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Monday
Jun242013

Kahiltna Base Camp Patrol

Our friend Tucker Chenoweth is a climbing ranger for Denali National Park. Rangers can take volunteers with them on backcountry patrols. Tucker invited Cathy and I to join him for a week-long patrol at Denali Base Camp. We helped around camp: digging snow, answering the radio, loading planes. We were also available hands in case of a rescue. Our main duty, though, was keeping Tucker company. 

Kahiltna Base Camp is a mercurial international city of tents, where climbers prepare to climb Denali, or wait to fly out after attempting Denali. 


Tucker and Joe Reichert (standing) with the Denali rescue AStar B3 helicopter that flew us in. These helicopters can lift people from the summit of Denali. They've also landed on the summit of Everest. But they're oddly anticlimactic compared to the Harley Davidson on wings–the Beaver and Turbo Otter–that typically fly climbers to Base Camp.  

 

These Chinooks were picking up Army Rangers. A Chinook would probably be cool to ride in.


Tucker and Cathy in the ranger's Base Camp tent. The yellow hose is for heat.  

 

Tucker and Base Camp manager Lisa Roderick. Lisa has spent over two months at Base Camp each year for 13 years. The tent is an Arctic Oven made by Alaska Tent and Tarp. 


Cathy crust skating up the Southeast Fork of the Kahiltna Glacier toward Mount Hunter.

 

Base Camp has incredible cragging on the lower portion of Mount Frances.

 

Cathy top-roping a 5.10+ finger crack.

 

Cathy leading a splitter 5.9 crack.

 

Tucker trying to escape from a 5.9 chimney. 

 

Cathy carving buttery corn off Control Tower. 

 

Anchorage Denali guide Dusty Eroh drinking a Peeber and burping lenticulars.

 

Base Camp is constant entertainment. 


Base camp socialites. The base camp crew and ice-core scientists who were taking a break from drilling the summit plateau of Mount Hunter.