After leaving Talkeetna, the team flew across the flat expanse of braided rivers that leads to the Alaska Range. Flying over the foot of the range they traveled across the glaciated, frozen peaks into Denali Basecamp at 7,200′ (2194m). Unloading their supplies from the plane, the team set up in Basecamp temporarily to wait for night fall. Early in the AM they packed up, tied into their rope teams, and set off in the twilight for Camp 1 while the glacier was at its most frozen, providing the most supportive snow bridges across the crevasses. They first descended down the Southeast Fork of the Kahiltna for about 600′ until it flowed into the main body of the Kahiltna Glacier, here they began to climb uphill for 5.5 miles gaining 1,200′. Yesterday morning they arrived in Camp 1, which rests at 7,800′ (2377m) at the base of Ski Hill. Ski Hill rises 1,000′ above Camp 1. The compression of the glacier as it flows over this terrain convexity and meets the flatter glacier below creates a compression zone, closing the gaping crevasses and providing a nice place to camp.
The team will continue on a night schedule for now, until they get to the upper part of the mountain where the temps are colder and the glacier remains frozen throughout the day.
A 2021 team leaving Basecamp at twilight
Here’s our guide, Harrison, with the update: