May 8 Denali Team – Rodney Calls from 7800′

Rodney Cline called in a nice update from Ski Hill Camp, also known as Camp 1 or 7800′ Camp, as that is the elevation of that stretch of glacier.  The team took a day in Base Camp to review skills and work on their systems before moving up the glacier Camp 1.  The trip took them about 5 hours, and it sounds like the weather was pretty darn nice.  Strange but true–  you can encounter very, very HOT temperatures on a glacier!

Kahiltna Glacier

A Mountain Trip team hikes toward Camp 1, during the 2013 season. W. Kahiltna Peak is the prominent peak with the shaded aspect at right. Denali looms above it, peaking through the clouds.

The route out of Base Camp descended the Southeast Fork of the Kahiltna, so the team actually lost elevation over the course of their first 20 minutes of hiking.  Upon reaching the confluence with the main body of the immense Kahiltna Glacier, the team took a right turn and headed north up the glacier, slowly gaining elevation over the next four miles.  They crossed some of the most heavily crevassed sections of the route, and climbed up two subtle ice falls, where the Kahiltna drops in elevation rather quickly.

It sounds as if everyone did well and the team enjoyed their first day on the trail.   On Monday, they will load up roughly half of their total “stuff” (food, fuel, extra clothing, etc) and carry it further up glacier to a site near Kahiltna Pass, the head of the glacier.  There, they will dig a deep pit in the snow and bury their cache of supplies, before returning to Camp 1 to spend the night.  This is called “double carrying.”  This syetme of ferrying gear uphill enables the team to move the vast quantity of food and fuel needed for a 3-week expedition, and also helps the climbers acclimatize, byt climbing high during the day, and sleeping lower down at the site of their camp.  This helps ease their bodies into each new elevation.

Here is Rodney!


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  1. Good to hear all is well and warm, but then again your hot and my hot are totally different. Have fun and take care.

  2. Awesome report RODNALI (Mr. Cline to most of us). Great to hear your voice, sounds like you’re having an excellent time, and are not out of breath! We’re ALL pulling for you here and in PA:)…Make a GREAT rest of the trip/climb, and blow us all a hi five (ok., kiss for Annette) when you’re at the top!!!

  3. Hello to all, you guys and girls are awesome, all my love to my number one man Rodney, you go baby, show those young kids you can kick ass!!! You sound great and I am so freaking proud of you!!! Woo Hoo!

  4. Awwwh! Rodney!~~ I can actually hear your face smiling through your words. Such fun to be a part of your experience, if even for a moment.

  5. Great report Rodney – I’ve been watching the weather on the mountain and hoping that you all will get the perfect window for your summit bid! We’re all pulling for you back here in NC where it’s a balmy 89 degrees today. Stay safe, have fun, and keep the reports coming.

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