If you have been following us on the SPOT Tracker, you know we arrived at the 14,000′ Camp on Denali this afternoon, July 5th. This camp is a major milestone on a West Buttress expedition. The day had a little of everything.
We awoke at 4:00 AM to the first clear skies in almost a week. Of course with clear skies comes cold temperatures. It reached 17F in our tent last night and almost zero outside.
We packed up camp and loaded sleds for the last time – going up – this expedition. From now on everything is carried on our backs. The climb up Ski Hill was straightforward and the conditions comfortable. But once clear of the gully that hosted our Camp 2, the winds picked up significantly.
Out came more layers and goggles. We made steady progress up Squirrel Hill, named after an alleged sighting years ago. No sightings today, it was cold.
However the biggest obstacle of the day was crossing under the unstable rock around Windy Corner. In 2007, rock fall killed one climber and seriously injured several others. Today, all teams push as hard as possible to get by this area quickly.
We doubled our pace and felt the strain of a heavy pack, sled and approaching 14,000′. Of note, the effective altitude is several thousand feet higher because the barometric pressure is lower near the earth’s poles so it felt like we were approaching 16 or 17,0000′.
Winded by the pace, our team successfully navigated Windy Corner. We passed our cache we left yesterday and soon reached the 14 Camp. With few clouds, the view amazing.
We set up camp, began to rehydrate and enjoy a short rest. The MT Guides have started to melt snow for cooking dinner as I type. We will spend at least four nights here.
Tomorrow, we retrieve the cache. Then a full rest day on Thursday followed by a difficult day of carrying a load up the 2,000′ Headwall where we will establish a cache around 16,500′.
If the weather holds, we will move to our High Camp at 17,200′ on Saturday. Then if Denali is willing we will go for the summit on Monday, July 11th. However, I would shocked if this schedule holds. In 2007, I waited for good summit weather at the 14 Camp for 8 days – not uncommon.
We have plenty of food, shelter from storms and a strong team; so we are ready for what comes.
For those new to 7 Summits Climb for Alzheimer’s: Memories are Everything; I make a simple request. Please donate one penny for every foot I climb to one of the three Alzheimer’s organizations we selected.
100% goes to Alzheimer’s zero to me. Please use the DONATE button on this page. For Denali the full donation would be $119.
Today as I went around Windy Corner with my lungs screaming, I knew that every step I took brought in desperately needed funds for research, education, family caregiver support and awareness.
That is what gives me strength, that is what these climbs are all about.
Memories are Everything