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Alaska Range TR

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Alaska Range Trip Report

The Red Eyed White Boys


The original plans:

Climb Foraker via the Sultana Ridge. Summit and get acclimized in the process. Rest and climb Denali’s West Rib via the NE Kahiltna fork approach.


What actually transpired:

6/2: (7000’ base camp)

Flew into the Range and arrived at Kahiltna Glacier 7000’ base camp. The evening weather forecast indicated precipitation and wind for the next 4 days. We decided not to get trapped by weather on the Sultana Ridge, so Foraker is out for now. Repacked our gear and food. We will move up the Kahiltna Glacier and acclimize at the 14,000’ West Buttress camp and make climbing decisions once there.


6/3: (9,000’ camp)

Proceed up the Kahiltna Glacier. Made camp at 9000’. Hauling the sleds and big packs was drudgery. Weather was pretty good. What’s up with that report???


6/4: (11,000’ camp)

Moved to the 11,000’ camp. Two consecutive long grueling days. Weather was pretty good again. What’s up with that report???


6/5: (11,000’ camp)

Carried half our gear to the 14,000’ camp. My head was pounding while digging the cache. Descended back to 11,000’ camp for the night. Weather was pretty good again. I’m starting to question the Ranger’s daily weather report broadcast.


6/6: (14,000’ camp)

Moved to the 14,000’. It’s great to have a shitter available instead of a plastic bag.


6/7 – 6/8: (14,000’ camp)

Two days of crap weather, but we don’t care because we need to hang out and acclimize. Hearts is the most popular tent activity.


6/9: (14,000’ camp)

Took an afternoon hike up the WB route to 16,200’. Four parties have come off the West Rib since we arrived at 14,000’, none had summited, and all had disappointing news. We decided to increase our summit chances by sticking with the WB route.


6/10: (17,000’ camp)

Packed 4 days of food and fuel and moved to the 17,000’ camp. The ridge between 16,200’ – 17,000’ is great. First sign of rock on the route.


6/11 – 6/12: (17,000’ camp)

Shit for weather. Dug the vestibule out from under 3’ of snow one morning. –10 degrees and 30 mph winds the following morning. Rationing food and fuel because we want to avoid having to descend to 14,000’ for more supplies. The Ranger’s weather report calls for high winds above 16,000’ for the next two days. Shortly after the report half the climbers at the 17,000' camp abandon their summit bids and descend to 14,000’.


6/13: (Summit Day)

Woke up to blue skies and no wind in camp or above on the ridge lines. It’s –35 degrees as we run the stove and prep for the climb. We summit at noon to warm (45 degrees) blue skies and not a breath of wind. One of the most beautiful summit days I’ve ever experienced.


6/14: (14,000’ camp)

It’s a party at our camp. Scotch, Baily’s and coffee, bacon frying in the pan, and lots of bud. The Kentucky Boys team join us in the celebration.


6/14 –6/15:

Descended back to the 7000’ base camp. The allure of burgers and beer it too strong. We arrange to be flown back to Talkeetna.


All in all it was a great trip. We were incredibly lucky by having good weather when we needed to move, making for a fast ascent. Our plans for Foraker and Denali’s West Rib will have to wait for another day.

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Congratulations! Post some picts if you when you got a chance.

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NICE TR MtnHigh!!!! It wa sgood to meet you, and thanks for sharing your story [big Grin] AMAZING summit day [Wink]

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