TALKEETNA, Alaska (KTUU) - More than 800 mountain climbers have so far registered with Denali National Park for the upcoming climbing season, with the first summit attempt of the year already underway.
According to park spokeswoman Maureen Gualtieri, only two climbers were out on the mountain as of Wednesday. They're the first of more than 1,200 climbers expected to attempt Foraker or Denali this season.
"We're expecting a pretty typical season in terms of the numbers of visitors numbers of climbers on the two peaks," Gualtieri said. "Our staff is nice and consistent relative to last year so we should have the same sort of ranger coverage."
For the first time in several years, Gualtieri says the military is unable to help rangers fly their gear onto the glacier this year to help set up base camp. That means all the equipment will be shipped up on a series of smaller staggered flights. Ranger patrols on the mountain are scheduled to begin May 1st.
Recent trips to the mountain have revealed less snowpack than last year, however park officials are expecting more snow to accumulate later in the spring.