May 13th West Buttress Denali Expedition – Cached at 10,200′

The May 13th West Buttress Denali Expedition is right on schedule, having put some of their gear in a cache at 10,200′ along the route to Camp 2.

Lead Guide Jesse Wright called in with a new audio recording. Give it a listen!

Audio Recording

The May 13th team made their first “carry and cache” of the trip, hauling sled loads full of food and equipment up towards Kahiltna Pass, about halfway between Camp 1 and Camp 2, in order to “cache” it in the snow. This “carry and cache” method of ascent is very common on Denali because it serves two strategic functions to improve the expedition’s success.

First, it allows the expedition to minimize the amount of weight that they have to carry in their sleds and backpacks as they ascend the mountain (carrying 22 days worth of food and gear all at once is too heavy and exhausting). Second, having the expedition team take multiple trips up and down the mountain between camps can help expedition members better acclimatize by climbing incrementally higher in elevation but sleeping at a lower elevation for multiple nights.

The old mountaineering adage of “climb high and sleep low” perfectly describes this approach to acclimatization, and by getting a little bit of exercise today and then sleeping again at Camp 1, the May 13th West Buttress Denali Expedition is setting itself up for success on the upper mountain.

Nice work, team!

may 11 denali at 9400

Teams making the long gradual climb up “Ski Hill” between Camp 1 and Camp 2.

According to Jesse, the team is going to take a well-deserved rest day before making an push up to Camp 2 the following day, weather permitting. It sounds like the team is moving well and everyone is doing great!

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