June 21 West Buttress Expedition – First Cache at 10,000′

Yesterday was the first cache day. Caching is a crucial part of expedition style climbing. In expedition style climbing, it is important to climb high and sleep low, allowing the body to acclimate to the new altitudes as you ascend. Climbing Denali is also more challenging than other high altitude summits, as no porters are allowed on this mountain. Each climber must carry their own gear, team gear, and team food. Caching allows climbers to break up the loads a bit and not carry it all each day. On a cache day, climbers will separate any meals and snacks that won’t be needed for a few days, and any gear they may not need. These items were carried up to around 10,000′ where they dig a hole up 6 feet deep into the glacier. Stashing fuel and supplies here, they bury it deeply so the Denali ravens can’t scavenge it. They will mark it with a GPS waypoint and a lot of wands before descending back to camp with delightfully empty packs. The day after they move up to the next camp, they will return to their cache to retrieve everything.

Here they are with the voicemail!

Audio Recording

Mountain Trip guides digging a cache hole.

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