Field Report, May 14, 2024

May 14, 2024 Posted by: Maureen Gualtieri

TODAY'S STATS - 5/14/24


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.

Rumor has it a climbing team has reached the summit in the past couple days, however readers will not see the statistics record that until the team walks into the Walter Harper Talkeetna Ranger Station for their expedition check-back interview,  Stay tuned...

As of today, 440 park visitors have registered for adventures in the Alaska Range backcountry (peaks other than Denali or Foraker).  Of those, 82 are currently out enjoying the park, with 358 individuals who have come and gone.

Mountain Weather

I don't see any transmissions from Gabby this morning, but the drive in from Talkeetna suggests 'severe clear' conditions on Denali at all elevations today. 

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. 

The National Weather Service publishes their mountain-specific forecast here: Denali Climbing Forecast


Conditions Reports


  • Squirrel Hill remains super icy -- teams should be prepared to place protection if need be.
  • Its been cold and windy in the 14,000-foot basin with sastrugi everywhere!
  • The fixed lines are slowly being removed from ice that formed over the winter.   The 'up' line has been excavated. 
  • The reports from above 14 camp say that the upper mountain remains icy with patches of firm snow.  Climbers should be prepared to place protection on the Denali Pass traverse, as early season climbers indicate that last season's pickets are intermittent or not at regular intervals.  The 16K ridge appears to have more consistent picket coverage.

Wilderness Research Underway on Denali


A scientist installs a tripod with sound monitoring equpment on a snowly glacier

In a joint partnership between researchers at the University of Tasmania and The Pennsylvania State University (Penn State), Tasmanian Fulbright Scholar Daniel Hackett is currently undertaking research on recreational use and wilderness experience on the south side of the Denali National Park. The research aims to inform the management of wilderness experience and associated wilderness qualities in the Denali National Park wilderness and backcountry for a wide range of users. Coming from a career background as a wilderness guide and concession holder in Tasmania (Australia), Daniel recognizes the importance of a having a diverse range of backcountry and wilderness recreational opportunities, which led to his current PhD research project.

The project aims to provide valuable data and information on the perceptions of three different and diverse user groups, by surveying the wilderness experience of individual users (including overnight users such as mountaineers and climbers, and day-trip users such as flightseers). Accompanying the surveys, Daniel has installed an acoustic recorder at Kahiltna basecamp, to provide additional data on wilderness qualities related to solitude and remoteness. This is the first time since 2002 that soundscape conditions have been monitored at climbers basecamp.

The data collected from user-surveys and the seperate basecamp recordings may benefit independant recreational users, backcountry land managers, and guiding concession holders across Tasmania, New Zealand, Antarctica and/or Denali.

Wilderness and backcountry users have the opportunity to participate in the survey via a QR link, available during check-out and CMC return at the Walter Harper Talkeetna Ranger Station. The survey only takes between 5-10 minutes to complete, and is completely anonymous. The success of this independant research relies on fellow backcountry and wilderness users taking part, so please consider taking the short survey upon your return from the mountains, and helping land managers to understand wilderness and backcountry user experiences. 

For more information contact 


Search and Rescue

A solo skier injured a knee on Saturday, May 11.  Although not a life-threatening injury in and of itself, the soloist was unable to descend from 11,000-foot camp under their own power.  Members of a ranger patrol at 11K assisted the patient with knee stabilization and pain medication, and the climber was evacuated from 11K by the NPS helicopter on Monday, May 13.      


Ranger Reports 

14K Patrol #1 (Kayes and Ramos-Leon)  The 14K ranger camp is now fully constructed, though rangers at both 14K and in Talkeetna are still troubleshooting the satellite communications network. Ranger Jake Kayes flew back to Talkeetna yesterday (Monday), serving as medical attendant on the knee-vacuation from 11K.  Jake will remain in Talkeetna to help with orientations and other ranger station operations, but heads back up for another 14K patrol in a couple weeks.

14K Patrol #2 (Davis)  Patrol #2 assisted the injured skier at 11K for multiple days (see above).  The plan seems to be to say put another day, then head up to 14K to join Kakiko and team.

14K Patrol #3 (Oken)  Ranger-Paramedic Chrissie Oken (yes, that's right - Chrissie became a paramedic over the winter!)  flew up to Basecamp today with her team of four volunteers to get West Buttress Patrol #3 underway.   Clearly the team means business:

Five climbers sit on a bench with arms crossed and legs crossed
From left to right:  VIP Paramedic Ryan Lee, VIP Carter Keene, VIP Gabrielle Antonioli, Ranger Chrissie Oken, and VIP Liz King.   (NPS Photo)


7K Patrol #1 (Bomba)   The first NPS basecamp patrol of the season flew onto the Kahiltna Glacier on Friday.  Led by Ranger Chelsea Bomba, the patrol made fast work of Basecamp construction thanks to the extended Taysom Family.  Bomba's four volunteers include Paramedic Lance Taysom on his (4th? 5th? 6th?) Denali patrol, his wife and fellow Paramedic Cami Taysom (on her 2nd? 3rd?) patrol, their daughter Jena Headley, and her husband Alex Headley.  Chelsea left the Basecamp patrol operations in the capable hands of the longtime volunteers today, flying down to Talkeetna to begin prepping for her own 14K patrol coming up next week.  


Four mountaineeris stand outside a red airplaneFrom left to right:  Lance, Cami, Jena, and Alex   (NPS Photo)

Photo of the Day

A man in a green puffy coat looks off at the snow capped peaks from his tent encampmentAs shared in the May 10 Field Report, a fulfilling expedition can take many forms, even when an injury cuts the climb short.   In this image, Pascale and Scott relax and take in the grandeur at 11,000-foot camp as they wait for an injured back to heal.  (Photo courtesy of Pascale Marceau)

Last updated: May 14, 2024

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Contact Info

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PO Box 9
Denali Park, AK 99755


907 683-9532
A ranger is available 9 am to 4 pm daily (except on major holidays). If you reach 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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