Yesterday we did another brutal but effective carry from 11,500′ camp to 14,200′ Camp, the famed location at the base of Denali’s 6,000 vertical foot west wall, where the Messner Couloir, Orient Express and other possible ski routes taunt you, but frequently exhibit enough patches of blue water ice to keep you humbled and thinking of other ways to get to the summit and back alive.
I’ve spent all morning setting up a more permanent solar and blog installation, while the boys have made our circus tent into a snow palace with custom shelving, stand up cooking counters, personal stash cabinets, and of course their ever present crank-to-charge music player.
There are quite a few folks in camp up here. Probably around 100 or more. We’ve been chatting with our neighbors, including a guided group from Mountain Trip, guys from Colorado, Montana and other places. One group of core skiers from Boulder Colorado has been up here for two weeks, and they’ve got enough supply for 4 more! Impressive.
All of us are feeling the altitude, but no sign of any dangerous symptoms so far. Thus, our acclimation period here is off to a good start. The weather looks bad but not terrible for the next few days, so we’ll do some skiing on the glacier and allow ourselves to adjust super well to the altitude. Then we’ll stay based here but climb high for a number of days so we’re ready for a summit push.
Thanks all for your comments, prayers, and best wishes. We’ll send along some camp photos as soon as we’ve got ’em.
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.