one point, something like half of Denali's 'successful' winter ascents involved fatalities, and almost all involved frostbite.
MarkWestman

Trad climber
Talkeetna, Alaska
Dec 11, 2014 - 08:55am PT
Before my time. But I know Mear did the FA of Huntington's east pillar in 1983, a year after the Cassin.
kunlun_shan

Mountain climber
SF, CA
Dec 11, 2014 - 09:18am PT
Bruce, I did a search and it appears that Roger Mear is guiding in Europe and the UK for this company - http://www.jagged-globe.co.uk/search.html?q=roger+mear
fear

Ice climber
hartford, ct
Dec 11, 2014 - 10:10am PT
We saw -40 degrees (ambient) in April at 14k.

Winter + Cassin = F That.

rockermike

Trad climber
Berkeley
Dec 11, 2014 - 10:21am PT
from above comments it sound pretty much un-doable..... but damn, that makes it all the more valuable. ha I love hearing or even thinking about impossible sh#t like this. Chest deep snow drifts, rock hard blue ice.... foam pad cracks to pieces instead of unrolling, winds suck the air out of your lungs. I'll buy a beer for anyone who gives it a go. :)
Ian Parsons

climber
UK, England
Dec 11, 2014 - 10:27am PT
It was actually the East Ridge of Deborah - Dave Roberts' "ribbon on edge" - that Roger Mear climbed in 1983, along with John Barry, Rob Collister and on-route amalgamation with Dave Cheesmond and Carl Tobin. He and Steve Bell did the Huntingdon route in (I'm fairly sure) 1980; I was in The Valley with Steve in the fall of that year, and I'm pretty certain they'd been in Alaska in the spring. Roger's still active - did his third El Cap route last year, 35 years after his first.
Chugach

Trad climber
Vermont
Dec 11, 2014 - 01:09pm PT
ClimbSki2 and I know the first two successful winter solo ascentionists but they were such badasses that their words always floated above me.

We have a mutual friend (TD) who went up one winter solo and came back without a summit. What he said I will always remember; the awesomeness, the desolation, the crushing cold and loneliness, the overwhelming magnitude of Denali alone - it was just too much. I ribbed him a little about not getting higher but it was so obvious in his face that Denali alone in winter was a universe away from my experiences there in the perpetual daylight of summer. It was more his eyes than his words that convinced me Denali solo in winter was too big for my dreams.

Vitaliy M.

Mountain climber
San Francisco
Dec 11, 2014 - 01:23pm PT
Denali in winter seems a little extreme. Or very extreme.
fear

Ice climber
hartford, ct
Dec 11, 2014 - 01:37pm PT
It's one of those things though that if the timing is right.... like Honnold in a few years taking to alpinism, getting married, and then going through a horrible divorce... That might inspire something like Cassin in Winter...
Mr_T

Trad climber
Northern California
Dec 11, 2014 - 02:12pm PT
Is is possible to take out a life insurance policy on any random person?
climbski2

Mountain climber
Anchorage AK, Reno NV
Dec 11, 2014 - 02:16pm PT
Hey Sandman Todd did 3 trips up there in Winter with 1 solo attempt. He also did a climb on mooses tooth with Mark Westman above. Mark here has done a huge amount of climbing in the range on many of the baddest routes. Todd is one of the most motivated qualified folks I know and it says a lot how he felt up there.

..Winter up there? Never intrigued me though.. lol I grew up in that kind of stuff north of Denali and ..well it holds no allure for me.

How to do it.

Become a solid 5.12 climber and WI G6 Soloer because you dont want to be challenged at all by the climbing. It has to be the least of your problems.

Spend a winter soloing around the brookes range getting gear dialed and specialized. and not dying or getting frostbite. After this hopefully you will think -10degF is T-Shirt weather.

In summer climb the cassin and stash gear including ski's and a solo system at 17k on WB and leave your winter kit with Paul at TAT

That winter hang out on aconcagua for a couple months getting acclimatized and waiting for a weather window on denali...

As soon as you get your window fly immediately to anchorage have Paul pick you up in anchorage and fly you into base camp. Bust ass up the cassin and back down in 72 hours and get the hell out.

Pay fines with NPS for ditching gear at bottom of cassin and caching gear at 17k.

If no permit as might be likely (as NPS would not be happy with your plan) you would have to find a pirate pilot to drop you in the valley of death.Pick ya up at 9.5 or perhaps drive a snowmachine up there.. ,, Hey why not? since you arnt following rules anyway.

Interesting, NPS rules might be the most insurmountable part of the plan. oh and winning the lottery in order to finance this rediculous waste of resources.

Kinda messin with MW here..heh
MarkWestman

Trad climber
Talkeetna, Alaska
Dec 11, 2014 - 05:11pm PT
Ian Parsons, you're right- it was 1980 for Mear and Bell on Huntington. Robb Kimbrough and John Tuckey did a line to the right of theirs in 1983.

StahlBro

Trad climber
San Diego, CA
Dec 11, 2014 - 05:13pm PT
Read the book "Minus 148". If a winter ascent still sounds good, more power to you.


Ciao
yeahman

Mountain climber
Montana
Dec 11, 2014 - 05:34pm PT
Great stories and thread...all it took was a guy who doesn't even speak the language to come along and start it!
Watermann2

Big Wall climber
Saluzzo Italia
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 11, 2014 - 09:57pm PT
Thanks to all for your answers and your information.
Thank you very much!
Greetings to all. Goodbye
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