May 18 Denali Team Moves To Camp 1

Mountain Trip guide Chris Dickson called in from 7,800 feet on the Kahiltna Glacier after the members of our May 18 West Buttress expedition hiked five miles over five hours to arrive at the site of their Camp 1.

Conditions on the lower glacier were pretty perfect, with a firm trail and not too much crevasse hazard. They departed early in the morning, but still ran into some very hot temperatures as they approached 7,800′. The selected their camp at a point where the Kahiltna Glacier is quite compact, which lessens the risk of crevasses. Immediately up glacier from camp is a 1000+ foot slope in the glacier. After the Kahiltna drops all that elevation, the ice becomes “smooshed” together into a relatively cohesive mass of ice. There tend to be far fewer crevasses on this stretch of glacier than there are even a few hundred meters down glacier. This isn’t to say there’s zero crevasse hazard – in 2010 or so, one of our teams awake during the night to what sounded like the report of a rifle. It was the energy being released as a small, four inch wide crevasse formed during the night, right under our tents!

The team did great and feasted on beef barbacoa quesadillas to celebrate their efforts. Tomorrow, they will climb up the 1000+ foot slope to stash some of their supplies above their current camp.

Here’s Chris, or as I am prone to saying – that voice!


Chris started a really informative and entertaining podcast last winter called “San Juan Snowcast.” Over the course of a couple dozen episodes he keep those of us in SW Colorado updated on the snowpack, shared his expansive knowledge of snow science, as well as took up along on occasionally emotional journeys throughout the course of our winter. Yes – this a HUGE shout out for San Juan Snowcast, which you can find on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and probably other platforms.

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1 Comment

  1. Hi Uncle Chris! Chance and Harper here to say we loved hearing your voice and getting caught up on the expedition. We’re both learning how to pronounce “glacier” and are trying to wrap our heads around crevasses. Keep the updates coming, we love you!

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