Snow fell from the inside of our tent onto my face to wake me up. Condensation from our breath formed ice crystals on the walls and ceiling of the tent. When the wind shook everything, the ice rained down onto me. It's hard to sleep with ice falling on your face.

My socks, boot liners and gloves still hung from the laundry lines in the roof of our tent. I hung them up there to dry out after the day's work yesterday afternoon. The heat in the tent made short work of drying them out. But this morning they hung freezing and taunting me to try putting them on.

I moved them into my sleeping bag. First the thick red and black socks, then the ski gloves and finally the boot liners. Cold radiated from them, sucking the precious warmth from my chest and legs.

2-sleep Mike woke us delivering thermoses of hot water for morning drinks. We would have breakfast after we returned from retrieving our cache at 9700 ft.

This was going to be a back-carry day. That means we go downhill with no sleds and no loads. We'd hike down, pick up our cache and head back up to camp. Basically an active rest day.

We roped up with empty packs and quickly set off down hill. Sam lead us out, I followed with 2-sleep Mike on the end of the rope. Sam went out FAST. I loved it. Walking very quickly, I sometimes broke into a run to keep up. I love running the descents when it's safe to do so. We arrived at the cache site in less than 15 mins. By the time the other rope teams came into view we had already squared away our ropes and Mike was tossing us gear bags from the cache pile.

We made it back to 11 camp in one push, about 1:30 of walking. Much slower up hill now that we were hauling loads.

Brunch was served around 10:30. Cheesy Hash browns with bacon. I had seconds. This is a reoccurring theme. I might need to just bring a bigger bowl next time.

We had a nice long rest day. I set up my solar charger and battery to charge in the strong sun. Some other teammates charged their phones and watches. California thought he lost his watch at the cache site. Good luck getting that back. (He found it in his tent the next day.)

I slept, read more of the Well of Ascension, and organized my cache bags for tomorrow.
Brads finger tendon issue was getting worse. He improvised a splint with his spoon and that helped.

In the afternoon, some clouds moved in below us, completely obscuring the Kahiltna pass. The wind picked up and started dropping some light snow on us. We'll see how the weather holds for tomorrow.

I'm 3/4ths through The Well of Ascension. I'll be sad to finish it. Rhude Dog started reading North by Shakespeare and is enjoying it so far. We'll see what books the other climbers brought. I may end up re-reading Brandon Sanderson if we get stuck in a storm. It's so compelling.

My feet are holding up, just one blister on my right big toe. The underside of my nose is sunburned and chapped. I put sunscreen on the underside of my nose multiple times every day, but the reflected sun is real. My lips are better, I put one of my chapsticks in the tiny pocked in my sleeping bag so I can reapply throughout the night.

Overall my body is very stiff, but not really sore. It's hard to stretch in a tent or on snow. I used to do 45 minutes of yoga, lacrosse ball work and foam rolling every night. Now I can barely do anything. A Nalgene bottle kind of works as a foam roller, but it's hard to roll on it on the snow. Recovery and body work are much harder than it seems up here.

Dinner was rice and black bean burritos. Rhude Dog and I were the only climbers to add hot sauce. Good. We only have one bottle for the trip. That means it'll last longer.


Tour of 11000 foot camp, and summary of the day's activities. 

Denali WB 5-2021-7694

View from 11 camp. The face of the West Buttress with Squirrel hill in front of it. 

Denali WB 5-2021-7623

Snow geese flying in formation. Light snow was falling, and that's the spots you can see in the picture. 

Denali WB 5-2021-7630

Snow geese flying over the ridge line for perspective. 

Denali WB 5-2021-7674

Me with a little ice in my beard and sunscreen caked on my cheeks. 


Denali WB 5-2021-7678-1

.....And Peggy. Our guide after arriving at 11 camp, note she's still smiling.