May 26th West Buttress Denali Expedition – Cached Above Camp 1

Lead Guide Ty called in to report that the May 26th West Buttress Denali Expedition put in a cache above Camp 1 and they plan to move to Camp 2 tomorrow! 

Here’s Ty: Audio Recording

A team on their way to cache, with Camp 1 in the background.

The May 26th team has now 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 “cache and carry” 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 26th West Buttress Denali Expedition is setting itself up for success on the upper mountain.

Strong work, team! 

The scene at Camp 1, with the sun setting on the shoulder of Denali.

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