After a glacier-landing on the Base Camp airstrip lined by crevasses, you and the team will shuffle your bags uphill toward the tent village of Denali Base Camp. It feels a bit like a dream when you first arrive, surrounded by massive and enchanting peaks.
The most important rule of camp is respect the Base Camp manager—she can decide your fate on whether you get out of there first or last when your trip is over. Observe her hours of 8 a.m.-8 p.m.! Perhaps bring her a fresh snack from dry land—fruit and avocados seem to go over well.
Before you lose the sun, dig your Base Camp cache hole in the area designated by NPS. The snow at Base Camp can melt out a lot, or it can snow meters. Dig your cache hole deep enough to satisfy NPS requirements, line the perimeter of the hole with wands (this will help when you dig it up), and after burying your cache, heap more snow atop the hole to guard against melt. Lastly, mark your cache with a very long cache pole or wands taped together, so your cache flag flutters a good two meters above the snow.
It's an extraordinary place. After you've hauled loads to your camp, take a minute to try to wrap your head around the fact that the summit of Foraker, which is just across the Kahiltna, rises two vertical miles above the glacier!
Once you’ve set up camp, grab a slice of cold pizza from Mountain High Pizza (which you smartly brought onto the glacier with you for dinner) and enjoy the alpenglow hitting Foraker and the surrounding peaks. Take a deep breath. After all the training and packing and planning, you’re finally here!