Field Report, July 4 - 10, 2021

July 10, 2021 Posted by: Maureen Gualtieri
Though not our favorite option, this season we will be producing weekly Field Reports (as opposed to almost-daily) to provide updates from the Alaska Range.  Please tune in each week for conditions reports, statistics, images, and news from the mountains. 


TODAY'S STATS - 7/3/21


Mt. Foraker

Registered Climbers



Climbers Currently On Mountain



Completed Climbs



Number of Summits



Summit Percentage



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


Mountain Weather

There aren't any climbers on the lower mountain today.  At 2 PM on Saturday the 10th, the NPS rangers and volunteers at 14K report:  "We are full whiteout and very little air movement. Vis is probably less than 100 m.  Light precipitation."

Weather station telemetry data from 7K and 14K are transmitted hourly to the MesoWest website, including temperatures, wind speed, wind direction, snowfall, and solar radiation. compiles a Denali Weather page, complete with links to the MesoWest data, the NWS Denali Climbing Forecasts, as well as links to FAA webcams. 

Click here for the National Weather Service Denali Climbing Forecast

Click here for the FAA webcam on the Kahiltna Glacier

Ranger Reports

West Buttress / Denali conditions

As the statistics above indicate, the 2021 climbing season is nearing an end.  In addition to the NPS patrol sitting in a whiteout at 14,200-foot camp waiting for the skies to clear and Andy the helo pilot to come slingload camp gear away, one team of two American climbers remains on the upper mountain (16K or 17K).  Everyone else has gone home (or possibly still sitting at the Fairview Inn). 

This past week saw lots of new snow -- over a foot -- at most mid- to lower elevations.  The temperatures remained fairly cool for this time of year, with the new snowfall covering up the mashed-potato-like snow bridges on the lower mountain.  

No new accidents or incidents occurred since last weekend, with fingers tightly crossed for a quiet week ahead.   

NPS 14K Patrol #5 + #6 (Dossin/Beren)   Snow and clouds all week meant that no slingloads of gear have come off 14K camp yet, but the crew is ready and waiting. Most all of camp is packed up in nets or neat piles, awaiting a visit from the high altitude helicopter.  Andy the pilot will ultimately sling approximately 12 loads of gear down to 7,200 feet with the help of Patrol #5 and a couple rangers from Talkeetna.  The gear will then remain at Basecamp until the US Army Chinook teams return later this week, Wednesday perhaps, to help with the final camp extraction mission.  (DENA Ranger Galen Dossin, PJ Dan Stikeleather merged with DENA Ranger Jake Beren, VIP Cody Lockhart, VIP C.J. Malcolm)

Denali Rescue Volunteers logo

Learn more about Denali Rescue Volunteers, an organization that helps make Denali National Park and Preserve's mountaineering operations whole! Thank you for all that you do each season, from helping equipping our volunteers, housing them before and after patrols, and supporting our recruitment process! 

Photos of the Week

A camp in shadow peers out at an alpenglow peakMidnight at 14,200 feet.  The three peaks from left to right: Mount Hunter, the Shadow of Denali on the distant horizon, and Mount Foraker catching the last of the evening sun rays.  (NPS Photo / Chrissie Oken)

Ranger peers out of a helicopter in flightHeaded out.  (NPS Photo/Sam Aaronson)

Two smiling rangers, each with a box of pizzaThanks George!  Ranger Joe's dad surprised the ranger staff on Saturday, July 10 with a couple Mountain High Pizza Pies delivered to the station to celebrate the 70th Anniversary of the first ascent of the West Buttress of Denali on July 10, 1951.  The historic trailbreaking effort was achieved by Bradford Washburn, Jim Gale, Bill Hackett, Henry Buchtel, John Ambler, Melvin Griffiths, Barry Bishop, and Jerry More.  The pizza-eating effort was led by Rangers Chelsie Valetta and Mik Dalpes, pictured above.   (NPS Photo / Maureen Gualtieri)

Two climbers have a conversation on a rocky ridge overlooking a vast braided river valleyDenali National Park mountaineering rangers love it when they get to use their their unique skills in other park missions.  This week Rangers Travis Baldwin, Chelsea Bomba, and Chrissie Oken went to Polychrome Pass in the heart of the park to remove several golden eagle nesting deterrents under the instruction of Denali's Avian Biologist Carol McIntyre. In ths shot, Travis and Chelsea discuss feasible access points for one of the nests.  For the safety of the birds, the deterrents (large marine buoys) were placed in two traditionally occupied eagle nests late last winter to discourage nesting during a prolonged period of heavy construction and gravel dumping to repair a slumping park road.  (For Mik Dalpes' blog story about placing the deterrents, go to: My First Mission (NPS Photo / Chrissie Oken)

A helmeted ranger checks his rope rigging systemRanger Travis Baldwin does a systems check before rappelling down into a (vacant!) golden eagle
nest above Polychrome Pass.  A curious golden eagle did observe the ranger's activities that evening, floating on thermal winds above their old favorite nesting sites. (NPS Photo / Chrissie Oken)


Last updated: July 10, 2021

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Contact Info

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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