Denali, Day 6: Move to 11,200'

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Thursday, May 14

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

Happy Birthday Laurie and Mariel!

Stats:

  • Day 2 of doublecarry, 1.75 miles, 1800', 3 hours
  • Camp at 11,000'

Plan was:

  • One day behind plan

When we woke up, it was sunny but with clouds filling the valley below us.

We packed and did all that stuff to break camp, then headed out to move to 11k camp. Here you can see both ropes headed toward Kahiltna Pass. Tommy and I used skis, Bro and Tom walked. It was pretty much a wash.

Airport

As usual, there were lots of other people on the route. Some going up, some going down, some doing double carries in one direction or another. I didn't take a lot of pictures of other people, but there were certainly lots of opportunities to do so. Here Tommy is on the final approach to 11k, with a group in front.

Airport

We were pretty happy to finally move camp to 11k. It is the entrance to the upper mountain, and that seemed significant. Instead of a big flat glacier, the route was narrowing down into a real climb. You can see the camp is not flat, either.

We took it slow and arrived in about 2:50. There were lots of snow walls up when we arrived, but we fortunately found some that were empty and intact. Later, when we had a chance to survey our surroundings, we realized that this spot was sitting on a huge snow bridge over a giant crevasse that arced across the entire cirque. Oh well.

We dug up our old cache, then started a new, bigger hole next to our camp site. This hole would have to hold a lot more gear, including all four sleds. The snow was hard, torturing our shovels.

Note the clouds below on the other side of the pass. Probably daytime heating. Every evening we saw these clouds rise up and drift through our camps.

Lunch stop looking toward Mackay
This evening was no exception. Except this time made for a remarkably photogenic sky. As the clouds moved through, the visibility and the amount of light was in constant flux. This made for great pictures. Lunch stop looking toward Mackay
Our tents. I still think our side was nicer than theirs. Lunch stop looking toward Mackay
Even on the scenic days and the 'warm' days, you still spend lots of time in the tent. Lunch stop looking toward Mackay

This evening we all took lots of pictures. Despite the (very photogenic) clouds, the weather report for the next few days was very favorable. Good news for getting around Windy Corner.

 

This is also the evening we had the powwow. It started off by Tom proclaiming he could go no further. His blisters were simply too bad. We addressed that by deciding that he would stay in camp the following day while we other three cached at 13500. In addition, we decided that we would only do a one-day attempt, not try to camp at 17k. This meant we would need a lot less food and gas at 14k, so our loads would be lighter.

The die had been cast. Our trip would have a different focus when we left to cache tomorrow.

Lunch stop looking toward Mackay

Mr. Natural Home | 2009 | Back to top of page | Questions :: e-mail to splattski