Flight from Talkeetna (Alaska) to Denali basecamp on the Kahiltna glacier
This is my first trip report so show some tollerance
Airline: Talkeetna Air Taxi
Destination: Denali Base Camp
Flight duration: ca 30-40 minutes, too short
Aircraft: Turbo Otter
Year build: 1954
I like flying and I like climbing high mountains. Climbing Denali gave the opportunity to do both. I joined a commercial expedition to climb Denali and this gave me the opportunity to flight and old aircraft type which is new type for me. The day started actually on the 19th of May when we intended to fly from Talkeetna to Denali basecamp. Bad weather at Denali did not allow our flight to take place. So I slept at the airport in my -40 F/C sleeping bag and hoped for better weather the next day. The weather turned and we packed our stuff (food, gas, climbing stuff etc.) and the ground crew and pilot started to load the airplane a 1954 build Turbo Otter DCH 3. We a group of six started the boarding process. I made sure I got priority boarding with my Talkeetna Air Taxi Senator status
(i.e. I ran faster than the rest of the group) to ensure I could sit next to the pilot.
Details of manufacturing details, note the inscriptions
The pilot briefly reviewed the safety instructions by mentioning that the emergency exits were blocked by our gear and food for 30 days. Interesting fact was that the aircraft has an emergency exit on the top of the aircraft. The plane itself was a 1954 build aircraft updated at regular intervals. Last adaption occurring to the pilot was installation of modern navigation equipment.
We were the third plane in line for take-off all were heading to Denali basecamp. Talkeetna is surprisingly busy with lots of bush planes shuttling tourists around the Denali regions and scenic flight around Denali. I started to hate these scenic flights during my climb as they destroyed the remote feeling.
All 3 planes heading for basecamp flew alongside each other (any idea why not simply after each other?)
So I had a seat next to the pilot so all I had to do was enjoy the flight and prepare myself for 3 exciting weeks with only 2 pair of socks and the cold. Thus I enjoyed the views.
After a 30 to 40 min flight we landed uphill the plane turned around to face downhill we got out and quickly unloaded our gear.
Denali Basecamp Airport.
I didn't summit Denali. I turned around ca. 350 meters (ca. 1000 feet) below the summit due to fear of frostbite (had this before at around 7200 meter in the Himalayas) . This 350 meters btw would have been another 4 hours of climbing so I can’t really claim I got close. I still enjoyed the trip but next time I would either do it solo or with friends and not join a commercial expedition. I also enjoyed the flight back.