17,200 Feet: Weather becomes factor

By Randy Lefko Sports Editor
Posted 6/30/21

MT.MCKINLEY, AL – Weather seems to be the next determining factor in the ascent attempt of Fleming Island 12 year Mills Weinstein and his dad, Scott, as the pair and climbing partner Andrew …

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17,200 Feet: Weather becomes factor


MT.MCKINLEY, AL – Weather seems to be the next determining factor in the ascent attempt of Fleming Island 12 year Mills Weinstein and his dad, Scott, as the pair and climbing partner Andrew Bunn of Jacksonville have made it to the 17,200 foot mark; Camp 4, of their 20,320 foot summit attempt of Mt. McKinley (Denali) in Alaska.
According to a Facebook blog from Megan Weinstein “Klimbing with the Kid”, the trio is in a critical decision-making stage as extreme weather, personal durability and energy levels, will soon become the determining factors of either a safe summit attempt or a safe return down the mountain.
The plan was a 28-29 day summit attempt.

Denali - Day 23
Last night, our guys safely reached Camp 4 at 17,200 ft! That’s another personal record for Andrew Bunn and Mills.
It is very cold and yesterday’s climb was tough. As of right now, the plan is that tomorrow, Scott and Mills will hang out at 17,200 to rest and recover while Andrew tries to summit with another group. Depending on the conditions and how all of our guys feel, they may try to go back up to summit together on Wednesday or Thursday and then start working their way down the mountain.
If the wind picks up too much, or the group is just too worn out, they will come down without Mills and Scott attempting the summit - which is ok, too. Everything in God’s time.
Denali - Day 22
It’s go time! The guys and Andrew Bunn plan to leave Camp 3 this morning and will start the ascent to High Camp (Camp 4 @ 17,200 ft). There are more winds coming midweek so they will try to summit in 3 days instead of 5. As of now, Tuesday is the best forecast to summit.
They expect today to be at least a 10 hour climbing day. They will leave Andrew’s tent at Camp 3 so it’s set up if they need quick shelter when they come back down. For the next few nights of the ascent, Andrew will stay in Scott & Mills’ tent which will be tight quarters but will keep them all warmer. The temperature when they get higher than 17,000 is about -5 degrees with a windchill of -25 to -30.
Our family believes strongly in the power of prayer and we know God can move this mountain and calm all winds if He wants to. Our prayer is that God’s will be done on this mountain over the next few days. We pray for Scott, Mills and Andrew’s physical and mental health and safety. We pray for their discernment regarding the safety and conditions of the climb and we pray that Mills knows and feels his accomplishments and the impact he’s made as he’s inspired those who have crossed his path during this adventure. And of course, if God could show favor for our guys to have a successful summit, that would be super cool.
This next few days will be the most challenging of the climb. Please keep your prayers and positivity in full force. Thank you.

Denali - Day 21
Still at Camp 3. Personally, this felt like a long week and then I remembered that Scott and Mills have been in a little tent together, for 21 days, riding out a snow storm in 5 degree weather surrounded by nothing but snow and ice. Maybe my week was ok after all. The weather is finally calming down. They spent most of the last two days in their tent while the worst passed. Yesterday they had to dig out their tent from 2 ft of new snow. For protection from the storm, they built a 3-4 ft ice wall around their tent to help block the wind. Scott said you could really hear the wind howling higher up the mountain and he’s very glad they didn’t try to wait out the storm higher.
They will need to watch the weather and snow carefully. New, loose snow = potential avalanche conditions. That reminds me of the time Mills and his little brother played hide and seek with the avalanche beacons - “listen for the beep and go find your brother...” If the weather continues to improve, the plan is to head up Sunday with a summit attempt Tuesday or Wednesday. They will try to do the summit in three days vs five as more winds are expected later in the week. Our days on the mountain are running out so we need the weather to stay on track. The guys are doing great but are tired of being at Camp 3 (they’ve been there for 10 days) and are very ready to get climbing. Today’s forecast gave them hope and that’s powerful right now. Thank you for your prayers and positivity. More updates to come as I get them.
#KlimbingWithTheKid #TeamMills #Leavethenormal #Explorethepossible #Seeyouonthesummit #Denali #HighPoints #climbing #mountaineering.


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