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CompassSummit; CompassData Survey Team Successful in Surveying the Summit of Mount McKinley (Denali)

In late June 2015, the CompassData Summit Survey Team, led by CompassData Account Executive Blaine Horner, embarked on a mission to survey the summit of North America’s highest peak, Mount McKinley (Denali). The Survey Team was made up of four experienced climbers including Blaine, Tom Heinrichs (University of Alaska Fairbanks), Rhet Foster (CompassData) and Agustin Karriere (CompassData). The success of this expedition is the direct result of the teamwork demonstrated by the four man crew.

The team arrived in Talkeetna, Alaska on Monday, June 15th. After taking a day to meet with the National Park Service, stage equipment and personnel, the team flew to Camp 1 (7,800 ft.) on the Kahiltna Glacier. Over the next two days the team worked to move gear and supplies to Camp 2 at 11,200 ft. Two more days were spent moving gear and supplies past “Windy Corner” to Camp 3 at 14,200 ft. This is the Advanced Base Camp and the staging point for getting on the upper mountain. The traverse up to fourteen camp required some technical mountaineering over steep terrain and exposed cliff faces through windy conditions.

Camp 3 was used as an acclimatization camp where the team spent a handful of days helping ensure they were fit to continue the expedition. During this time the team systematically checked equipment to confirm everything was in working order and functioned correctly in sub-zero temperatures. After the team was ready to continue, they moved on to Camp 4 (High Camp) at 17,200 ft. to cache gear and manage logistics for the summit attempt. This value will be essential for the calculation of a more accurate summit elevation.

On June 30th the team made their way safely down from Denali. The survey data will be processed by CDI Technical Director Philipp Hummel in conjunction with our partner at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, Dr. Jeff Freymueller, PhD. The newly established elevation value will be announced and published by the USGS and NGS sometime in late August. Stay tuned.

For more information, please read our Press Release, the USGS Press Release or view the US Department of Interior Video Update.

DeLorme Satellite Communicator Update #1:
“...Everything is going great, it is our fourth day…we’re currently sitting at Windy Corner which is quite pleasant, warm and sunny. It’s probably zero degrees, but really nice. Everything’s been going great. We’ve been firing up our equipment and everything is working well in the cold. We hope to move up to fourteen camp tomorrow and start establishing some science. So, I just wanted to say hello to friends and family and thanks to everybody that’s supporting us…and we’ll check in in a few days.”

-Blaine Horner, CompassData Summit Survey Team 6/18/2015

DeLorme Satellite Communicator Update #2:
“…We’re up at 14,000 feet on Denali on the summit survey expedition. Everybody’s good, yesterday Udi and I went up to seventeen camp and cached our Net-R9, our R10 and our two lead acid batteries, so all of our summit gear is there. Tom Heinrichs and Rhet are going to go put some food up there this afternoon. Tomorrow, weather dependent, Udi and I will go from fourteen camp, grab our gear at seventeen, establish it on the summit and come back to fourteen, and then let it sit for a day or two weather dependent, and go retrieve it. So, best wishes, happy Father’s Day a day late to everybody…..we’ll have our DeLorme running tomorrow and you guys can see Udi and I crushing our way to the summit.”

-Blaine Horner, CompassData Summit Survey Team 6/22/2015

DeLorme Satellite Communicator Update #3:
“…Hey this is Blaine up on Denali with the CompassData Summit Survey Team. We had an awesome day today, Udi and I got two antennas up on the summit and they are currently cookin’ static data as we speak. We’re pretty excited about that. We have a Trimble R9 and a Trimble R10 up there. Rhet and Tom Heinrichs got our GPR up here to 17,000 where we’re trying to stage the next phase of this project. Weather dependent, the team will move up and we’ll get that GPR up on the summit. We were able to get some good probing done using a steel probe and it seems like the summit’s about four and a half meters deep (beneath) the snow which is some pretty interesting data. We’re at 17,000 feet just taking a break and then we’re going to head down to fourteen…look forward to getting the data off and processing it. Have a good night.”

-Blaine Horner, CompassData Summit Survey Team 6/24/2015

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CompassData Summit Survey Team Tracker

Expedition progress reports and blog posts sent via DeLorme Satellite Communicator have been posted on this page.

We followed the CompassData Summit Survey Team every step of the way while they embarked on their mission. Please click on the link below to view their route up the mountain!