May 24 Team Arrives in Basecamp and Moves to Camp 1

The team didn’t call in a report last night, but they did let us know they hit the ground running! The team flew into Basecamp yesterday and immediately began their move to Camp 1, arriving a little after 7p. Nice work! Camp 1 is at 7,800′ (2377m), and sits at the base of Ski Hill. The first significant climb of the expedition, rising over 1,000′ above camp.

The move from Base Camp to Camp 1 is often considered one of the harder days on the mountain because the team is carrying all 110 pounds that they flew onto the glacier with. Some of that weight is in their backpack, and some is in a sled they each tow behind them. Today the team will start to do what we call “caching”—more on that later! The move from Base Camp to Camp 1 is 5.5 miles and 1,000 feet of elevation gain. First, the team started their day by descending 600 feet from the southeast fork of the Kahiltna onto the main body of the 40 mile long glacier. Then they worked their way up to Camp 1, just below what we call Ski Hill, which rises about 1,800 feet above Camp 1.

Camp is on a compact section of glacier at the bottom of this hill. The ice at the bottom of the drop is compacted and is less prone to having crevasses than other sections of the Kahiltna. Crevasses are fractures in the surface of the glacier that form when the elasticity of the ice is overcome and it cracks. We like to think of it like a Snickers bar. If you take two ends of a Snickers bar and bend them towards each other with the middle facing towards the sky, it’s kind of like what happens on a glacier as it bends over changes in terrain. But if you bring the ends of that Snickers back parallel, you will see the cracks close up again. In Alaska, the crevasses can be much bigger than in many other glaciated parts of the world. Our climbers are traveling along the glacier roped together so as to provide security in the event that someone pokes into a crevasse.

Base Camp to Camp 1!

A 2021 team moving from Basecamp to Camp 1

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1 Comment

  1. My adrenaline kicks and gear as I sit here in the summer heat of Tucson Arizona reading each and every word.

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