Saturday, July 6, 2013

AC Denali Post 18: July 5 Recap

Dave Hahn had this to say about yesterday:

"Friday, July 5th, 2013 10:57 p.m. PST
Finally a break in the weather.  Things calmed down during the night and the upper layer of clouds began to dissipate.  As we watched for an hour or two beginning at 5 AM, the weather went back and forth for a while, but once we committed to getting the team up and getting going, it all began to go our way.

We dealt with slightly cooler temperatures and steady breezes as we left camp at 9 AM for our carry, but we had big blue skies overhead which was great for everybody’s morale.  Snow conditions were perfect for walking, which was a little surprising after so many days of falling snow.  It seems that it had been such a long dry spell previously, that the surface had gotten firm from wind and sun.  When new snow landed on that surface, it just blew clean.  At any rate, it was perfect for our crampons today.

We got up Motorcycle Hill and halfway up Squirrel Hill in the first hour, which entitled us to enjoy grand views of The Northwest Buttress and the Peter’s Glacier.  The second hour took us into the “Polo Field” as folks now call the basin which the end of the West Buttress towers over.  We moved through this area without much visibility as another cloud had found us.  By the time we reached Windy Corner, we were walking out of the cloud and getting big views again.  Windy Corner has been a concern for several weeks now as the June heat wave had produced a rockfall hazard in the area.  But there had to be some benefit to the storm that was keeping us down, it froze things up nicely above the corner and our passage was fast and safe.

We cached food and fuel at 13,600’, just past the corner.  It had taken four and a half hours to reach our destination.  We buried things deep to thwart the cache robbing ravens, and then began an easy descent with light packs.  By 3:45, we were back in camp, basking in sunshine.  There is still plenty of cloud around, but for the moment it is below us.  We hope it stays that way as we want to move to 14,200’ tomorrow.  All were excited and energized to finally see beyond the corner.  Denali’s South Peak was no longer far away or on some horizon, it was front and center… and gigantic."

No comments: