May 14 Denali Expedition Carries Around Windy Corner

Derek Mahon Called in a very nice and descriptive post from the team’s camp in the small basin at 11,000 feet. The May 14 West Buttress expedition is back in camp after a really good day of carrying loads of supplies to a cache spot about 2500 feet above camp.

The day started out with a 1000 foot hill that rises from the northeast corner of the basin. Dubbed “Motorcycle Hill” by climbers many decades ago, this is the start of the actual climbing on the West Buttress route. The climbers donned crampons and pulled out their ice axes to provide added security as they made their way up Motorcycle Hill. Cresting the first slope, they were then faced with a couple more moderately steep climbs that are collectively known as Squirrel Hill (No, there is no evidence that a squirrel ever made it to 13,000′ on Denali, I’m afraid…).

Derek described the day a “HOT” as they ascended along a gently sloping glacier dubbed The Polo Field by imaginative Alaska Range climbers. Crazy, right? The team is climbing through 13,000 feet on the flank of Denali and they were hot. When the wind isn’t blowing, it can become very, very warm, with the heat being exacerbated by the reflective heat off the snow.

The dug a deep hole in the snow at an elevation of 13,500 feet and buried their supplies in preparation of climbing up past their cache en route to Camp 3 tomorrow. With their cache marked with wands and sufficiently buried to keep hungry ravens away from their cookies, they descended back to Camp 2 for a tasty dinner.

Here’s Derek, with a special shout out to some loved ones!


…And here is another call that Derek made minutes earlier. His transmission was cut off, but I suspect there are some folks out there who probably would enjoy hearing a bit more of his voice. 🙂

Previous Recording

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