Denali, Day 1: Travel to Talkeetna, AK

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Saturday, May 9

Day 1 Travel to Talkeetna, AK
Day 2 Fly to Base on glacier, ski to 7700'
Day 3 Tent bound
Day 4 7700 to 9450'
Day 5 Place cache at 11,200'
Day 6 Move to 11,200'
Day 7 Place cache at 13,500'
Day 8 Move to Genet basin, 14.000'
Day 9 Back-carry cache to 14,000'
Day 10 Summit attempt
Day 11 Return to Base
Day 12 Fly out

Note: click images to see a larger version in a new window

After all the planning and gear acquisition, it was finally time to go. Our plane left Boise at 6:30am, so we were all there early, loading on our 500# of sleds, skis, and cold weather gear. It would have been more, but we had already shipped all our food to my Uncle Gene in Anchorage.

The folks at the Boise airport didn't seem to be phased by our huge sleds. That's one thing we didn't need to worry about any more.

Airport

We flew through Seattle, then connected to Anchorage. Tom got a window seat on the right of the plane, so was treated to clear views of Mt. St. Elias, etc. etc. Bro and I were on the left side, and not at the window. Bummer. Tommy was in a middle seat further back in the plane.

It was about noon when we arrived in Anchorage. In the bigger version of the picture, you can see the Chugach mountains. We were stoked.

Lunch stop looking toward Mackay
Uncle Gene picked us up at the airport and took us to his house. Even in his SuperCab pickup, we were full. So my cousin Alex brought over his CrewCab Dually pickup so that we could add in all the food we had shipped. That's Gene and Alex on the left.
Lunch stop looking toward Mackay Tom Lopez photo

This was the first time we had seen all of our crap sitting in a single pile.... Yikes!

Then Alex kindly drove us to Talkeetna, while telling us stories about Alaska and their charming governor.

Lunch stop looking toward MackayTom Lopez photo

We went straight to TAT (Talkeetna Air Taxi), our flight to the glacier the following day. There we arranged to stay at the TAT bunkhouse, and we repacked for the flight. They want our gear arranged so that it is easy to pack onto the plane, and they also want us to weigh and mark everything. Pulling all our neatly-packed gear apart was painful and time consuming.

Our gear weighed 630 pounds, plus what we would be wearing and also plus our white gas, which we would pick up on the glacier (another 40 pounds or so). So we would be starting off with about 170# each....

After the traditional departure dinner at the West Rib, we headed for the spartan TAT bunkhouse in our first exposure to the arctic night; at 10pm it was still light. Later, I woke up at 3am and could see well enough in the house to find the bathroom without turning on any lights.

Tomorrow would be our day to start the mountain.

Lunch stop looking toward Mackay Tom Lopez photo

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