Field Report, May 21

May 21, 2015 Posted by: Maureen Gualtieri


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 - Everyone at 14,200-camp is hunkered down today due to high winds. At 8 am, winds at 14,200-feet were recorded at 13 mph from the east, gusting to 47 mph from the SE.  Overhead at 17,000 feet, "sounds like a freight train is passing through".  Skies are overcast, but they can see a lenticular over the summit of Denali.  There was a trace of new snow yesterday, but no new precipitation overnight. 

In the last 12 hours, 
Current temp:  14 F (-10 C)
Low temp: 16 F (-9 C) 
High temp: 12 F (-11 C) 

7,200 feet - Lisa estimates the cloud ceiling at 14,000 feet.  The morning wind speed at 7,200 feet was 2 mph from the north, with easterly gusts up to 11 mph.  No snow in the past 24 hours.  Temperatures continue to warm up.

In the last 12 hours at 7,200-feet:
Current temp: 32 (0 C)
Low temp: 27
 F (-3 C)
High temp: 36 F (2 C)

National Weather Service forecast  

Ranger Update

NPS Denali Patrol #1 (Erickson, Westman, 2 PJ's, 4 VIPs)  Rangers report a constant roar of blowing wind, with all teams expected to remain in camp today.  Yesterday, half the patrol went down to Windy Corner to work on improving the trail (see Route Conditions report below), and the other half attempted to make a carry to high camp, but were turned around by wind for the third time. The fixed lines were busy yesterday with teams making a carry to 16,200-feet, but high winds on the ridge kept the majority of groups from going any higher.  The recovery mission for deceased climber Javier Callupan remains on hold until both ground and helicopter crews can safely work at 17,200-feet.      

NPS Denali Patrol #2 (Shain + 3 VIPs) is at 14,200-foot camp.  An estimated 100 or so climbers are currently staged at 14,200-feet, waiting for a good weather window to go higher.   

NPS Denali Patrol #3 (Weber, 2 PJ's, 2 VIPs) camped at 7,800 feet last night, and will remain there tonight.

NPS Basecamp Patrol #2 (Reichert + 2 VIPs) is settled in at 7,200-feet.


A heads-up from front desk staff:  This season, the park is strongly encouraging climbers to remove all human waste from the basecamp airstrips throughout the Alaska Range, i.e. the Kahiltna, Ruth, Eldridge, and Little Switzerland.  While historically, climbers have crevassed a portion of this waste, all of it should fly out this season in CMCs.

When you check in please be ready for an increased number of CMCs for your group to accommodate this removal policy. 

Climbers are reminded to put their used CMCs in a plastic or biodegradable bag for the flight out of the Range.  (#keeptheairplanesclean  -- just kidding!)


Route Conditions

> Rangers did some trail re-routing work at Windy Corner yesterday.  Climbers are advised to follow the wanded lower trail. This more direct route has fewer crevasses and avoids more of the rockfall zone. Nevertheless, climbers are cautioned there still are many crevasses in the vicinity of Windy Corner this season.

> Reports have come in from independent teams that there are a few pickets in place on the traverse to Denali Pass.

> High winds have scoured areas of the mountain, with more blue ice appearing below Windy Corner and on the Headwall.

> The fixed lines on the Headwall are in good shape; 

Photo of the Day

 A climbing team checks in for their orientation at the ranger station
The Walter Harper Talkeetna Ranger Station is lively with climbing orientations this week.  For this expedition from Rainier Mountaineering, Inc. (RMI), the time has come to put their training and preparations to the test on North America's highest peak.  (NPS Photo)

3 Comments Comments icon

  1. May 22, 2015 at 03:28

    Hi Sheila, we are happy to convey your message to your son when he returns to Talkeetna for his check-out at the ranger station. Otherwise, unless there is a true emergency at home, I'm afraid we don't have an opportunity to track down individuals on the mountain. But our longtime mantra here is 'No news is good news!', in other words, if you are Nick's emergency contact and there was some sort of problem, you will be the first to know! If you don't hear anything from him, that probably means your son and his teammates are doing fine. We wish his team the best of luck, and look forward to hearing from them when they return to Talkeetna!

  2. May 22, 2015 at 02:52

    Please this is sheila eades I'm trying to find out which may have frostbite My son is Nick Colgin one of the 4 That are submitting the flags if you could email me back and let me know or call804-263-7564 thank you guys and girls so much PLEASE PLEASE Tell Nick colgin his mother and grandmother is with him all the way PLEASE I DON"T KNOW ANY OTHER WAY TO GET IN TOUCH WITH ANYONE

  3. May 22, 2015 at 01:34

    I'm Nick Colgins mother he is one of the 4 veterans with the flags please give Nick Colgin a message 4 me and his grandmother Let him know we love him very much. He was also in the paper and is up for hero of the year but most of all tell him we are supporting him all the way please get this message to him and let me know that he is ok 804-263-7564 E mail thank you

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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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