Friday, June 22, 2012

Denali Part II: Meet the Sled

In a previous post before I left for Alaska, I wondered how I would schlep all of my gear to 14,000 feet.  As it turned out, the gear was schlepped.  And it took 5 days to do it.

Aaron and I left Salt Lake City on June 1, 2012, landed in Anchorage around noon, made a pit stop at REI for fuel, arrived in Talkeetna at 4:00 p.m., participated in the park service orientation at 5:30, and at 6:30 registered at Talkeetna Air Taxi for our flight to the Kahiltna glacier.  We just missed an evening flight, but learned that it is possible to leave Salt Lake City in the morning and be on the Kahilta Glacier by evening.

The morning of June 2, 2012, we landed on the Kahiltna Glacier with 255 pounds of gear.  Eventually this gear was distributed between us, our packs, and our sleds.  And then the schlep began.

Why I thought that I could move from basecamp at 7,200 feet to 14,000 feet in, oh a day or so, escapes me.  After about 10 steps carrying and pulling my load, I realized that I was now in a place that I usually tried to avoid: slow and heavy.  Had it not been for the fact that I was in Alaska and in what is perhaps the grandest natural cathedral in the world, surrounded by Hunter, Foraker, and Denali, I probably would have sat on my 125 pounds of gear and cried.

Mt. Foraker from Base Camp

Mt. Crosson from Base Camp

Mt. Hunter from Base Camp

Denali from Base Camp

Here is a video clip of Aaron getting to know his buddy, the sled:

By the afternoon of June 2 (Day 1 on the Mtn), Aaron and I had more or less crossed the lower Kahiltna Glacier and at Camp 2, we stopped for the day.  Our hips and backs were sore.  Our relationships with our sleds had not gotten much better.  It was quite windy that night.  Little did we know that the weather would deteriorate and it would be 12 days before we saw weather as nice.

The view from Camp 2 is pretty cool.  From Camp 2, you can see a large portion of Denali (if it's not in the clouds).  Below is a picture looking up the Valley of Death, which is a route to the West Rib.  During our time at Camp 2, we saw and heard rock fall and serac fall in the valley.

Camp 2 looking up the Valley of Death.  Denali is in the clouds.

1 comment:

Chris Cawley said...

that is like, way bigger than city creek.