The move from 11 camp to 14 camp (camp 3) is tough. It’s almost a thousand meters ascent over Motorcycle hill, Squirrel hill and around the Windy Corner. Motorcycle hill is steep and rockfall danger in Windy Corner is pretty much the only reason we have to carry helmets on Denali.
We didn’t use snowshoes above 11 camp, switching to crampons instead. We moved in the same rope teams of 3, sleds behind us. We switched back to “normal” daytime for moving too, since with the altitude the heat wasn’t so bad anymore.
Motorcycle hill looked quite intimidating from below, steep with some big crevasse cracks. Getting on top isn’t much respite though, as then comes the strong winds and the climb up Squirrel hill. The Polo Field is longer than it looks too, and then you’re at Windy Corner where things get tough (and you helmet up for rockfall). The hardest bit of it all is that because both the climb up Squirrel hill and around Windy Corner are traverses, the sleds are unclipped and they drag sideways, which is really straining.
Once around the Windy Corner though it gets much better with more mellow slopes and the trail curving gently around gargantuan crevasses up to 14 camp. The first time there load carrying just remember that you’ll have to climb the whole thing again the next day for moving camps, with a heavier load too. Does it feel good to finally roll into 14 camp and see the snow fortresses all around (built to protect tents against storms).