Lead Guide Eli Potter called in from Denali Base Camp at 7,800′ on the Southeast Fork of the Kahiltna Glacier. The team flew into the Alaska Range under clear, blue skies and had a really comfortable day reviewing the skills that each climber will need to employ as they climb towards the summit of North America’s tallest mountain over the next few weeks.
Thus far during the 2017 climbing season, the mountain has been buffeted by strong winds and the temperatures have been colder than in memory. Not today! The team had seasonably warm temperatures during the day, even though they spent the day on a snow covered glacier.
Tomorrow morning, they will shoulder heavy packs, clip themselves into laden sleds, and start their ascent of the classic West Buttress route. the route actually descends for a bit our of Base Camp, before turning north and climbing up the broad Kahiltna Glacier. The Kahiltna is like a frozen, 44 mile long river, with a number of smaller, tributary rivers of ice feeding into it. The Southeast Fork is one such “feeder glacier.”