Field Report, May 18, 2018

May 18, 2018 Posted by: Maureen Gualtieri



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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.


Mountain Weather

Click here for today's National Weather Service Denali Climbing Forecast.  

The Kahiltna webcam will be installed as soon as weather permits, with the Ruth webcam to follow.

7,200 camp:  :  Another light snow (3 cm) overnight, bringing the recent 3-day accumulation to 19 cm. This morning, skies were overcast and a cloud ceiling visible at 12,000 feet.  Wind was 2 mph out of the east, with light gusts to 6 mph. 

In the last 12 hours:
Current temp (8 am): -1 C (30 F)
High temp:  0 C  (32 F)
Low temp: -3 C  (27 F)

14,200 camp:   Frank described a beautiful morning at 14,200 feet, with blue sky with some broken clouds overhead. Winds were calm at 2 mph out of the northwest, with mild gusts to 7 mph out of the east. They recorded only trace amounts of snow overnight.

In the last 12 hours:
Current temp (8 am): -16 C (3 F)
High temp: -16 C  (3 F)
Low temp: -17 C  (1 F)

Ranger Update

NPS Denali (14K) Patrol #1:  (Rgr Preston, Rgr Baldwin, Grand Teton Rgr Kreis, VIP Seitz, VIP Kasavana).  Plan for the day was to take advantage of the calm, beautiful day to head up to the fixed lines and start assessing their condition.  Another highlight planned was to welcome Joey and Patrol #2 up to 14K camp later today.

NPS Denali (14K) Patrol #2:  (Rgr McBrayer, VIP Desmond, VIP Martin, VIP Ramos-Leon, VIP Weinberg)  The team planned to move up from 11K to 14K today.

NPS Denali (14K) Patrol #3:  (Rgr Erickson, VIP Bracher, VIP Mock, VIP Weaver) Still in Talkeetna at press time, the patrol actually got in and airplane and headed into the Alaska Range, but were turned around over the Peters Hills due to poor visibility.

Five mountaineers sit around a breakfast tablePatrol #3 is weathered in (out?) for another day, so taking advantage of another good breakfast. From left to right: VIP Taylor Bracher, VIP Ben Weaver, wife (and former VIP) Amanda Erickson, VIP Steve Mock, and Ranger Chris Erickson

NPS Basecamp (7K) Patrol #1:  Roger and his volunteers/staff got lucky and flew out of the Range just before the weather deteriorated. 

NPS Basecamp (7K) Patrol #2:  Rangers Joe Reichert and Pat Gault are headed into basecamp with volunteers Katherine Cooper and Sarah Glaser. Their scheduled fly-in date is tomorrow, Saturday, May 18.

Route Conditions

Climbers on the lower glacier indicate ski travel is easy going.  Rangers Frank and Travis report an icy, hard-packed trail from around 11,000 feet and higher, with little or no boot penetration whatsoever.  In the 14,200-foot basin, expect 'ice sastrugi' throughout camp.  And we're going to keep this beautiful and informative photo in here a few more days, since it so accurately captures the current state of the trail:

Windswept glacier between 10,000 and 11,000 feet
Climber Samuel Miller recently returned from the Alaska Range reporting tough early season conditions. The photo above shows the wind-scoured glacier between 10,000- and 11,000-feet on the Kahiltna Glacier.  (Photo courtesy of Samuel Miller.) 


Photo of the Day

Sunrise over the Kahiltna GlacierOne of the joys of the first basecamp patrol include quiet sunrises on the Kahiltna Glacier. (NPS Photo - Francois Collard)

Last updated: May 18, 2018

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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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