Steve Plain is now 58 days into his world record attempt to climb the 7 summits in under 126 days and we're getting excited because it's getting to the business end of things. So far as part of his "Project 7 in 4" Steve has climbed Mt Vinson, Aconcagua, Mt Kilimanjaro, Carstenzs Pyramid, a quick detour to Mount Kosciuszko, and now Elbrus. Although there are definite difficulties with these peaks such as very cold temperatures and logistics, technically they are all pretty straight forward. That is about to change though...
Steve is currently making his way over to Alaska where he will continue en-route to Denali (Mount McKinley) basecamp. The main climbing season for climbing Denali usually goes from the beginning of May through to the end of June, with June being the more popular month. Climbing the peak in March will have a few extra fun aspects to the more technical peak - namely the temperature, snow and wind.
Even in the best of seasons Denali is known for it's cold snaps and they often present it's biggest hurdle. At this time of year it is basically to be expected as the norm so I hope he's carrying his hand warmers!
Here's a quick 9 day Mountains-Forecast of the summit of Denali :
With winds up to 150km/h and a wind chill temp of -75ºC I'm taking a stab and saying that Wednesday the 21st won't be summit day but all those temps ranging from -32ºC to -42ºC do seem like the norm not to mention that wind chill.
Recent snow fall and avalanche risk is going to have to be closely watched as are the presents of wind loaded slabs. Often with high winds, not to mention with that consistency, slopes can develop quite unstable ice slabs or sheets which will have to be carefully navigated. Often when the official climbing season progresses, these objective dangers as well as crevasses often get marked and climbing routes adjusted to avoid them. However as there won't be too many people on the mountain leading up to this expedition his team is probably going to have to discover them all for themselves.
We know Steve has done all the right preparation heading into to these last two climbs of of Denali and Everest. We will be watching closely over the next couple of weeks his progress and wish him all the best with weather windows and mountain conditions!