Thursday, August 9, 2012

Day 4: Move to Camp I (7,800ft)

What a day, or should I say, night. Only a couple hours after I last checked in, we woke up and packed up our entire camp—tents, kitchen supplies, food, personal gear, etc…—and loaded onto our backs and sleds. Apparently the weight per person is approximately 120-150lbs. It definitely felt like a lot… We left camp around 3am and began the journey to Camp I. Though only an altitude increase of 600ft, it is a long, rolling, 6-mile journey that often has to weave around massive crevasses.

But it’s also incredibly beautiful. The lower Kahiltna glacier is massive and stunning. It’s a frozen sea of ice that stretches as far as one can see, up to the mountains that rise up on either side and down South towards the greenery we had left behind.

Night travel on the glacier carrying 120lbs+ of gear!

The peaks of the Alaska Range are beautiful in their own right. Mt. Foraker towers to the South, often with massive lenticular clouds crowning its summit. (6 people attempted Foraker this season. None summited.) Mt. Hunter rises right at base camp and is constantly aweing with its huge avalanche slides and the tempting but dangerous Moonflower Buttress—one of the world’s most famous and epic climbs, and het mountaineering equivalent of a Siren.

Mt. Francis shows the path to Camp I, and it seems to never end as you walk North next to it. Francis, because it is not as high as Denali, Foraker, or Hunter, is often overlooked. This is unfortunate, because I hear it is a beautiful peak and fun climb.

We arrived at Camp I at around 7am, just as the sun began to start peeking over the mountains and the temperature began to rise. We’re going to relax for the rest of the day and then put a cache in at 10,300ft tomorrow early morning. 

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