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Winter Black-capped Chickadee

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Fish Lake morning

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Archives

The News from the Ranger Station, 7-6-2017

Thursday, July 6, 2017
Shane-in-tent

Veteran NPS mountaineering volunteer Shane Treat peeks out from his snowy tent during last season’s patrol on Denali. Photo courtesy of Menno Boermans.

In this weekly segment,
produced by the staff of the Walter Harper Talkeetna Ranger Station,
we hear about one aspect of climbing Denali
that makes it different from climbing elsewhere.
Not everyone is mentally prepared for it.

 

News from the Ranger Station 6-29-2017

Thursday, June 29, 2017
In this photo from last week, Patrol #5 (Coady) descends from a daytrip to 17K, returning with packs full of trash and used oxygen bottles.  (NPS Photo/Melis Coady)

In this photo from last week, Patrol #5 (Coady) descends from a daytrip to 17K, returning with packs full of trash and used oxygen bottles.  (NPS Photo/Melis Coady)

 

In this weekly segment, produced by the staff of the Walter Harper Talkeetna Ranger Station, we hear about the number one reason that mountaineers are unable to summit Denali and other peaks. Several climbers tell about their experiences with weather conditions, and host Michael Connolly tells how this season compares to others, weather-wise.

News from the Ranger Station 6-22-17

Thursday, June 22, 2017
A sliver of moon appears over Mount Foraker as the midnight sun sets.  (NPS Photo/Dave Weber)

A sliver of moon appears over Mount Foraker as the midnight sun sets.  (NPS Photo/Dave Weber)

In this weekly segment, produced by the staff of the Walter Harper Talkeetna Ranger Station, host Mike Connolly interviews Mountain Ranger and District Medical Program Coordinator Dave Weber. They talk about the common medical problems encountered on Denali, how often they’re encountered, and sources for information on prevention.

News from the Ranger Station 6-15-2017

Thursday, June 15, 2017
Artwork for the special flag that will be presented to climbers who complete a full pack out of human waste in 2017. Photo courtesy of Walter Harper Talkeetna Ranger Station

Artwork for the special flag that will be presented to climbers who complete a full pack out of human waste in 2017. Photo courtesy of Walter Harper Talkeetna Ranger Station

 

In this weekly segment, produced by the staff of the Walter Harper Talkeetna Ranger Station, we learn about the history of dealing with human waste on Denali, the trend toward Clean Mountain Can use, and hear some questions being pondered for the future.

 

 

 

Denali Report for June 2nd, 2017: Weather Forecasting

Friday, June 2, 2017
Denali in March of 2017.  Photo by Phillip Manning - KTNA

Denali in March of 2017. Photo by Phillip Manning – KTNA

This week on the Denali Report, KTNA’s Phillip Manning discusses the incredibly low summit rate, and speaks with a forecaster from the National Weather Service about trying to predict the weather on Denali.

As of Thursday afternoon, 1,061 climbers are registered to attempt Denali. Of those, 596 are currently on the mountain, and 225 have returned. Only twenty people have reached the summit of Denali thus far in 2017, making the summit rate eight percent.

That could soon change, however. With the recent clear weather, the National Park Service estimates that about a hundred people made an attempt for the summit on Wednesday.

The holiday weekend was also a busy one for rangers and volunteers. Multiple cases of frostbite were reported, one serious enough to warrant a medevac. In addition, one climber was flown off the mountain after falling into a crevasse.

Weather is a major factor in the difficulty of climbing Denali. Each climbing season since the ‘80s, the National Weather Service puts out special forecasts centered on the mountain. I spoke with forecaster Ed Plumb earlier this week about the forecast and how it differs from those available from private companies.

In the case of some forecasts, Plumb says a single model is used to try to predict the weather. At the National Weather Service, Ed Plumb says he and his colleagues use multiple models and see which ones are making better predictions based on available data. Those blended outlooks are then combined with input from experienced meteorologists, some of whom have been working on the mountain forecast for three decades.

While the data sets for the forecasts are limited, just two sets of observations per day from two camps on Denali, Ed Plumb says input from the National Park Service and other people experienced on the ground in the Alaska Range can greatly contribute to the ability of the National Weather Service to put out a more accurate forecast. His recent visit to Talkeetna allowed Plumb to visit base camp himself and speak the people who are using the forecast.

Ed Plumb says input from the National Park Service and the mountaineering community will impact how the National Weather Service creates and delivers the Denali forecast in order to make it more useful and more accurate.

 

 

 

News from the Talkeetna Ranger Station 6-1-2017

Thursday, June 1, 2017

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In this weekly segment,

produced by the staff of the Walter Harper Talkeetna Ranger Station,

we hear an interview with Mountain Ranger Melis Coady.

Denali Report for May 26th, 2017: Stepping up the game on Denali’s human waste

Thursday, May 25, 2017

 

Climber Corneliu Turturica displaying his full pack out flag and demonstrating an unusual use for a clean mountain can.  Photo courtesy of Walter Harper Talkeetna Ranger Station.

Climber Corneliu Turturica displaying his full pack out flag and demonstrating an unusual use for a clean mountain can. Photo courtesy of Walter Harper Talkeetna Ranger Station.

This week on the Denali Report, the summit rate remains relatively low, and veteran mountaineering ranger Roger Robinson tells KTNA’s Phillip Manning about the plan to celebrate Denali National Park’s 100th birthday by not leaving it a certain kind of present.

 

This is the Denali Report for Friday, May 26th, 2017.

There are 1,023 climbers registered to climb Denali this year. Of those, 463 were on the mountain as of Thursday afternoon. Just over a hundred people have returned from their attempt, and twenty have reached the top, making the current summit rate twenty percent. Sixteen climbers are registered to attempt Mt. Foraker. Six people are currently on the mountain, and seven have returned. Nobody has reached the summit of Mt. Foraker thus far in 2017.

Earlier in the season I spoke with Roger Robinson about a special initiative Denali National Park rangers are encouraging climbers to participate in. Robinson has been a pioneer in keeping Denali clean, and was instrumental in introducing the “Clean Mountain Can” program to help keep some human waste off the mountain. This year, he and other mountaineering rangers are asking climbers to volunteer to pack out all of their human waste from their expeditions. (more…)

News from the Talkeetna Ranger Station 5-25-2017

Thursday, May 25, 2017

In this weekly segment, produced by the staff of the Walter Harper Talkeetna Ranger Station, we hear from a member of the team Sea to Summit 7. This team found daunting challenges in its unique quest to climb Denali.

News from the Talkeetna Ranger Station 5-18-2017

Thursday, May 18, 2017

In this first weekly segment, produced by the staff of the Walter Harper Talkeetna Ranger Station, we hear about a couple of the challenges facing Peaks of Life, the two-person team which made the first successful summit of Denali for the 2017 climbing season.