Chase Franklin called in from Camp 1 on the Kahiltna Glacier last night. the team moved about five miles up glacier to a broad plain at about 7,800′ (2380m). The weather was pretty warm and they traveled in light fleece layers and reveled in the sun.
Chase makes reference to some excitement regarding crevasses, so we figured we’d better give some clarification. There were five incidents when climbers poked a leg through a snow bridge and into a crevasse. This can definitely get the heart rate up, and provides the imagination with a heaping of food upon which to feed images of dark, gaping maws. No one actually fell through a bridge, but to those who poked in, it must have been plenty exciting!
Conditions on the glacier are a bit odd, as they climbed out of the new snow level and into the elevation of old snow from last summer when they passed an area known as the East Fork of the Kahiltna Glacier. This is about three miles (5 Km) out of Base Camp. Base Camp on the Southeast Fork of the Kahiltna had only nine feet of new snow over the winter, compared to an average of 21 feet in a typical year. Whether this phenomenon is a result of wind events or La Nina is unknown, but it is a bit atypical.
Here is Chase![audio:http://mountaintripdenali2011.files.wordpress.com/2011/04/april-17-chase-from-14k-4-28-11.mp3]