As cool and shiny as a brand-new ice ax looks strapped to the back of your hiking pack, occasionally you’ll have to take it off and actually put it to work. Like any tool, it’s only an asset if you know how to use it. There are many techniques and methods for employing an ice ax to aid progress in the mountains, but let’s start at the beginning: the two basic ways of holding it.
Classic pre-dawn morning start. On the trail by 04:00 to climb the gully. The advantage of doing it this way is you do not have to look up at what you are climbing. By day, it is a miserable little gully, both up and down. But at night, it just feels like a steep ascent on sketchy dirt and rock. Crawling along the solid gully wall was the best way. Another reason for an early start is the weather. In our case, weather would be our friend all day long.
by Jason Kolaczkowski CMC Denali Trip Leader Saturday 06-20-2015 Base Camp (7,200′) This will likely be my last dispatch from the mountain, as we are done climbing. Now, we wait for the bush plan to pluck us from the glacier. … Continued
by Jason Kolaczkowski CMC Denali Trip Leader Friday 06-19-2015 Camp 4 (14,200′) Making the descent. Today was always going to be physically painful. Not necessarily as energy sapping, but hard on the body. We had one camp supplied at 17,200′ … Continued
by Jason Kolaczkowski CMC Denali Trip Leader 06-19-15 17k Camp We made it.From our exceptionally high and unplanned camp at 19,150′ just below the “Football Field” to the summit (20,320′) and down to the high camp on the Buttress Route, … Continued
by Jason Kolaczkowski CMC Denali Trip Leader Wednesday 06-17-2015Camp “Extra” (19,150′)We just didn’t move fast enough to push all the way to the summit. We ended up using a running belay for almost all of the snow sections, as the … Continued
by Jason Kolaczkowski CMC Denali Trip Leader Tuesday 06-16-2015 Camp 5 (16,300′) Seven months ago, to the day, I became a father, twice over. I’ve been thinking of Connor and Kade and my wife, Kristina, a lot today. Tomorrow we … Continued
by Jason Kolaczkowski CMC Denali Trip Leader Monday 06-15-2015 Camp 4 (14,200′) Sorry that I forgot to turn of the GPS tracking device, everyone. But I can inform you all that we had a successful day. We got up early … Continued
by Jason Kolaczkowski CMC Denali Trip Leader Sunday 2015 06-14 Camp 4 Change of plan. Or, should I say, “back to the original plan.” The National Weather Service is saying bad weather is moving in Tuesday. They use macro-forecasts for … Continued
by Jason Kolaczkowski CMC Denali Trip Leader Saturday 06-13-2015 Camp 4 The big move happened today: getting all the gear and provisions up to 14,200′. We are now in position for a summit bid. However, our weather window is soon … Continued