KTNA Studio – Dave Totten, artist

Photo by Deb Wessler

Photo by Dora Miller

KTNA Studio

KTNA On Air Studio, Jan 2013

Photo by Deb Wessler

Photo by James Trump

Winter Black-capped Chickadee

winter chickadee

Photo by Robin Song

Fish Lake morning

Fish Lake morning

photo: Robin Song

Archives

NPS Staff Prepare for 2015 Climbing Season

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Last year, climbers attempting Denali had one of the lowest success rates in recent history.  Soon, hundreds more climbers will come to Talkeetna on their way to try to conquer North America’s highest mountain.  More than 700 mountaineers are already signed up for the 2015 climbing season, and that number will continue to grow.  Denali National Park spokeswoman Maureen Gualtieri says that guided groups are not subject to the sixty day advance registration that most climbers are, so hundreds more are likely to register and attempt the climb.  Guiltier says she would not be surprised if the numbers are around last year’s mark of 1,200, but she does not think they will be significantly higher at this time.

Spring also means training for the mountaineering ranger staff.  Maureen Gualtieri says that rangers have completed rope, avalanche, and medical training, and that aviation training is currently underway.  As climbing season approaches, the National Park Service will receive logistical support from the military to set up the various camps on Denali.

In May, the KTNA news department will begin producing Denali Reports for the 2015 climbing season.

Lonnie Dupre returns safely from historic Denali climb

Friday, January 16, 2015

Climber Lonnie Dupre has returned to Talkeetna after becoming the first soloist to ever summit Denali in the month of January.  While in town, he stopped in to speak with KTNA’s Phillip Manning.

Lonnie Dupre’s historic climb began on December 18th, and he summited Denali on January 11th just after 2:00 pm.  This was Dupre’s fourth attempt at the unprecedented feat of being the first person to climb the mountain solo in January.  Veteran climber Willi Prittie says January is a tough month for climbing in Alaska, when the longest periods of daylight stretch just past six hours.

“You’ve got to be really on top of your self-care, your logistical stuff, and take advantage of every little bit of daylight that you have, and it isn’t any too much in something like January.” (more…)

Weather turns back Lonnie Dupre’s ride home

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

After becoming the first solo climber to reach the summit of Denali in the month of January, Lonnie Dupre will be spending at least one more night on the mountain after weather forced his ride to turn back.  KTNA’s Phillip Manning was along for the attempted pick-up, and has more:

When it comes to getting in and out of base camp on Denali, nearly everyone travels by airplane.  That was the plan on Wednesday.  Climber Lonnie Dupre was expected to reach base camp by the early afternoon, and two planes were going to meet him, caring sponsors, support crew, and reporters.  The weather was clear, but a system was obviously moving in from the south.  After one final check-in with Lonnie Dupre by satellite phone, Talkeetna Air Taxi pilot Paul Roderick set off.

The flight started fairly smoothly, but as the plane entered the Alaska Range, turbulence began to pick up. (more…)

Lonnie Dupre becomes first ever January Denali soloist

Monday, January 12, 2015
Lonnie

Lonnie Dupre on a previous winter attempt of Denali.

History has been made on North America’s highest peak. On Sunday, Lonnie Dupre  became the first solo climber to summit Denali in the month of January.  KTNA’s Phillip Manning has more:

The news of Lonnie Dupre’s summit came early on Sunday afternoon. His support team received a message from Dupre’s GPS locator that he had made it to the top of North America’s highest peak.

This attempt to be the first successful January soloist on Denali is Dupre’s fourth.  His previous tries were thwarted by bad weather high on the mountain.  Last Thursday, Lonnie Dupre shared via satellite phone his thoughts on being held back by poor conditions.

“There’s nothing worse than having to stay put, especially when you have eighteen hours of darkness every evening.  It makes for very long nights.  And, of course, just  always having the weather pull the rug out from under you when you were psyched up to go somewhere or do some climbing.” (more…)

Lonnie Dupre Continues His Attempt at Denali History

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Climber Lonnie Dupre is continuing his attempt to be the first person to climb Denali solo in the month of January.  He has given regular updates via sat phone, and his Facebook page is tracking his progress.  As of Tuesday morning, Dupre was camped at 14,200 feet and planning to haul his gear to 15,000 feet.  From there, he will establish caches and continue to acclimate as he waits for a weather window to attempt the summit.  In his last sat-phone update, recorded on Monday, Dupre says he is feeling fit after a day of rest.

You can follow Lonnie Dupre’s progress on his Facebook page.

Twelve year, human-powered expedition summits Denali

Friday, May 30, 2014

This year, over a thousand people will try to climb Denali.  Some of those will be making the attempt as part of a “seven summits” expedition, which involves reaching the highest point on all seven continents.  One family expedition, named Top to Top, is attempting the seven summits in a way that has never been done before.  KTNA’s Phillip Manning has more:
20140530TopToTop

For most climbers coming to Denali from outside of Alaska, the trip involves long hours of travel via planes and road vehicles.  For Dario and Sabine Schwörer and their children, it meant years of travel by very different means, as Dario explains.

“Just sail from one continent to the other, and then climb the highest peak in each of the seven continents…Denali was actually our second-last.” (more…)

Fatal Denali accident claims the life of Sylvia Montag

Friday, May 9, 2014

Just days into climbing season, a mountaineer has died in an accident high on Denali.  Sylvia Montag, 39, of Tacoma Washington, became separated from her climbing partner before falling nearly 1,000 feet.  KTNA’s Phillip Manning has more:

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Sylvia Montag climbing near Karstens Ridge just over a week before the fall that claimed her life on Denali. Photo via fox-challenge.de

Sylvia Montag and her climbing partner, Mike Fuchs, a 34 year old mountaineer from Berlin, Germany, were climbing near Denali Pass on May 3rd at just over 18,000 feet when the weather forced them to turn away from the summit and set up camp to shelter from the high winds.  After waiting out the weather for two days, Montag and Fuchs began their descent down the West Buttress of Denali.   (more…)

Washington climber dies in fall during early season Denali climb

Friday, May 9, 2014
Sylvia Montag and Mike Fuchs in Talkeetna around April 14, 2014

Sylvia Montag and Mike Fuchs in Talkeetna before their expedition. Photo by Mike Fuchs.

Just days into climbing season, a mountaineer has died in an an accident high on Denali.  Sylvia Montag, 39, of Tacoma Washington, became separated from her climbing partner around May 5th.  Montag and her partner, Mike Fuchs, 34, of Berlin, Germany, were climbing near Denali Pass on May 3rd at just over 18,000 feet when the weather forced them to turn back from the summit and set up camp to shelter from the high winds.  After waiting out the weather for two days, Montag and Fuchs began their descent down the West Buttress of Denali.

At 11:00 am on Monday, the National Park Service says that Fuchs reported via satellite phone that he and Montag had become separated and both had limited supplies.  Fuchs had taken shelter in a storage locker kept at High Camp, around 17,200 feet.  On Tuesday, May 6th, Fuchs called the National Park Service again and requested rescue.  He still had not heard from Montag.

High winds and poor visibility prevented the Park Service from launching its rescue helicopter on Tuesday.  Because Montag and Fuchs were climbing very early in the season, mountaineering rangers were not yet in position to help on the ground, either.  On Wednesday morning, the weather cleared enough for the rescue helicopter to launch.  Montag’s remains were spotted nearly 1,000 feet below Denali Pass.  Mountaineering rangers believe she fell while descending from the pass sometime on May 5th.  Fuchs was spotted near his camp at 17,200 feet and airlifted to base camp.  After a medical assessment, he was flown to the Talkeetna State Airport and released.

Denali base camp to be set up Thursday

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

20140430BaseCamp

For a few months each year, one of the busiest “airports” in Alaska isn’t technically an airport at all.  It’s Denali base camp on the Kahiltna Glacier.  The vast majority of climbers fly in from Talkeetna to the camp at just over 7,000 feet to start their trek.  On arrival, climbers are met by base camp manager Lisa Roderick.  She says her job on the mountain involves wearing multiple hats.  One of her regular tasks is calling the air services in town with current weather conditions in the Alaska Range.

“They love having a person up there that can tell them what the ever-changing conditions are doing.  As climbers fly in, I help unload the planes and just facilitate getting the planes moving and keeping things running smooth.  As the climbers are done climbing the mountain, I call there air service and get their flight out…” (more…)