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Denali Expedition: Bond & Team Move Cache to 13,600ft

Chapter 6

The Bond Girls squirrel up Squirrel Hill. The Bond Girls completed quite a mission today!  We left 11,000' camp and moved a cache to 13600' in preparation to move to 14,000' Camp tomorrow (if the weather allows).   We finally infiltrated Motorcycle Hill, which has been staring at our camp since arriving here last Friday. Before I tell you about our day, I have to tell you what made the day possible.  After some weather at 11,000' Camp, serious trail breaking was needed.  All of the guides at 11k Camp worked together as a team to discuss weather and a plan to put in the route for everyone.  Climbing this mountain is not possible without teamwork (unless you’re that guy who climbed it in like 11 hours, but even he probably had some help).  We all pitch in, carry group gear uphill on shared ropes.  We set up camp together, eat meals together and make each other laugh over hot drinks when the weather outside is… well, Denali.

Back to the daily adventure! The wind rushed through our hair on Motorcycle Hill. Trying to get my full zip gortex pants on was like trying to get Church the cat from Salem’s Lot into a cat carrier for an exorcism.  Luckily Jack saved the day. Thanks Jack!  It is a pretty humbling experience to not be able to wrangle your own side zip pants!  After Motorcycle Hill we took on Squirrel Hill. Climbing Denali, you become like a squirrel, caching treats and clean socks… or the books you don’t feel like carrying any higher, deep under the snow, marked with a little flag, to come back to when you are able to collect them. Squirrels are endowed with luxurious tails, we brandish orange plastic sleds. Luckily we did not bring the sleds today.  Squirrel Hill stole Windy Corner’s thunder as goggles and summit parkas struggled to keep us warm. Pony Rider led the charge across Polo Field with a war cry, and Windy Corner was actually quite pleasant today. The weather cleared up for the team to enjoy a break at the cache and take in the majestic mountain paradise of Denali.  The walk back to camp was beautiful.  Now we hydrate, try to not smell so bad and get ready for burritos. The caches at Basecamp are a bit more celebratory. Visions of beer, cigarettes and hard liquor cheer exhausted climbers on to the finish line; the airstrip of the Kahiltna glacier.   There bush planes take you back to reality...Talkeetna, where the past three elected mayors have all been cats (two long haired Siamese and one tabby to be precise). I am grateful for the knowledge, experience, fortitude and tenacity of this team. We take on hardwork with a smile and show up for each other. Trash Man, Sled Dog, Polar Bear, Goldie Locks (formerly known as Pony Rider) Joey Dreamboat Manship and Bond-O are a few of the many nicknames this crew has, surely more will be given before The Bond Girls break into our base camp cache and get weird while we wait to fly off of the Kahiltna glacier.  

Thanks for stopping by to check up on your favorite secret agents!

Tune in tomorrow night for another installment of, “Who’s Cache is it Anyway?"

Shout out to Jessee and all of my Wyldcats! To Mom, Dad, Maggie and Lenora, I love you!


Comments (7)

Sounds like it’s time for some Katy Perry.

Posted by: Holly on

I think I may know Pony Rider/Goldie Locks.  I’m so glad ya’ll were able to get back climbing.  Love following the progress.  I can’t even imagine the views and I appreciate the teamwork.!

Posted by: Michelle on

I am in awe of every one of you, especially my great-niece, MiKayla (who has to be Goldie Locks)! The team work is especially inspiring and, I’m sure, will continue long after this unforgettable expedition ends. Cannot wait to see some fabulous photos!

Posted by: Mary McKinley on

Katie!  I am loving your post and I am right there, envisioning all the elements that make up a mountaineering life. Go girl!  I am looking forward to hearing about all the challenges, as well as all the rewards that the mountain offers to you and the Team.  I hope you have dealt her (the mountain) into the cache rewards; mountains like to get weird too.  Go 4-leaf clovers, may they do their magic! xo

Posted by: Kellie Anne Connelly on

Loved your descriptive blog post, Katie.  It gave me quite a peak into your world!  I’m very impressed with the teamwork and tenacity you all are putting forth to accomplish your goals!  I hope the weather will be suitable for climbing in the next few days! Squirrel Hill and Motorcycle Hill - Hah!  So you!
Go get ‘em Bond Girl and be safe!


Your ever increasing comical nicknames must serve as actually a “pick-me-up”, albeit only temporarily, during your cold and strenuous daily activities! Kudos to you all. Looking forward to your next light twist recording during the next hurdle!

Posted by: Roger Coffey on

Did I not post a pic of a squirrel crossing on your fb page a couple of days ago?  Somehow in the recesses of my brain I knew a squirrel crossing would be important!  I enjoyed your well written blog entry!  Glad to read that things are moving forward and that your sense of humor is intact!  I can only imagine the views you are witnessing!  Stay warm!  The teamwork is heartwarming in itself!  Love, Mom

Posted by: Sheila Forsyth on

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