According to ExWeb, the first attempt at a winter summit on Denali by a woman is currently underway, with climber Christine Feret and Artur Testov making the bid.
According to the expedition’s blog, which is handled through Facebook, the duo was flown from Talkeetna to base camp at 7000 feet on Wednesday, where they’ve been busy setting up camp ever since. They have dug their first snow cave to serve as a shelter, and are busily preparing to begin their assault on the mountain.
ExWeb has the details on the climb, which will be a unique one to say the least. Christine and Artur estimate that it will take a minimum of 4 weeks to reach the summit, as they’ll be climbing in an unusual fashion. The two mountaineers will be heading up the hill, dragging sleds with all of their gear on it behind them. It is estimated that when fully loaded, the sleds weigh more than 250 pounds. According to Christine, they’ll hike each day as long as they can, then stop to dig a snow cave for shelter each night. They didn’t even bother to bring tents with them on the trip. They did, however, pack a couple of steel shovels, and a ladder for crossing over, and escaping from, crevasses they may find along the way.
The weather on Denali can be quite treacherous at just about any time of the year, but especially so in the winter, when temperatures can drop to -40ºF and freak snow storms can batter the mountain. Standing 20,320 feet in height, it is the tallest mountain in North America, and due to its high latitude, it is pretty much cold there all year long. Thankfully, the climbers are familiar with the mountain, as Christine has already climbed it twice. She does hope to stand on the summit in the winter however, and if successful, she’ll become the first woman to do so.
Good luck to her and Artur. Stay warm!
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