Mt. McKinley: Mallory & Team Back to Camp After Retrieving Cache

Posted by: | June 27, 2011
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 11,200'

The clouds cleared last night after dinner and for an hour or so we sat in the evening light at 11 Camp, watching the cloud bank below us race through Kahiltna Pass and over Kahiltna Dome, a peak across the valley from 11 Camp. Unfortunately the improved conditions did not persist and when we woke up this morning we were back in the clouds with a light snow falling. After a quick breakfast we grabbed our nearly empty packs, pulled on our gore-tex shells and goggles, and headed back to our previous camp. As is typical near Kahiltna Pass, where the weather funnels through the low gap in the mountains, the conditions deteriorated with the wind whipping snow by us. But we pushed through it, reaching our old camp at 9200’ before long.

We dug up our food bags and supplies we left cached there yesterday and loaded everything into our packs before setting off back uphill. The knowledge that our warm tents awaited us was good motivation for the team and we motored back to 11 Camp through the wind and blowing snow. When we got back to camp we found our tents starting to sink beneath the accumulating snow so we pulled out the shovels and cleared out camp from the drifted snow. Before long everything looked as it had when we left this morning. We’ve spent the rest of the afternoon hanging out in the tents. The skies have cleared a bit and the sun is managing to poke through every now and again.

We are hoping to carry a cache of supplies to 13,600’ tomorrow but the conditions are looking questionable. There are a few teams here that have been waiting for a few days to do the same thing but haven’t because of the weather. Unfortunately the forecast for tomorrow looks like more of the same, but we’re keeping our fingers crossed anyways.

RMI Guide Linden Mallory

Cloud layer from 11 Camp. Photo by Katy Laveck

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Wow!  Talk about a bucket list item. Send some of that cold weather our way.  I’ll say a prayer that the weather cooperates.

Posted by: Ric G on 6/28/2011 at 3:33 pm

Remember what Ed Viesturs says: Getting to the top is optional.  Getting down is mandatory.

Posted by: g3niusgirl on 6/28/2011 at 3:32 pm

Waiting can be so hard! Hang in there.  Sending good weather thoughts your way.  Keep up the posts.  It helps us to wait it out with you.

Posted by: John and Lorraine Lorenc on 6/28/2011 at 12:42 pm

Blog is great.  Tx for keeping us informed.

Posted by: Tom Biuso on 6/28/2011 at 9:12 am

It has been great to be able to read along with this blog to feel a little bit more connected.  Hiking down to 9200’ and then back up again sounded like a really long day!  Keep up the good work.

Posted by: Erin on 6/28/2011 at 3:18 am

This is absolutely wonderful being able to follow the progress of this Team’s climb!!! I look forward each day to reading your updates. Thank you Linden.

Posted by: Larry Swedbergh on 6/27/2011 at 6:52 pm

Just returned home to 114 degrees in sunny Tucson. Wow, what a contrast to your world! Sending good weather thoughts your way. Sounds like you have plenty of company at 11 Camp. Good luck tomorrow guys.

Posted by: Laurie M on 6/27/2011 at 6:13 pm

Linden, thank you so much for this evening’s update. It was such a pleasant surprise to hear you are all back to 11,200 safe and sound!
A postcard arrived from Alaska today…so beautiful   :-)

Posted by: laurie Colaneri on 6/27/2011 at 5:32 pm

We are praying that the weather is good enough to continue on.  If not a rest day is in order.  Thanks for the updates.  Keep up the good work.

Posted by: John and Lorraine Lorenc on 6/27/2011 at 4:18 pm

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