Our June 22nd Denali Ski Team checked in from the Southeast Fork of the Kahiltna Glacier. They spent the day reviewing glacier travel and crevasse rescue skills and tried to get an early night’s sleep in preparation for a midnight wake-up call so that they can travel the lower Kahiltna during the wee hours of the night.
Glacier travel is a complex blend of art and science. Having each participant know his or her job and stay attuned to performing that which is expected is crucial to safe travel when the crevasse hazards are elevated. There are a few known areas of elevated crevasse hazard between Base Camp and the team’s intended camp 1 at about 7,800′, and they deemed it prudent to take the time to make sure everyone knows his job before heading out. This team is traveling on skis, which spread out the weight of the climber across a longer surface area, providing some additional security against poking into a lurking slot.
It is about a five mile (8km) hike to a section of the Kahiltna that is at the junction with a tributary glacier known as the NE Fork of the Kahiltna. The intended site is at the base of a long, moderately steep hill in the main Kahiltna, and as a result, the glacier tends to be more compacted and has less crevasses in that area.
Here’s Durny![audio:http://dev.mountaintrip.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/audio-post-2011-06-25-04-39-14.mp3|titles=Audio Post]