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Denali Expedition: Van Deventer & Team Carry Gear to 11,000ft

Saturday, May 11, 2024

We got most of our food and fuel pushed all the way to 11 today. We went into the day with a plan to carry as high as we could and made sense. It's been quite snowy on the Kahiltna below Kahiltna Pass. We were in the sun in the morning but it looked socked in above, so we dragged our feet a bit. We didn't see much evidence of wind, and a could of teams headed up, so with some trail breaking ahead of us, we decided to go. As expected, the light turned flat pretty quickly. But we were moving along well. We caught the last team in front of us around 9,700', and trail breaking became our job. We had a chilly breeze coming from behind, and we thought we might just lose it and get some better visability around the corner towards 11,000'. That worked, and then we were only 20 minutes from camp, so why not go the distance! It was a proud effort from the team. We dropped our loads, stowed sleds on packs, and with minimal weight on us for the first time on the trip, stretched our legs out on the descent. It had snowed yet more below, so we broke trail back downhill again, but made easy work of that. It was pretty pleasant and surreal, with snowflakes filtering silently down around us, and the snow on the ground absorbing every sound, we moved through a silent, empty landscape, the sound of our own passage swallowed up. It was a long day capped with a restorative bowl of ramen and then off to sleep.

RMI Guide Pete Van Deventer


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