Lead Guide Fischer Hazen gave us a shout from the Southeast Fork of the Kahiltna Glacier. He, Dave Helland and MT Guide Matt Park flew in and spent the day reviewing skills such as crevasse rescue in advance of their attempt on the West Rib Route of Denali. A couple days ago, they finalized their preparations in Anchorage before making the drive to the small town of Talkeetna, from where they flew to the glacier.
The team will pit themselves against a challenging route that climbs an elegant ridge for over a vertical mile before ascending a series of steep snow slopes to arrive at a plateau just below Denali’s summit. The West Rib is a difficult route, both technically and physically, but the rewards for climbers’ efforts are stunning views in an exposed, but incredible setting, right along side the immense South Face of North America’s tallest peak.
The team will launch early in the morning for their Camp 1 at the junction of the main Kahiltna Glacier and it’s tributary, the Northeast Fork. The trip is about five miles with only a moderate gain of elevation, but its a tough hike with the heaviest loads of their expedition.