There is substantial proof against Chad Kellogg’s 2003 Denali record-claim of a 14h:22m ascent and a 23h:55m ascent-descent.
As demonstrated below (a) Kellogg’s self-claimed start timer Lisa Roderick and summit timer Mark Westman have stated in writing (photocopies below, and their contact information) that they did not time any portion of Kellogg’s speedclimb, nor knew they were timers, (b) Kellogg’s claimed summit-witness and summit-photographer, Ivo Vessely, has never been interviewed, (c) Kellogg’s claim that Vessely took a photo of his “watch” at the summit has never been substantiated with that photo, (d) Kellogg has never provided Vessely’s contact information to any media, (e) Kellogg has no summit photo.
Despite these facts, the media, in particular Explorers Web’s writer Angela Benavides http://www.facebook.com/Angela8848, have neglected to do their own inquiries, nor report on the undeniable controversy, which is akin to the Denali 1906 Dr. Frederick Cook controversy. Instead, Benavides and others have persisted in frequently citing Kellogg as holding the speedclimb record, including stating his speedclimb was “timed” and “witnessed”, which are both proven false.
(1) The following article from Explorers Web on June 26, 2003 is the primary USA article reporting on his claim to a new record. It was then used internationally as a source.
“Chad started his climb at Lisa Roderick’s Base Camp tent on the Kahiltna glacier airstrip. She was the timekeeper and had contact with Chad through CB radio for the entire trip. Lisa Roderick is the Base Camp manager at Denali.”
Three days prior on June 23, 2003, the first article from Explorers Web was written:
“Also this weekend, we have received early reports that Chad Kellogg has broken the Denali speed record … ExplorersWeb has been notified that the National Park Service has records of the climb, times, and there are witnesses.”
Chad Kellogg cites the article, and cites Explorers Web, as the media coverage for his Denali record-claim, at the bottom of the page http://www.chadkellogg.com/denali.html:
Also in Kellogg’s own Denali report, he writes:
“Just after 2:00 AM I awoke Lisa [Roderick] to synchronize stopwatches. I started my stopwatch at 2:15 AM on the morning of the 17th.”
“Luckily, two couples arrived at the summit just before me and one of the climbers gave me his name as a witness to the fact that I was on the summit at 4:37 PM. His name was Ivo Vessely and I called this down to Mark Westman at Base Camp via the CB that I carried.”
However, as is shown later in this report in the emails of Lisa Roderick and Mark Westman, (1) Lisa stated she did not know she was a timer, she does not recall the time-of-day that Kellogg started, she does not state that she timed him with a watch, and she does not state that she and Kellogg synchronized watches. (2) Mark was not asked by Kellogg to speak to the alleged summit-witness, Ivo Vessely, and Mark was not asked by Kellogg to write down the time-of-day when Kellogg called him from the alleged summit. (3) Kellogg did not provide the contact information for Ivo Vessely to the media and others to contact in order to confirm that Ivo was both a summit witness and a witness to the time-of-day he reached the summit, (4) Kellogg does not have any summit photos for his claimed record-climb.
On June 19, 2003, four days before the first USA media coverage by Explorers Web, the following Internet forum-thread was started on a popular mountaineering forum in Washington, centered in Seattle where Kellogg lives, and used by a large number of friends and supporters of Kellogg. The person who started the forum-thread is speculated to be a close friend of Kellogg’s who was provided direct information from him before the USA media report was published. The forum-post made by the person contains near identical information provided in the Explorers Web article.
“As for verification.. Lisa Roderick started the timer at base camp, 7K.” “On the summit, Chad had a french climber and team verify his time, they radioed down to Mark Westman who was at the 7K base camp with Lisa. The French climber was Ivo Vesely.” “… continued descending to basecamp, returning in under 24 hours. Mark Westman and Lisa were there to verify his return time.”
Lisa Roderick and Mark Westman, the reported timers, were contacted by USA speedclimber and mountain runner, Dan Howitt, the officially time-verified speedclimb record holder of Mt. Rainier, Mt. Adams, Mt. Shasta, and Mt. Hood.
Photocopy of Roderick’s email:
Second, she states that she recalls him starting in “late evening” and approximates the time at 11:00pm. However, Kellogg, on his website [copied below], states that he started at 2:15am. Further, it is very likely that Roderick (a) was asleep at 2:15am, as the other Rangers report below in their emails regarding this matter, and (b) that she would have remembered he started at or near 2:15am rather than her 11:00pm “late evening” approximation.
If he did start at 11pm, then his time would be 3 hours 15 minutes slower than what he reported to the media.
Third, based on Roderick’s email statement, she certainly did not report to the above media company (Explores Web) what they quote her as doing.
Fourth, Kellogg likely either told Explorers Web the information directly, or the Denali Ranger Station, or his place of work (Alpine Ascents), or his close friend Mike Gauthier (lead Rainier Ranger at that time) who has been active since 1998 in perpetuating Kellogg’s claims internationally, etc, who then contacted Explorers Web on his behalf. Kellogg did this for his previous speedclimb in 1998 on Mt. Rainier, which was his first ever speedclimb. The Seattle Times article http://community.seattletimes.nwsource.com/archive/?date=19980902&slug=2769879) shows that he did not respond to the writer for an interview; Ranger George Beilstein provided the information; Kellogg was a Ranger at that time; Beilstein is quoted with stating: “Kellogg, climbing alone, left for the summit around 6 a.m., logged in at the summit an undetermined time later and returned to Paradise shortly after 11 a.m., Beilstein said.” Beilstein did not witness his start, summit, nor finish. The information was hearsay from Kellogg. Writer Ron Judd email@example.com 206-464-8280 was asked about this, and Judd replied that he was simply quoting the Ranger. Regarding Chad Kellogg’s 1998 Rainier record-claim, Dan Howitt in 2003 requested from the Pacific Alaska Region National Archives in Seattle, Washington a copy of the summit-register page that Kellogg reported signing when he arrived at the summit-register. Photocopied below; Kellogg’s entry is the second from the bottom:
This was Kellogg’s self-documentation of his arrival at the summit-register. The Seattle Times article that was published the next day discusses the issue of speedclimbers who have and have not signed the summit-register. Apparently this has been an important method of verifying the climber reached the summit.http://community.seattletimes.nwsource.com/archive/?date=19980902&slug=2769879 Along with his date, name, mention that he did a “speed ascent”, he wrote his elapsed time to the summit, “4:20”. Then, when he finished his climb 9 miles and 9011 feet below, he told the Ranger Department (where he worked) that his time was “3:24”, as he also listed on his website:
Fifth, Roderick did not record the time-of-day that Kellogg reported via CB having reached the summit.
Sixth, her statement that she knows for a fact his time was 14h:22m, is absent of any substantiation, ie, she already admitted not knowing his start time-of-day, she didn’t record his summit time-of-day, and she admitted to not knowing she was a timer. So how can she know his elapsed-time was 14h:22m?
Seventh, as she has disclosed, she is a friend of Kellogg; and her husband (Mark Westman, the person discussed below, and co-basecamp manager at that time), is also a friend of Kellogg, as he states in his email below); Kellogg did not disclose this to the media.
Eight, the article also states:
“Along Chad’s climb rangers at 14,000ft and a National Geographic crew witnessed him. He also has a summit witness that the National Park Service is aware of.”
It is misleading to imply to the reader that the National Geographic crew witnessed him at the summit. Regarding the “summit witness”: The National Park Service was contacted, Lead Denali Climbing Ranger, Roger Robinson Roger_Robinson@nps.gov 907- 733-9108, and he replied with the below email, and also forwarded a reply from another Ranger, Gordy Kito, who wrote:
“Mr. Kellogg called via CB to Basecamp upon reaching the summit and reported the name of a witness, which I did not write down.”
Therefore, the Park Service is not aware if a person at the summit verified Kellogg’s presence at the summit, nor who the person was. Furthermore, Ranger Kito, like basecamp manager Mark Westman, and basecamp manager Lisa Roderick, was asleep at the time that Kellogg reported finishing. Ranger Kito was also asleep at the time that Kellogg reported starting.
Continuing, the article states:
“When Chad called from the summit he spoke with Mark Westman and Lisa Roderick. He also had the witness take his photo and a photo of his watch, clocking in at 14hrs 22 min.”
Kellogg has never provided any photos on his website, and the media has never publish any photos of himself at the summit, nor a photo of his watch at the summit. Secondly, the media — no media anywhere — inquired into who the name of the alleged summit witness is. See the below email from the other basecamp manager, Mark Westman, who provides this information to Dan Howitt.
rev| Next| Reply| Reply All| Forward| Delete| Move To Message: 9 of 26 Printable Version From: “Mark Westman” <firstname.lastname@example.org> Save Address
To: <DanHowitt@ .org>
Subject: Re: Denali Speed Climb Verification
Date: Sun, 07 Sep 2003 06:04:36 +0000
Here are my answers to your questions, broken down by number:
1) I am Lisa Roderick’s boyfriend and I was helping her run base camp while also doing some climbing out of the Kahiltna Glacier area. I just happened to be the person who picked up the radio when Chad called base camp to report in from the summit.
2) Chad is a friend of mine. I worked with him on Mt. Rainier at Camp Muir for the NPS in 1998. He’s been an occasional climbing partner as well.
3) Chad simply reported that he was on the summit, it had taken him 14:22 from when he had told Lisa in person that he was leaving, and wanted me to write down the name of Ivo Vesely, who was on the summit at the same time. That’s what I did. This person definitely exists, because I looked up his team’s climbing card on file with Lisa at base camp.
4) As far as I know, Ivo Vesely was a member of a Polish (?) climbing team and it was a random meeting on the summit with Chad, and Chad did not know him prior to meeting him on the summit. He’s just another climber. I don’t know if he’s anyone important in his home country. Chad simply asked him on the spot if he would verify that he was on the summit as he made his call to base camp. If you need to reach Mr. Vesely I would suggest contacting the Talkeetna Ranger Station and ask for his party’s information. That may take some digging.
5) I spoke only with Chad but I could clearly hear another voice in the background, Mr. Vesely, as Chad spoke with him while also speaking with me.
6) Chad climbed the mountain a few days previous and left running shoes at 7800′ and plastic boots at 11,000′. I don’t know if he left any other gear or received water or food from anyone. You should ask him directly, he would be very forthcoming with that information. Chad did not to my knowledge have any individuals involved in supporting his climb aside from Lisa being the person he left notice with upon his departure from base camp.
7) As far as I’m concerned, Chad left basecamp and reached the top of Denali 14 hours, 22 minutes later. That speaks for itself. Whether any other variables make it “unofficial” is not my area of expertise. I don’t climb for competition, and to be honest, I want nothing to do with it.
I’ll conclude by stating that Chad is a stand-up guy and his word is solid.
Good luck with your research,
1- Westman states that he and Kellogg are friends, and were former National Park Service co-workers on Rainier in 1998 (the year he claimed a Rainier speed-record), and that they are occasional climbing partners.
2- Westman clearly shows that he was not asked to be a timing-official.
3- Westman states that Kellogg reported his own elapsed time to him (14h:22m).
4- Kellogg clearly did not ask Westman to write down the time-of-day, which is what was necessary. Kellogg clearly wanted to keep the timing of his climb under his own control at all times.
5- Kellogg asked Westman to write down the name of his alleged summit-witness, and Westman did as ‘Ivo Vesely. However, Kellogg did not ask Vesely to speak with Westman to confirm his location on the summit.
6- There is indeed a climber named Ivo Vesely, and Dan Howitt tried to find his contact information wasn’t able to. Howitt asked Explorers Web, who has great, international connections and offices in many countries, to contact him for a statement, and they never replied.
7- Westman then makes a clearly biased statement that the person’s voice who her heard in the background was Vesely. Obviously, how could he know this if he didn’t speak with that person?
Kellogg reported to Denali National Park, fellow professional climbers, fellow climbing-Rangers, and Explorers Web media that his record-times were officially timed by the basecamp managers Lisa Roderick and Mark Westman and by a summit witness named Ivo Vesely. Roderick, Westman, and Vesely were never contacted by the media for substantiation. Later, Roderick and Westman, and Ranger Gordy Kito, were contacted by speedclimber Dan Howitt and were found to (a) have never been asked by Kellogg to be his timers, (b) to have not timed anything, and (c) to have been told by Kellogg his own times, which they then conveyed to others who asked. Westman and Kito report speaking with Kellogg by CB radio from his claimed-summit, and that Kellogg told both individuals he had a summit witness and timer, Ivo Vesely, who took a photo of his (Kellogg’s) watch; however, Kellogg never had the alleged summit witness speak with either Westman or Kito, and the alleged photo has never been provided on Kellogg’s website (linked above) nor in the media. Also, Kellogg has no summit photos for that speedclimb. Kellogg at the time was a professional climber for Alpine Ascents and is a former Rainier Ranger. A website, Get Outdoors, reported on how one media company, Mountain Zone, decided to retract their reporting of Kellogg’s climb from”official” to unofficial in light of the proof:
“MountainZone … has retracted its publication of CK’s Denali Speed Record.”
The Adventure Blog, operated by Kraig Becker of Eco Primal Quest http://www.ecoprimalquest.com/wp-primal/about/kraig-becker/ reported on the general theme about Chad Kellogg: