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!
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!