Arriving on the Kahiltna glacier we quickly set up camp and just passed out before a late night (or early morning?) start. Lower on the mountain we’d start moving in the middle of the night, so we avoid getting roasted, boiled and blinded by the sun on the snow. Then again even at 3am it was bright enough that I could count on one hand the occasions I had to use my headlamp during the three weeks total.
The first day was one of the toughest. We had to carry all our own and team gear and food down Heartbreak hill from the landing strip and then back up to the first camp. The altitude difference wasn’t that bad, it was just starting first day with the full load too was harsh.
The plan was simple. Load carry to cache below next camp. Next day, move to next camp. Next day, retrieve cache from below camp. Repeat. Of course there would be rest days both planned and forced on us by the weather.
The rounds up to camp 2 (or “11 camp” as known for its altitude at roughly 11000 feet) weren’t so bad. The guides would set a comfortable pace that’d still get us back to camp with minimal exposure to the full force of the sun. I quickly got used to moving all day with snowshoes on in the rope team. I’d only used snowshoes once before, but pulling a loaded sled up the glacier forces improvement.
At 11 camp there were also some teams on skis (and splitboards) having lots of fun on the slopes. Maybe I should try that too the next time… Though I’d need to up my game a lot for that to be a realistic option. At least do a few rounds of Hidasawa under Yari… Goals for the coming winter, I guess!