May 30 Team Carries Loads to 10,000′

Asher Perez called in from our May 30th Team’s Camp 1 at 7,800′ on the Kahiltna Glacier. Today, they carried loads up to an elevation of about 10,000′, below Kahiltna Pass, the very start of the 40-mile long glacier.

They day started with a long, moderate slope as they headed up glacier. Known as Ski Hill, this is actually a series of hills that gained the crew about 1700′ of vertical over the course of a few miles. Continuing up the more gradual grade leading to Kahiltna Pass, the team hiked another mile to a point below where a small, tributary glacier pours down from the east. They dug a deep hole in the surface of glacier and deposited their loads. It’s a bit of an over simplification, but essentially, they buried about half of their total supplies, including food for the upper mountain, fuel, and extra clothes that they won’t need in the next day or so.

Climbers dig deep holes and bury their supplies so that the tenacious ravens that have learned to associate climbers with food do not steal their Snickers bars. It’s pretty bad form, and against National Park Service regulations to have your “cache” raided by these smart and sneaky birds. They will dig a couple more such caches in the coming week as they continue to ascend the mountain.

After burying their kit, they descended back to Camp 1 to spend the night. This system of carrying high and then sleeping low enables them to transport the massive amount of food, fuel and gear needed for their expedition, but also ease their bodies into a new, higher elevation before committing to it by moving camp. Sleeping at altitude is when climbers can be more exposed to altitude sickness, because your respiration rate slows during sleep, decreasing oxygen exchange.

Here’s Asher!


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