On their way back down to Kantishna after the Carpe climb, Dupre and Marceau were informed by park staff that Denali National Park Service glaciologists are observing surging by the Traleika Glacier. A surge can cause a glacier to move over 1-meter a day, creating behind heavily crevassed areas. Now THAT explains why the duo witnessed so many signs of glacier activity during their travels - making for frayed nerves at the end of glacier travel days.
Apparently this surge occurs on a 50-year cycle but the event was late, the last surge occurring over 60 years ago. Scientists are not sure why the delay, but are monitoring it attentively. Last time this occurred in 1956-1957, the Traleika triggered the iconic Muldrow Glacier to surge too. This resulted in heavily crevassed terrain which closed the classic North side approach to Denali for mountaineers for a few years. So far, the evidence only shows the Traleika surging, but time will tell whether the surge will propagate onto the Muldrow too.
The team is now collaborating with the experts by providing images and observations of the size and location of the crevasses and seracs they encountered. This will help them determine if the main surge front has advanced and left a zone of extension behind it.
How cool is that?!?! WOW!!!! Nature sure is humbling at times!
Image: Aerial shot of Traleika & Muldrow glaciers intersecting at the base of Tatum Ridge.