Field Report, May 14

May 14, 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

14,200 feet- The weather station is up and running at 14,200-foot camp now!  As of 8:00 am this morning at 14K, skies were obscured with blowing snow.  Camp received 7 cm of new snow in the past 24 hours. Wind was 10 mph from the east, with gusts to 28 mph.  According to ranger Chris Erickson, "it sounds like a freight train is passing over high camp" this morning.

In the last 12 hours, 
Current temp: 14 F (-10 C)
Low temp: 10 F (-12 C) 
High temp: 14 F (-10 C) 

7,200 feet - At basecamp, skies were also obscured by clouds this morning. Winds were calm, and snow was falling. A 1 cm accumulation overnight.  

In the last 12 hours at 7,200-feet:
Current temp: 27 (-3 C)
Low temp: 25 F (-4 C) 
High temp: 28 F (-2 C)

National Weather Service forecast  

Ranger Update

NPS Denali Patrol #1 (Erickson, Westman, 2 PJ's, 4 VIPs) is in place at the 14,200-foot camp.  Crucial telephone communications have now been established.  The patrol will continue to build camp infrastructure. The park's contracted A-Star B3e helicopter delivered cold-sensitive medical and other supplies yesterday, and flew out of camp with two frostbite patients. 

NPS Denali Patrol #2 (Shain + 3 VIPs) will remain camped tonight at 11,000 feet on the Northeast Fork of the Kahiltna, below the West Rib Couloir.  Assuming stable snow conditions, the patrol plans to ascend to 14,200-foot camp via the Lower Rib route.

NPS Basecamp Patrol #1 (Robinson + 4 VIPs) is enjoying pancakes for breakfast today. 

Route Conditions

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)

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."

The NPS Patrol #1 confirmed lots of crevasses at and above Windy Corner.  They report the trail this year goes high into the rockfall area between Windy Corner and 14,200-feet.

NPS Patrol #2 is the first team of the season to travel up the Northeast Fork of the Kahiltna, and they report 10" to 12" deep snow (boot high).

Photo of the Day

 Two tents in the foreground, looking out towards Mt. Hunter

Although the view today from 14,200-foot camp would be obscured by clouds and blowing snow, here is what the view looks like on a clearer day, with Mount Foraker in the distance. (NPS Photo/Coley Gentzel)

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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