In late June 2015, the CompassData Summit Survey Team, led by CompassData Account Executive Blaine Horner, embarked on a mission to survey the summit of North America’s highest peak, Mount McKinley (Denali). The Survey Team was made up of four experienced climbers including Blaine, Tom Heinrichs (University of Alaska Fairbanks), Rhet Foster (CompassData) and Agustin Karriere (CompassData). The success of this expedition is the direct result of the teamwork demonstrated by the four man crew.
The team arrived in Talkeetna, Alaska on Monday, June 15th. After taking a day to meet with the National Park Service, stage equipment and personnel, the team flew to Camp 1 (7,800 ft.) on the Kahiltna Glacier. Over the next two days the team worked to move gear and supplies to Camp 2 at 11,200 ft. Two more days were spent moving gear and supplies past “Windy Corner” to Camp 3 at 14,200 ft. This is the Advanced Base Camp and the staging point for getting on the upper mountain. The traverse up to fourteen camp required some technical mountaineering over steep terrain and exposed cliff faces through windy conditions.
Camp 3 was used as an acclimatization camp where the team spent a handful of days helping ensure they were fit to continue the expedition. During this time the team systematically checked equipment to confirm everything was in working order and functioned correctly in sub-zero temperatures. After the team was ready to continue, they moved on to Camp 4 (High Camp) at 17,200 ft. to cache gear and manage logistics for the summit attempt. This value will be essential for the calculation of a more accurate summit elevation.
On June 30th the team made their way safely down from Denali. The survey data will be processed by CDI Technical Director Philipp Hummel in conjunction with our partner at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, Dr. Jeff Freymueller, PhD. The newly established elevation value will be announced and published by the USGS and NGS sometime in late August. Stay tuned.