The above photo is from the Mountain Trip Denali archives, a great view of the route from Base Camp to Camp 1!
James Partridge with the May 8 team calls in to report from Camp 1 at 7,800 feet. 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.
Here’s James, still sounding fresh and excited for this grand adventure! Recording