Mt. McKinley: Hahn & Team Cache Supplies and Head Back to 11K Camp

Posted by: Dave Hahn, Solveig Waterfall | July 03, 2012
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 11,200'

And we were getting so lucky with weather to this point…  Ah well, we did our best to make use of a break in the snow and wind today.  It started, here at 11,000 ft, with a snowy and socked-in morning.  Many a team leader came out of his or her tent and then went right back inside, waiting for something better to work with.  We were up at 7… but then gave it a pass until 8 and then we took a look at 9 and had breakfast.  Things did start looking up by 10 and a few teams went for it.  We liked the trend by 11 since we were seeing a lot of blue sky above (the uppermost part of the mountain was still in cloud) and only some indication of wind here and there.  We were wearing our spikes and carrying our ice axes out of camp by 12:20.  Our intention was to carry food and fuel up and around Windy Corner, cache it and then drop back down to 11 camp.  The first hour went great.  That was spent on “Motorcycle Hill” which was far steeper than any hill we’d tackled so far on the climb.  From the top of Motorcycle, we could see winds starting to whip at the top of “Squirrel Hill” our goal for the next hour.  We topped the hill in a fairly vicious and cold breeze and pushed on into the “Polo Fields” below the end of the West Buttress.  From there, we had a good view of Windy Corner, which looked… you guessed it, windy.  We decided not to push things too far, although the team was handling everything just fine to this point.  We chose a cache site at about 12,850 ft and dug in.  The only reason for burying it all is that ravens long ago developed a taste for climber food and a talent for ripping a cache to shreds.  We couldn’t see any ravens, but by this point in the day we were seeing a lot of blowing snow and swirling cloud again.  With light packs, we made good time getting down the hills and back into 11k.  We were home by 5:30 and dining in the shelter of our posh tent by 7:00 while the storm intensified.  It isn’t a terrible storm yet, just some wind and snow, but we hope it plays out overnight and leaves us in peace. 

Your messages to the web site were passed on to us and were thoroughly enjoyed by all the team.  Thanks for the well wishes… keep those fingers crossed.

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

Camp at 11,000 feet, Kahiltna Done in the Distance. Photo: Dave Hahn

On The Map

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Daddy (Brian), I miss you and I want to go camping in that orange tent with you when you get home.  (Direct quote from Connor)

Hope you and the team had some relaxing down time and that tomorrow brings good climbing weather. Stay safe, we love you!

Posted by: Connor Bulatao on 7/5/2012 at 5:12 am

Hello Brian! I hope that you and the team have a good climb, and I have added you and the team to the chruch prayer list for a safe trip. Love, Mom Bulatao

Posted by: Mom Bulatao on 7/4/2012 at 3:45 pm

Hello to Richard,
Brrrrr…so proud of you.
Sending you warmth with prayers.
Snap a photo of the Jacaranda at the top.
SOUL, Denise:.

Posted by: denise on 7/4/2012 at 2:46 pm

Happy 4th to everyone, Hope the weather is kind to you.
Will stay warm enjoy your food and have a succesful climb.

Posted by: Sherry Jarosch on 7/4/2012 at 10:43 am

Message for Mark Wilson— Audrey says you are making great progress.  Keep going.  You are over half way there.  This is fun to follow you on your climb.  All the best.  Audrey and Val Jr.

Posted by: Audrey and Val Jr. on 7/4/2012 at 10:03 am

Happy 4th of July to Dr. Kelliher and everyone on the team! Sounds like a good day to hunker down and enjoy each other’s company. Hope the weather doesn’t pose too much trouble going forward, and wishing everyone a safe, fulfilling journey no matter what. Love, Emily and O-Track.

Posted by: Emily on 7/4/2012 at 8:01 am

Hi Mark:  We are following you with pride.  So far - so good.  We hope you are enjoying your climb and hopefully you will reach the top of the world.  Keep well and safe.

Posted by: Vi and Don on 7/4/2012 at 6:54 am

Happy Fourth of July.  Hope that the weather breaks for you but sounds like you’re still doing well.
Will keep sending those good weather thoughts your way.
Ravens! Didn’t know they could be so nasty. Stay safe.

Posted by: Carolyn on 7/4/2012 at 6:05 am

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