by Whitney Kempfert, ’11
Base camp is where climbers begin their climb on Mt. McKinley. I wanted to go to experience the excitement of the climbers and life on the glacier, but I was also nervous…
Base camp is where climbers begin their climb on Mount McKinley, the tallest mountain in North America at 20,320 ft. Base camp is at 7,200 ft on the Kahiltna Glacier. Denali National Park and Preserve Mountaineering Rangers from the Talkeetna Ranger Station are camped here during the climbing season from late April until early July. It is common for tourist glacier landing flights to land at base camp so they can see where climbers begin and end their expeditions.
I wanted to go to base camp to experience the excitement of the climbers and to experience life on the glacier. However, because of the weather and the limited space on flights, it is difficult for park employees to make it up to base camp. So, I was lucky when my supervisor, Bob, arranged a trip for me. Bob wanted me to experience base camp so I would feel more confident in presenting the Ranger Program about climbing Mount McKinley.