Field Report, May 26

May 26, 2015 Posted by: Maureen Gualtieri and Joseph McBrayer


Mt. McKinley

Mt. Foraker

Registered Climbers



Climbers Currently On Mountain



Completed Climbs



Number of Summits



Summit Percentage



The Walter Harper Talkeetna Ranger Station also maintains a daily automated statistics phone line, so if this blog is lagging behind and you need up-to-date registration numbers, call (907) 733-9127. 

Weather Report

14,200 feet - Clear skies, with lenticulars over the summit.  No new snow in the last 24 hours.  Wind speed at 8 am was 9 mph from the southwest, gusting to 24 mph from the west.  

In the last 12 hours, 
Current temp:  7 F (-14 C)
Low temp: -4 F (-20 C) 
High temp: 7 F (-14 C) 

7,200 feet - Basecamp was also clear this morning, though camp accumulated 2 cm of new snow overnight. Morning windspeed was 8 mph from the east, gusting to 12 mph from the east.  

In the last 12 hours at 7,200-feet:
Current temp: 27 (-3 C)
Low temp: 21
 F (-6 C)
High temp: 28 F (-2 C)

National Weather Service forecast  

Ranger Update

NPS Denali Patrol #1 (Erickson, Westman, 2 PJ's, 4 VIPs) will get their first glimpse of spring foliage today as they fly home to Talkeetna after a job well done.        

NPS Denali Patrol #2 (Shain + 3 VIPs) are at 14,200-foot camp.  Ranger Shain and VIP Sue Wolff did make it to high camp yesterday for an acclimatization trip, where they encountered approx. 40 mph winds.  They got a few high camp duties done before returning to 14,200-feet.

NPS Denali Patrol #3 (Weber, 2 PJ's, 2 VIPs) made it to 14,200-foot camp yesterday evening, and today will work with Patrol #2 in the transition of camp oversight. 

NPS Denali Patrol #4 (Chenoweth, 4 VIPs) will fly into Basecamp.  Ranger Tucker Chenoweth will be joined by mountaineering volunteers Tressa Gibbard, Dr. Andrew Latimer, Frank Preston, and Andrea Tupy.

NPS Basecamp Patrol #2 (Reichert + 2 VIPs) flew out this morning, swapping positions with ranger Dan Corn and VIP Ashley Feerer (Basecamp Patrol #3).  In other Basecamp news, TAT/K2 Basecamp manager Lisa Roderick who has been providing twice-daily weather observations to the NPS for the past month, is taking a break in Talkeetna for a few days of green grass and long showers before she returns to the Kahiltna Glacier.  

The recovery mission for deceased climber Javier Callupan is still on hold until winds at high camp subside, and  ground and helicopter crews can safely work at 17,200-feet.     

Route Conditions

In the late afternoon on May 25, a hard slab avalanche was triggered by a skier in a party of three. The three skiers where heading toward the Rescue Gully below the 17,200-foot camp on the West Buttress. The slide took place above the trail for the West Buttress, just east of the fixed lines at 15,300-feet. The skiers were swept to 14,800-feet on the West Buttress. Luckily no serious injuries were reported. Debris swept over the trail to 14,600-feet, covering parts of the trail leading to the fixed lines on the West Buttress. 

In the past week, the area where the avalanche took place had received new snow coupled with high winds, creating a wind slab. The crown varied from 2-3 feet in height and is 250 feet wide. This is an event that a lot can be learned from. The results could have been much worse, especially with the debris running across the trail for the West Buttress. After a weather pattern that produced higher winds and snow, it is common to see experienced climbers wait a couple days to go into avalanche terrain. (~NPS Ranger Joseph McBrayer)

Photo of the Day

Four volunteers in flight helmets crouched next to helicopter

All mountaineering Volunteers-in-Parks (VIPs) go through helicopter safety training with the park's high altitude helicopter crew and helo manager before flying up to the mountain. Pictured above are four of the five volunteers headed up to Denali today, from left to right:  Dr. Andrew Latimer, Andrea Tupy, Tressa Gibbard, and Ashley Feerer.  Missing from the photo is VIP Frank Preston, who is returning for his second high mountain patrol in two years.  (NPS Photo/Tucker Chenoweth).   

Last updated: July 21, 2015

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Mailing Address:

PO Box 9
Denali Park , AK 99755


907 683-9532
A ranger is available 9 am—4 pm daily (except on major holidays). If you get to the voicemail, please leave a message and we'll call you back as soon as we finish with the previous caller.

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