Field Report, May 31

May 31, 2016 Posted by: Maureen Gualtieri



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

7,200 feet - It's a beautiful morning at basecamp, clear skies, no new snow, wind 6 mph out of the east, pushing to 16 mph out of the southeast. Lisa does observe wind plumes off the summit of Denali.

In the last 12 hours:
Current temp:  -3 C / 27 F
Low temp:  -6 C / 21 F
High temp:  -3 C / 27 F

14,200 feet -  Also 'splitter' conditions this morning at 14K, per Joey.  (Which I loosely translate as 'perfect' conditions). Clear skies, generally calm wind, with some gusts to 15 mph. No new snow.

In the last 12 hours:
Current temp:  -18 C / 0 F
Low temp:  -20 C / -4 F
High temp:  -17 C / 1 F

FAA Kahiltna Glacier webcam 

National Weather Service forecast  

Ranger Update

NPS Denali Patrol #1 (Erickson, Coady, 2 GRTE rangers, 2 VIPs)  Are now back in Talkeetna, as of this morning. We spoke too soon yesterday regarding good weather...a fog settled in at basecamp midday, hampering flights in and out for most of the day. Ranger Melis Coady did fly out to Talkeetna last night in the park helicopter direct from 14K, along with two frostbite patients. 

NPS Denali Patrol #2 (McBrayer and 3 VIPs) The patrol continued to attend to two frostbite patients at 14K, who ultimately were evacuated from camp in the A-Star B3e helicopter last night along with medical attendant Ranger Melis Coady.  Early this morning, the crew assisted helicopter pilot Andy Hermansky who returned to 14K to evacuate the remains of Pavel Michut, a climber from the Czech Republic who died in a skiing fall on the Messner Couloir on Saturday.  Mr. Michut's remains were then transferred to the State of Alaska Medical Examiner.  Ranger Joey McBrayer and crew are handing over the reigns of 14 camp today to Dan Corn's patrol, and Patrol #2 will head up the fixed lines tomorrow and spend the next several nights at the 17,200-foot camp.

NPS Denali Patrol #3 (Corn, 4 VIPs, 2 PJ's) The team is in great spirits this morning after an easy and uneventful ascent to the 14,200-foot camp over the past week. Dan claims personal responsibility for all the beautiful weather that just hit the upper mountain!    

NPS Denali Patrol #4 (Shain, 4 VIPs)  Ranger Mik Shain and volunteers Sue Wolff, Brian Mulvihill, and Dahr Jamail, Liam O'Sullivan did not get to fly into Basecamp yesterday due to fog, but they had a beautiful flight in this morning. They will stay at basecamp today, and should start heading to 7,800 foot camp tomorrow.

NPS Basecamp Patrol #3 (Preston, 1 VIP)  This being the busiest few day stretch of the Denali season, Ranger Frank Preston and Volunteer Alisa Royem have their hands full with lots of climbers flying in, and lots of climbers flying out. Contacting climbers with camp and resource management questions, assisting helo operations.

Route Conditions  

Upper mountain: the new snow from a couple days ago is sticking around camp, though plenty of blue ice is visible on surrounding mountain faces. Ranger Dan Corn estimates around 150 folks at 14 camp this morning, with lots of activity on the upper mountain. Yesterday sounds like it was a busy summit day, with more summit visits likely today. 

Lower mountain: Ranger Dan Corn says the West Buttress trail is in excellent shape overall.  The temperatures have been cooler the last couple days, providing relief from the formerly slushy conditions. Lisa Roderick reports that most climbers are now on an early morning schedule, taking advantage of cooler temperatures. 

Frostbite Information:  The high altitude, arctic temperatures and high winds characteristic of the Alaska Range greatly increase the incidence of frostbite. Eighteen percent of the patients treated on Denali between 1992 and 2011 suffered from this form of tissue trauma. The body parts furthest from the core, including fingers, toes, ears, nose and genitals, are most susceptible to cold injury. Early recognition and subsequent rewarming are essential to minimizing the extent of tissue damage caused by frostbite. 

The two patients evacuated last night (May 30) from the 14,200-foot camp on Denali suffered extensive frostbite injuries. One of the patients sustained deep frostbite on 6 of 10 toes while the second patient exhibited similar injuries to 8 out his 10 fingers. Prevention and awareness of the initial signs and symptoms of frostbite are critical to avoiding the tissue loss often associated with injuries of this severity. 

Stay tuned in the coming days for a blog post dedicated to the prevention, assessment and treatment of frostbite... (~Ranger and Paramedic Dave Weber)

Photo of the Day

 Mik Shain's 14K patrol members
Another view of Mik Shain's 14K patrol members
Uncertain as to which image from yesterday's photo shoot best defined Denali Patrol #4, we've included two choices...'Album Cover' and 'Feats of Strength'. Expedition members include, standing from left to right in bottom photo: VIP Brian Mulvihill, VIP Dahr Jamail, Ranger Mike Shain, and VIP doc Liam O'Sullivan. Horizontal: VIP Sue Wolff. NPS Photo.

Last updated: August 18, 2016

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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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