May 11 Team Cached at 9,800′

The May 11 team called in last night 8:22 AKDT to report a successful cache up to 9,800′ on the glacier near Kahiltna Pass. Yesterday the team got up and chose fuel, food, gear, and other supplies that they wouldn’t need for a few days. They packed these items up, tied in to their rope teams, and started the day by ascending the 1,800′ foot hill directly above Camp 1 known as Ski Hill. Once a top Ski Hill, they experienced rolling terrain and a slight continuation of elevation gain to their cache site at 9,800′ just below Kahiltna Pass. Here, the team digs a one meter hole into the glacier to bury these items, and piles a mound of snow on top. You have to make sure to do a good job burying the cache to prevent those pesky raven’s from digging in for their learned favorite mountaineering snacks! Once all that is done, the team sticks a 6 foot pole of bamboo into the mound with a tag on top identifying the cache as theirs and also marks the site with a GPS point (don’t want to lost that cache! Especially as the season progresses, and all the teams on Denali have caches at the same site, you would hate to get confused). The Denali Rangers also use the cache tags to keep track of caches on Denali and make sure none are accidentally left behind.

Caching also allows the team to “climb high and sleep low”. Which helps their body acclimatize to the altitude in a nice gradual way. It also allows the team to brake up their loads into lighter chunks rather than carry all 110lbs up the mountain every day!

Tomorrow the team plans to move to Camp 2 at 11,000′.

A photo from the Denali archives! Camp 1 in the background.

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