Denali Training and Gear Check

This morning was our last training hike before we leave.  Round trip was 10.2 miles in about 6 hours.  The hike is only a 1,438 foot elevation gain, but we work hard during the hike.  Unlike on Denali where it’s just a slow grind, we usually move pretty good on our training hikes.  We feel pretty good about the weight and the training hikes.  I’d love to get steeper, but there just isn’t anything around here where we can get steeper without the hike being short and more muddy.   The weather this spring has really sucked.  Today we had nice weather on the trip up, but then it rained, then hailed, and then rained again on us on the way down.  It seems like it has been nice on many of our weekdays, but then it rains on the weekends.  That has been pretty frustrating.  But we’re ready.  The weight has been heavy so we have the confidence that we can carry more if we have too.  Shelley dropped her pack weight to 55 lbs today, but still had a 45 lb sled.  I had 66lbs in my pack with the same sled.  Shelley has carried more and I feel like I could if I have too.  But both of those numbers are a lot of weight, especially for Shelley’s body frame.

Here’s a shot of Shelley pulling into to the top of our climb.  I beat her to the top by about 3 minutes so I got into position to catch this picture.

Over the (rainy) weekend, we went through our gear once again doing a thorough gear check.  Then we put our gear on to get used to the clothing system and to make sure everything works together.  After putting all my gear on, I tried putting on my crampons.  Things were a bit bulky, but being hot made it more difficult to put the crampons on then all the clothing.  Then because I was starting to sweat my glasses fogged up.  We won’t have to worry about getting too hot on Denali.  One of the teams reported that it was -15 at 17,200 foot camp (camp 5).  At 14,200 camp (camp 4), it was zero.  They didn’t say if that was the low, the high or what.  Does it really matter?  -15 is cold.  We are bringing our own tiny thermometer for this trip so we can keep track of the temps.

This will be our last hard training week.  Next week we’ll keep active but slow things down a bit to give our bodies a rest before the trip.  So no training climb and probably just a light 30 minute workout each day next week.

Now, we just need to avoid getting sick or getting hurt.


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