The Three Amigos Share the Sights, Smells, and Scary Sides of Denali
Simon Wallis, Jason Harvey and Mark Thomson have quite literally seen a lot of ups and downs these last three days.
Now six days into their Denali climb, Zebra employees Simon Wallis, Jason Harvey and Mark Thomson – fondly known as “The Three Amigos” - are starting to appreciate why Denali demands so much respect.
This is their latest update via sat phone:
“Hi Zebra Nation, it's The Three Amigos checking in. Here's the summary of our last three days on the mountain.
Day 4 was a move day to Camp 2 at 11,000 feet. It was an early start, very chilly and a steep ascent up Ski Hill after breaking down camp and sharing the load between all climbers’ backpacks and sleds. It was a 6-hour climb and we were all exhausted, but we had to once again build the next camp. So, we did. Fortunately, we were able to move into a previous team’s toilet and kitchen, which saved a little time. We all slept well.
Day 5 was another carry day. This time, we carried up Motorcycle Hill out of Camp 2, a relentless steep climb riddled with crevasses. Simon managed to step through one up to his waist...a slightly hairy moment. But he managed to climb out okay. We're all roped together everywhere we go, so despite the dangers of crevasses, we're as safe as we can be in this harsh environment. From Motorcycle Hill, we then ascended Squirrel Hill, so called because an early climber apparently had a squirrel jump out of his pack half-way up :-). Cute name, horribly steep and long hill.
We then donned helmets as we travelled through a section called The Polo Field. We were all hoping for a slightly gentler incline and perhaps a Pimm's. We were disappointed. It wasn't flat and no alcohol in site. This took us to the famous Windy Corner, which fortunately for us failed to live up to its reputation. A beautiful and peaceful spot. We had one more pitch to go with a slightly easier ascent and a traverse around Windy Corner over a crevasse field to the spot where we finally cached our food and kit for later on in the climb. The climb took five hours from there and then we returned back to Camp 2, which took another two hours. It was much nicer going down...and stunning views. As normal, we were in bed early getting some well-earned rest for the biggest day so far coming up.
Day 6 is our move up to Camp 3, the biggest camp on the hill at 14,000 feet. Overnight, our sleep was disturbed by a thunderous roar of a massive serac ice fall the size of around 10 double decker busses not more than 100m away! Apparently, it has been looking like it was going to fall for the last six years.
It was another early and very chilly start. With frozen water bottles and ice inside the tent, it’s quite difficult to get out of our cosey sleeping bags. We terraced the steps from Day 5, but this time each pulling a sled. We had another 1.5 hour hike up from the cache from Day 5 – it was a long 6.5-hour climb. The altitude has also been making things tougher. After two hours of camp building, the three of us finally collapsed in our tent about 4:00 pm. We're writing this blog from our cosey sleeping bags after having a lovely dinner. It's 8:30 pm and we'll be sleeping very soon.
Wishing you all the best from our smelly tent, The Three Amigos.”
Want to show your support to the Three Amigos? Help them help others by making a donation to the Red Cross in their name here. Zebra will match all donations up to $10,000.
See how far the Three Amigos have come thus far. Check out past posts now:
The Three Amigos’ Latest Dispatch from Denali: “We’re Awestruck and Star Struck”
The Three Amigos are Heading North Again as in 20,000+ Feet in the Sky North
And, if you’re hooked on their story, you can read all about their Aconcagua adventure in 2019 here:
Bags are Packed, Hiking Boots are On. Aconcagua, Here We Come!
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