Day 2: Base Camp to Camp 1.5

Today was the first big day of climbing for Jason and Brent! They started at Base Camp this morning, and made it to Camp 1.5 at about 8,850ft according to the GPS waypoint. They opted to skip Camp 1, hoping to get a little further ahead. The mileage would have been high today. The distance between Base Camp and Camp 1 is around 5 miles and the with some ups and downs, making their total elevation gain high.

They planned a “single carry” meaning they did not cache (ie: bury in the snow to come back for later) any food. As they get higher, they will begin to cache food more regularly.

The weather today should have been good. Overnight tonight there is a 40% chance of snow. If the snow is significant, they will have to wake up and dig out their tent periodically to avoid damage to the tent and to prevent getting snowed into the tent. The snow will continue Monday, so we will see if they are stormed into their tents or if the snow will be light enough for mountain travel.

Todays route. At the bottom is Base Camp. The top marker is their camp tonight, with the other few being rest/snack stops along the way.
2018 photo of setting up a camp.
2018 photo from an area they likely would have trekked through today.

Day 1: From Anchorage to Base Camp

(Don’t forget to scroll to the bottom to see all the photos!)

The guys woke up early, and took advantage of their last hot showers and real breakfast at the hotel, before they were picked up by their shuttle. After a few stops to buy groceries and fuel, they made their way to Talkeetna.

In Talkeetna, they had their mandatory orientation with the park rangers. This is to ensure they know what they’re doing, have all the right supplies, etc. Denali is a popular climb, doing this lowers the chances of accidents and rescues on the mountain. This is also where they get their CMC’s. Whats that, you ask? Well, it’s the portable toilet cans they will carry to use on the mountain. Leave No Trace is important in fragile ecosystems like glaciers, so climbers are required to bring their #2 deposits back down to Talkeetna for proper disposal. If you want to learn more, you can read about CMC’s on the Parks website HERE!

After orientation, it was time to grab a quick lunch (Tacos, no one is surprised by this) and head back to the hangar to pack and organize gear. They will carry half the gear in their backpacks and the other half in their sleds. They each have around 100lbs of gear.

At around 2:30pm local time, they took off from Sheldon Air in Talkeetna to fly to the starting point for their summit attempt. They landed safely, and will pitch their tent to spend the first night at Base Camp (7,200 feet). When they landed it was a balmy 50° out.

Tomorrow they are planning for an early morning start to hike up towards Camp 1!

Good luck Jason and Brent, we are all rooting for you!

2018 photo of Brent (L) and P at the Base Camp “runway”.
Wow! A perfectly clear day with an amazing view of Denali from Talkeetna.
Todays ending location.

The Adventure Begins

Hey All, Beth here!
I’ll be taking over the posts from here on out, as Jason and Brent have left California and are en route to Alaska, woooot wooot!

Today is a long day for the guys. We were all up early, woken by a rude little bear on our deck (video here!). Jay and I made an early morning Starbucks run followed by a dog walk for Chloe, and then the real fun began.

The guys packed up the car and we were on the road by around 8:30am. After some stop and go traffic due to construction on 50, and a quick detour for breakfast burritos, we had smooth sailing to the airport.

Once at the airport, they checked their bags and got through security quickly before grabbing some food and hoping on their first flight to Seattle. After landing in Seattle they grabbed some more snacks, and as of writing this they are on their plane to Anchorage (after a 40minute delay…. yikes)!

They expect to land in Anchorage about 9:50pm local time, with hopes of getting to their hotel in time to grab a quick dinner before everything closes for the night. Once all this is done, the plan is to get to sleep asap, because tomorrow will be even busier with an early wake up for them!

Good luck Jason and Brent, we are all so excited for you!

At the airport with over 200lbs of food and mountaineering gear.


PB+J successfully made it back to the land of the living!

They were beyond excited to get some showers and some real food.

So glad they are back, and cannot wait to see the photos and hear the stories!

Patrick and Brent enjoy some Pizza and beer!

Jason enjoying ice cream after the climb. Missing the cold already.

Back at Base Camp and enjoying the cached goodies.

Almost Picture Time!

PB+J have made it to Camp 1, yay!! They picked up their caches, their snowshoes, and their CMC’s. They were super happy to be in the positives for temperature!


Hopefully tomorrow they will make it down to Base Camp and catch a ride to Talkeetna! Once they are back into cell service, I am sure we will get to see some of the amazing photos they took. Great job PB+J, so proud of your adventure!

Headed Down

After the last few days of extreme cold coupled with the aborted summit attempt, Team PB+J has decided to return to the land of acceptable temperatures  and flushing toilets! (can imagine trying to go to the bathroom in -20ºF?? Me neither…)

It will be a few days to get down, but coming down will be MUCH faster than going up. I hear there may already be plans for PB+J to do some kayaking upon their return during their last week in Alaska!

Good Job PB+J!  You did something not many people do– followed an idea and a dream to the end!!!!!  

Summit Day!!!! (maybe?)- Abort!

Its finally here– Summit Day! (maybe?)

Jay texted me this morning “Cold AF. Probably going for it”, and that was the last I heard.  Hours and hours of wondering what was happening until finally another Garmin update!

4:30pm PST Update:

“Autobahn Top”

The autobahn is a long steep, section that leads up to Denali Pass at 18,300 feet. The summit is at 20,310 feet, and High Camp is at 17,200 feet.

This means they have gained about 1,000 feet of elevation and have about 2,000 feet to go.  I will post updates as we get them, so stay tuned! We are not sure if they are just exploring or going for the summit.

You can see High Camp (far left), Top of Autobahn (triangle, current location) and the summit to the right.

7:00pm Update:

Temperatures were reaching extreme lows, so after reaching Denali Pass PB+J made the very smart decision to turn back to camp .  Temps are dangerously low and it was decided risking frostbite was not worth a summit.

They are unsure if they will make another attempt for the summit or not. Conditions at 17,200 feet are harsh.

Rest Today, Summit Tomorrow!

Today PB+J will be taking a rest day to fully acclimatize to the elevation, and rest up for a Summit bid tomorrow! Jay has been enjoying M&M’s (I am pretty sure he had a few pounds of those, haha).

Tomorrow the weather looks good. Winds under 15mph, scattered snow showers, and temps around -25F. They are hoping to head up around 10am and be back at High Camp by 8pm.

They will then use the weekend to return to the glacier to catch a plane back to Talkeetna!  Good luck PB+J!!

High Camp–OMG!

PB+J have made it to High Camp!  Getting to high camp involves some technical steep climbing.  They started at 14,200 feet and ended at 17,200 feet. That is 3,000 feet of gain in just a short span of time! The InReach notice stated it was COLD.

You can see PB+J (blue triangle) at High Camp, closing in on the summit (summit is still labeled Mt McKinley, though the correct name is Denali)

High camp is known for its extreme cold, harsh winds, and the difficulty performing tasks at high altitude.  Here, PB+J will wait for a good day before making a summit bid. High camp often requires really well built walls around the tent, meaning exhausting, back breaking work. If weather is extra bad, some teams build double walls.

Summit day will be a looong day. Extreme cold and winds, difficult terrain, and 3,000+ feet of elevation gain over 2.5 miles. Many teams end up at high camp for multiple days waiting for a good weather forecast. As of right now, a light storm is moving in, with the best weather Thursday through Saturday. Currently there is no update from PB+J on when they hope to make a summit bid.

A Well Earned Rest Day

While it was a nice day today according to the internet, PB+J took a well earned rest day to acclimate, rest, and eat!

Breakfast consisted of pancakes, bacon, and maple syrup that Jay cooked for the group. Nom, nom, nom!

A storm front is moving in, but it is not expected to be severe. If it stays mellow, PB+J will head up to high camp at 17,200 feet tomorrow, with the hopes of a summit bid Wednesday or Thursday.  Current route conditions are listed as “Stellar” by the NPS, and summit success rate is up to 22%.

Everyone keep your fingers crossed for good weather!!!!