Denali West Rib Team – Chris Checks In

Chris Silkwood called in via a not-great satellite phone connection.  The team is at 7,800′ on the Kahiltna Glacier and today, they carried food and supplies higher on the glacier as they continue their acclimatization process.

Today, they climbed up about 2500′ to the head of the Kahiltna.  They dug a deep pit in the snow and buried their loads under a good meter of snow.  This is to protect their food from the marauding ravens that have learned to associate climbers with lunch over the past decades.  Ravens are found at virtually all elevations on the mountain and on occasion, have been documented to dig two feet or more under the snow to get at climbers’ food!

The day started with a climb of over a thousand feet up a feature of the Kahiltna known as Ski Hill.  Above Ski Hill, the glacier mellows and the ascent was much more gradual.  After making their “cache” of supplies, the team dropped back down to 7800′ for the night.  This is a process known as “double carrying,” and it enables the team to both move their whopper loads with a bit less effort and also ease their bodies into each new elevation before committing to new heights by sleeping there.  “Climb high and sleep low” is a tried and true process for climbing big, cold mountains.

Here is Chris!

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