At 3:45am the guides delivered hot water to our tents. It was quite cold before the sun was up but I was warm enough in my sleeping bag. I was starting to learn the dance of getting dressed slowly as I worked my way out of the sleeping bag so I didn't get too cold. Pre-warming items inside my bag before putting them on worked very well. 

Breakfast, was toasted bagels with melted cheese and bacon.

By 5:30 we were roped out and heading up.

Today was a cache day. 2 weeks of food, fuel and some gear loaded onto sleds and packs then we headed up. Camp was at 7600 ft. We cached our stash at 9700. Clear blue skies greeted us in the morning with a couple inches of fresh snow overnight. The trail was firm that early in the day, so we went up in crampons. 4 hours of hiking, and 3 rest stops later we arrived at our cache spot. Our guides collected the group gear, and carefully counted everything going into the cache hole. Then the hole was filled in, and marked with lots of bamboo wands. They also recorded GPS coordinates just to be sure. 

On the way back down, I got to lead the first rope team. I wanted to run back down and get back to camp early. Descending quickly is fun and a great way to save time. The sun baked the glacier and we were all sweating. It gets surprisingly warm out there. The thin air at that altitude lets through more solar radiation and it can easily get into the 70's. Unfortunately the heat gave most of us serious foot problems so we had to take it a lot slower than I wanted. I hoped to set a blistering pace, but that shouldn't be literal. 

We returned to camp a little before 3 pm. California took off his boots and socks, and walked around in the snow with bare feet. He was really suffering, and I bet it felt good to numb his toes. After we squared away our gear it was time for footcare and a nap. Several of us were dealing with blisters. The heat had us all sweating in our high altitude boots. I could literally wring out my socks. As soon as we returned to camp after a big move, we got out of our boots as soon as possible. Proper footcare is super important, and keeping our feet dry is the first step after a hike. Boots off, boot liners out, socks off and get that skin dry. That's the routine. 

During the hike I ate all the lunch food and snacks I packed and drank about 1.4 liters of water.  Back at camp I ate the last spicy chai granola bar from Conscious Coffee. If you ever get to Talkeetna, I highly recommend them. I should have brought more of them with me. That was the last of my "real" food. I finished off the rest of my water as Tang. 

The clear views of the morning were obscured shortly after we returned to camp. All the mountains surrounding us were completely socked in. Snow fields gave way to clouds every direction I looked.

By 6:00pm it chilled right down. I woke up and walked around camp in base layer pants, shells, parka and a hat. Once the sun goes behind the clouds it feels like it drops 30-40 degrees quickly. I didn't make note of what dinner was that night. 

The next day we'll move up to 11 camp. We turned in early and tried to sleep.


On the move up with other rope teams ahead of us. 


Another group digging in their tent platforms. 

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Fluffy bird resting on our rope. 

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Another team moving past us while we rested.

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Sun just peeking out above the ridge line.


On the move with the sun rising and illuminating our path.

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Relaxing Rhude.