Lead guide Ty Guarino let us know that the team successfully made it to Denali Basecamp yesterday! Let the adventure begin! Talkeetna sits at 348′ (106m). This time of year it is full spring there, everything is lush and green. Talkeetna sits literally at the end of the road to the Alaska Range. It has been the jumping off point for Alaska Range climbers for decades. Upon arrival the team was briefed by the Park Service, weighed all their gear, and loaded the plane for their flight. Leaving Talkeetna the team flew over a vast flat expanse of braided rivers, the Alaska Range looming on the horizon. Eventually the reached the edge of the Range and the toe of the glaciers that flow out of its reaches. Granite peaks rise dramatically from the permanent ice and snow around them. Landing in Basecamp the team unloaded their gear, and some food from a Talkeetna restaurant. Maybe their last salad before settling into the on-snow life! While at Basecamp the team reviewed the skills for glacier travel; like tying into a rope team, loading backpacks and sleds, etc, before tucking into bed early in preparation for a 4am departure. Teams leave early in the morning after the glacier has refrozen in the night and before it thaws out again in the heat of the day because this is when snow bridges across crevasses are the most stable. It is also more comfortable to move at this time of day because at this elevation temperatures can rise to the freezing level, and when the sun is beating down on you while you drag 110lbs across 5 miles of glacier it can feel unbearably hot. The sunrose at 4:39am this morning, and when it “sets” it doesn’t even get totally dark anymore!
A 2021 team leaving basecamp in the twilight