Mt. McKinley (Denali) Ascent

By Randy Lefko Sports Editor Updates from Megan Weinstein, mom of “The Kid”
Posted 6/23/21

CLAY COUNTY – The Fleming Island father/son mountain climb duo of Scott and Mills Weinstein, just 12 years old, have made progress in their epic attempt to reach the 20,320 foot summit of Mt. …

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Mt. McKinley (Denali) Ascent

Posted

CLAY COUNTY – The Fleming Island father/son mountain climb duo of Scott and Mills Weinstein, just 12 years old, have made progress in their epic attempt to reach the 20,320 foot summit of Mt. McKinley (Denali) as the 46th stop of their 50 state peak ascent journey.
Mills and Scott Weinstein, 41, are joined as a trio by Jacksonville expert climber Andrew Bunn as the crew reaches aim for the 17,000-foot camp on day 14.
“They are just kind of hanging out at 14,000 feet waiting for some bad weather to pass,” said Megan Weinstein, Mills “The Kid’s” mom, who monitors a communication system that keeps her somewhat informed on the trio’s progress. “There is a four hour time difference and the communications sometimes take an hour or so to get off the mountain. We have a code that we number each message so that when they finally get to me, I can piece them together; 1,2,3. We also have a code like numbers to tell me; 1, we are okay, 2, bad weather, etc.”
Mom Megan Weinstein has been posting periodic updates when the trio is able to safely communicate home of their progress. The trip is planned as a 28 day journey. The plan is to get there between July 2-5. “The 14,000 foot camp is safer for them to be at during the bad weather,” said Megan Weinstein. “There are climbers who are returning from the summit and there is like a climbers camp.”

Denali – Day 17:
Andrew Bunn’s uncle sent this picture of Denali taken Saturday morning by a friend who’s a cargo pilot. It’s hard to believe Mills has been up there for 17 days. The weather has been clear at 14,200 but the winds are still forecasted to be incredibly strong at the summit. We are praying it calms down to allow the summit attempt.
Last night the guys cached some gear between Camp 3 and 17,000 (High Camp). They made it to the ridge of Denali (16,000 ft), breaking personal records for Andrew and Mills. They are prepping to go quickly and lighter (with less gear) once the forecast shows a break. This morning they are safely back at Camp 3. The ridge cache was a tough climb and they are cold and tired. Today they will take a rest day and will continue watching the weather.
Climbers: Today’s cache was above the fix lines so the guys got to put their practice to the test going up and down the fix ropes. Sounds like their descending technique was on point and they all did great!
This is a pretty amazing adventure and I have faith the wind is going to calm. 17 days down, 11 to go. Rest up, boys & then go get that summit!

Denali - Day 14:
The guys and Andrew Bunn, 34, are still at Camp 3 and are going to hang out there for a few days. Bad weather is on the way. They might have a window to make it to the 17000 camp before the weather hits but Camp 3 is the best place for them to be for an extended time. It’s warmer (today at Camp 3 it will be a high of 7 with a windchill of -6 vs a high of -6 and windchill of -26 at 17000 camp). Also, there’s more oxygen and food.

Many groups are coming down from higher camps and have been unable to summit because of the conditions. They don’t want to carry the weight of their food down the mountain so they leave it at Camp 3 with climbers still based there. So, the guys are eating well (on dehydrated food). Dinner last night was packaged salmon with dried peppers, garlic and butter. Lunch was sliced turkey and cheese fried wraps. High fat foods are good for the energy the guys exert on the mountain.
One of the advantages of hanging out for a few days is they get to explore the mountain around Camp 3. Today they will go check out “the edge of the world” which is an almost 4,200 ft straight down ledge at the edge of the mountain. For some reason that makes me more nervous than the incoming weather.
I will keep you updated but expect them to be here for a few days. They need five days to get to the summit and about five days to get back down the mountain. They have 15 scheduled days left so they have days to work with. Pray (like literally pray - right now please ??) that the weather clears quickly. We need low wind and clear skies long enough for the summit attempt. Thank you, all.

Denali – Day 11:
Got some detail about the guys’ Day 9 adventures. They got a late start because Mills and Andrew Bunn exploded a goo shot in Andrew’s tent. I guess whether you are at sea level or 11,000 feet, boys will be boys. To get to 13,500 they hit some fun milestones. They made it up (and then back down) Motorcycle Hill, Squirrel Hill and around Windy Corner. On Motorcycle Hill they stepped around some crevasses (deep cracks in the ice) so they will have to be overly cautious there. They broke and fixed a trekking pole and a shovel. The days have been long and Scott says their feet are getting pretty beat up.
Yesterday (Day 10), they left their tents once the sun hit the Camp. For breakfast they had bacon and melted cheese on fried bread in bacon grease ??. I guess it’s good fuel for what they are doing. Lunch was pizza. They tore down Camp 2 around 4:30 yesterday afternoon and started the climb to Camp 3 (14,200). So - back up Motorcycle Hill, Squirrel Hill, around Windy Corner, past their 13,500 cache and onto Camp 3. They expected it to take 8-10 hours.
I got word this morning they are safe at Camp 3. They are cold, tired and warming up in their tents. They will give more updates when they wake up later today.

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