Denali, final testing.
With Denali looming some of the Cold Summits team headed to the Brecon Beacons to do some final kit testing and team bonding. Findingplenty of reasurances that the team were getting on well added confidence for the expedition which heads off on the 25th May.
Fortunately the weather would play ball and be a bit wild and wet... we walked onto the northern barrier of the Brecons and contoured around the Fan y Big, then down onto the head of the saddle below this and Cribin and set up our Kangri and Zhota adversely to the elements to give them a real test
With the tents sorted, it was brew time, followed by more brew time and chatting about the tents, gear and what Alaska would have in store for us (I suspect a lot), mentally I think we are all a little reserved yet very conscious of what we are about to embark on. Soon Will arrived as he had headed down from Uni for the rest of the weekend. As the sun started to go down we cooked dinner and soon retired to the tents, as the wind started pick-up. With some idle chat we all soon were asleep. Come the morning no-one was in a hurry...
Soon we where chatting about the tent and making a brew in the vestibule which when opening this to cook we saw what the wind was really like. We finished breakfast hiding from the elements as the others started to stir in the Zhota. We could hear the wind and rain, but didn't really think much of this until we finally scrambled out the tent to break camp. The weather was foul and we had been fooled into thinking it wasn't bad.
Kangri and Zhotastand side by side. Apparently the weather was bad... photo: Daniel Bergo.
We were off and heading for Pen Y Fan and hiding behind Cribin for much of the way. By the time we reached the summit, there was snow and hail falling but not settling. The team paced itself quite well and seems to have bonded really well and share a common sense of humor. This is a huge relief as we all only knew 1-2 others in the team initially, but now seem to have already formed a great bond.
We all know there will be trying times and we have devised a couple of strategies to get around this, such as sharing tents on a rota and trying to rotate duties if movement on the mountain allows.
I think there are some nerves and I am glad of this as it will keep our minds keen.. There have been some little concerns about elements of the expedition, but this has served to show that we are all very happy to communicate our feelings with each other either directly, this makes for strong team in anyone's book.