Field Report, May 12

May 12, 2015 Posted by: Maureen Gualtieri


Mt. McKinley

Mt. Foraker

Registered Climbers



Climbers Currently On Mountain



Completed Climbs



Number of Summits



Summit Percentage



The Walter Harper Talkeetna Ranger Station also maintains a daily automated statistics phone line, so if this blog is lagging behind and you need up-to-date registration numbers, call (907) 733-9127. 

Weather Report

Skies are clear, with all three big summits visible from Basecamp this morning.  Winds were calm overnight, and as of 8:00 am today, wind was at 3 mph out of the east, with a temperature 18 F (-8 C).  

In the last 24 hours at 7,200-feet:
Low temp: 14 F (-10 C) 
High temp: 27 F (-3 C)
No precipitation has fallen in the past 24 hours.

National Weather Service forecast  

Ranger Update

NPS Denali Patrol #1 (Erickson, Westman, 2 PJ's, 4 VIPs) reached the 14,200-foot camp yesterday afternoon after a long day of trail-breaking through deep snow. They intend to spend the morning resting and re-hydrating, before getting to work constructing the communications tent. 

NPS Denali Patrol #2 (Shain + 3 VIPs) left their 7,800-foot camp this morning, and will climb to the 9,400-foot 'Safe Camp' on the Northeast Fork of the Kahiltna Glacier.  If snow conditions allow, the patrol plans to ascend to 14,200-foot camp via the Lower Rib route.

NPS Basecamp Patrol #1 (Robinson + 4 VIPs) arrived at the Kahiltna Glacier yesterday, and immediately commenced set-up of the NPS Basecamp operations.   

Route Conditions

As reported in yesterday's Field Report, both the lower glacier and upper elevations of the mountain received considerable new snow during the past storm.  Following several feet of new snow coupled with windy conditions in the Alaska Range, there have been several reports of large slab avalanches in the Ruth and Kahiltna Glacier areas. The most recent was a large avalanche (SS-AFu-R5/D4-I) which took place on the West Face of Mt. Dickey above 747 Pass. The crown was between 7,500 feet and 8,000 feet.  (See News Release for more information)

In climberspeak, per ranger Dan Corn, "this avalanche was triggered from a shallow zone of the slab but had an average crown depth greater than 1 meter and propagated through and over crevassed terrain and small ridges. This shows that the weak layer is spatially consistent based on the distance in which propagation occurred. The weak layer is the old snow/ new snow interface with the dense slab from the most recent storm/ wind cycle making up the slab. This could vary throughout the Alaska Range but is thought to be fairly widespread.  Use caution and good safe travel protocols when traveling in and under avalanche terrain as we learn more about this avalanche problem."

Avalanche debris

Photo of the Day

Image of climbers in snow field above avalanche debris

The two rescued climbers can be observed on the plateau  (NPS Photo/Tucker Chenoweth)

 Image from helicopter of avalanche debris

Image taken from park helicopter showing widespread range of avalanche debris on Mount Dickey (NPS Photo/Tucker Chenoweth)

Climbers standing in snow field above avalanche debris

Last updated: July 21, 2015

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PO Box 9
Denali Park , AK 99755


907 683-9532
A ranger is available 9 am—4 pm daily (except on major holidays). If you get to the voicemail, please leave a message and we'll call you back as soon as we finish with the previous caller.

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