Thursday, May 15, 2014

Denali West Buttress, 5/12, Postle

We just got another text from AMS guide Mark Postle.  They made a carry to 10K yesterday (Wednesday).  Short text, but he said that everyone is good!

That means that they were probably on the move yesterday for about 6-8 hours, camp to camp.  Right out of camp 1 is Ski Hill.  It's not too steep of a hill, but it goes on for about 2-3 rest breaks.  Once they get to the top of the ski hill they are in what we call the 10,000' basin, AKA the land of ghost wands.

The 10K basin is relatively flat.  It's easy terrain to travel up or down on.  However, it is the most prone place on the mountain to white outs.  Sometimes (as often as not) it feels as if you are stuck inside of a ping pong ball having a hard time telling which way is up or down.  Kind of weird.  This is where our guides' mastery of map, compass, GPS and white-out-nav is invaluable.

It looks pretty clear in the range today though.  I bet they're having a nice move day to 11,200' camp. They'll stop at their cache for a rest break and maybe grab a shovel or 2 out of the top of the cache, but other than that they'll leave most of it there and pick it up tomorrow on their back carry.

Here, a group nears the top of Ski Hill with the Kahiltna Glacier covered in clouds

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