Climber Matt Foote called in the first update from the glacier for the June 2 Denali West Buttress Team!
They flew into Base Camp on the Kahiltna Glacier at 7,200′ in the late afternoon, where their Mountain Trip guides cooked dinner and reviewed crevasse rescue, glacier travel, and taught everyone how to properly rig up their sleds, which will be used to pull additional gear between the lower camps.
After a bit of rest, they awoke at 2:30 a.m., quickly broke camp and loaded up, and left Base Camp by 5 a.m. For those at home that aren’t familiar with Alaska during the summertime, the sun rises at around 2:30 (and only truly sets for a very short time), meaning travel with headlamps through the dark is essentially never a necessity.
It took them about five hours to move to Camp One at 7,800′, a day that doesn’t involve a lot of uphill, but a considerable amount of distance. For the move from Base Camp to Camp One, the team was also carrying the heaviest loads they will shoulder throughout the trip, with upwards of 80 pounds in their packs and another 20 to 30 pounds loaded in their sleds.
The team’s next order of business is to bury a cache at the top of Ski Hill, above Camp One, to alleviate some of that weight for when they move up to their Camp Two at 11,200′.