Luiz Cavalieri called in on behalf of the June 11th West Buttress team. Despite very tough weather that has kept other teams in camp on the upper parts of Denali, Luiz and his team were able to carry loads of supplies up above Camp 1 to a spot near the very start of the Kahiltna Glacier. This morning the team loaded up their packs and sleds, gathered roughly half of their supplies and hiked roughly four miles (6.4km) up the broad Kahiltna Glacier to just below Kahiltna Pass, a low point between Denali to the northeast and the 12,411′ (3782m) Kahiltna Dome to the southwest. Kahiltna Pass is essentially the start for the main body of ice that flows south in the form of the Kahiltna Glacier.
Their day started out with an ascent up a 550m gain known as Ski Hill. The glacier then flattens a bit, with more modest hills. At about 10,000′ (3300m), the team dug a deep pit in the snow, into which they buried their supplies, before descending back to Camp 1 for the night. This is called, “making a cache” or simply “caching.” It is a process that enables the team to move the large quantity of food, fuel and gear needed for a three week climb and it also helps them ease into the altitude of each new camp by getting a taste of a new elevation before committing to it by sleeping there.
Luiz’s call was unfortunately dropped, due to challenging satellite coverage, but we imagine that there are dense clouds obscuring their view of the upper mountain, which rises 12,500′ (3810m) above their camp, framed nicely above the Northeast Fork.
Here is Luiz: