Louie and I got our double carry completed at about 4:00 this morning, with a five hour grunt up from Camp 1. Getting that done was just about my limit, but I didn’t pull any muscles and seem to be handling the altitude well so far (11,000′ on Denali is roughly equivalent to 13,000′ in Colorado). I’m constantly humbled by this place, and sometimes feel like I’m in a dream. The surroundings are so majestic and so out of normal reality, it might as well be a dream.
Louie was strong during the carry, and our strategy is to keep him that way — along with the rest of us. The other guys did a single carry up to here with one sleep stop along the way. They got it done, but not without a broken ski pole and a bent ski binding. With as much gear and food as we have, double carries are the way to go.
THANKS PHIL for giving us one of your ski poles on the way out! Remember to email me (use contact link on WildSnow) so we can get you another set of poles.
Weather is cloudy with light snow and breeze. We’ve got our tents set up in a system of snow walls, with our gigantic ‘circus tent’ cook tent providing a great place to cook and hang out (at least until the wind blows hard). Dinner for Louie and I last night was turkey stuffing with lots of butter. Don’t laugh, that’s one of our main meals and it’s good stuff. Breakfast this morning was oatmeal with coconut and other goodies, topped off with 10 slices of pre-cooked bacon.
Taking a rest day today, being super careful with acclimatization. We’ll start another double carry tomorrow, up a steep section called Motorcycle Hill, and start our progression to the 14,000 foot camp.
Lots of people up here, and you see a lot of crazy stuff. One of the most amusing is the stacks of cigarette cartons some of the Euros show up with.
WildSnow.com publisher emeritus and founder Lou (Louis Dawson) has a 50+ years career in climbing, backcountry skiing and ski mountaineering. He was the first person in history to ski down all 54 Colorado 14,000-foot peaks, has authored numerous books about about backcountry skiing, and has skied from the summit of Denali in Alaska, North America’s highest mountain.