Hard to gather in, this blustery wet last day of May of Eleven. It began with a bang, the Seal Team night ops – (thanks guys) and is now a bit closer The day before I ran in snow ampongst the pines of Baldy Peak and in five days I’ll be on the Kahiltna Glacier, the heart of the Alaska Range for an ascent of one of North America’s most fabled peaks, Denali. At 20,320 feet it is the apex of North America, thrust up by the convergence of the eastern and western pacific plates. The granite that composes the majority of Denali is exceptionally durable. Glaciers, being water and on a quest for the oceans, have carved out the south side of the mountain into an incredible maze of cirques, spires and valleys.
…. Jump forward five days….
leaving Anchorage this morning for the drive to Talkeetna. A busy day purchasing food and dialing in equipment for our intrepid group of eleven. The locals have been commenting on how dry the region has been and the increased likelyhood of summer wildfires. The mountain is drying, resulting in more exposed “blue ice”. When a mountain melts out and / or is not replenished at a sustanable level, the ancient old dense ice exposes itself. From an earth sciences perspective it is part of the dynamic environment of the mountains. From an alpinist and skier’s POV the blue ice is extra dangerous. We need to aware of the conditions especially above 14 camp.
Wet in the Rockies and dry in the Alaska Range. Being in the wilds of Alaska is always enriching. Looking forward to our 14 days on Denali. A fine adventure.