A journalist observes life in the far north.
The weather report on the NOAA Web site here is calling for 50 mph winds on Friday above 14,000 feet. The Snow Dogs will be at high camp by then. At least that was their plan earlier tonight when I spoke to Alec.
Today went very well for the Team, which cached some gear up high—higher than Alec has ever climbed. Stunning views could be seen from precarious perches involving 4,000 foot drops on either side, he said. A crowd of teams clamored to go higher, and some of the Snow Dogs’ gear was stolen, while other gear was damaged or adjusted in ways that did not suit the climbers, Al said. He admitted to directing some coarse words toward the offending climbers.
I spoke to Ramin, as well. He had the same tone of voice as Alec, which is to say that both are free of the daily grind of life, testing their meddle on one of the greatest adventures of their lives. Ramin asked me to pass on greetings to: Mojgan, his mother, his father, Kris—spelled with a K—Angie, Mike, Tony, Sue and Nezam. He said he is feeling strong. I asked if he is getting skinny (Alec came home from Denali skinny last year) and he said no. He didn’t think so because he is eating like a pig. He does have a beard, he said. The physical challenge is extreme and he is using all of his strength and concentration, he said. The camp gets as cold as 25 below zero at night, the coldest that Ramin has ever experienced. Alec, Ramin and Mike are sharing a tent now. Al and Ramin watch episodes of “The Office” on Al’s iPod during the down time. Ramin said the camp flag is the Alaskan Granite flag that Alec brought to take to the summit.
Tomorrow is a rest day for the team before going to high camp on Wednesday. After looking at the weather report, I wonder if they will try to summit before the winds come. I don’t think they would want to be at high camp in 50 mph winds.