Meet the Military Helicopter Crew That’s Helped Set Up Denali Basecamp for 4 Many years

Virtually yearly because the late ’80s, an Military unit hundreds up helicopters with gear to drop off on Denali. Their efforts assist the Nationwide Park Service and climbers alike.

An organization of CH-47F Chinook helicopters, generally known as the Sugar Bears of Fort Wainwright, helps haul gear and arrange basecamps for the Nationwide Park Service. The rangers oversee the climbing season on Denali.

Final week, the Military reported that two helicopters ferried roughly 7,000 kilos of substances to the Kahiltna Glacier. This gear shall be used to create two base camps on Denali. The drop-off consists of medical provides, tenting tools, and different requirements for the climbing season.

Meet the Sugar Bears Troopers

Sugar Bears
Troopers from Bravo Firm, 1st Battalion, 52nd Aviation Regiment, also referred to as the Sugar Bears, pose for a bunch photograph with Nationwide Park Service workers on Kahiltna Glacier; (photograph/US Military, Eve Baker, Fort Wainwright Public Affairs Workplace)

“It helps these guys to have the ability to come to the park and practice at altitude,” Ranger Joe Reichert stated. “They do some stuff within the japanese Alaska [mountain range] group on Deborah, Hess, and Hayes, however then they’ll come right here and go to 14,000 and 17,000 toes on Denali. So it’s form of an alternate — they get their coaching, and we get some assist yearly,” continued Reichert.

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Glacier Journey

Army Denali
A CH-47F Chinook helicopter parked on Kahiltna Glacier; (photograph/U.S. Military, Eve Baker, Fort Wainwright Public Affairs Workplace)

The Sugar Bears have offered vital assist and help to the Nationwide Park Service all through the partnership. For instance, in 2018, a sightseeing aircraft tragically crashed right into a mountain close to the neighborhood of Denali, and the Sugar Bears had been fortunately obtainable to help within the restoration mission.

CH-47F Chinook on Ruth Glacier, AK
The shadow of a CH-47F Chinook helicopter on Ruth Glacier because the troopers return to Talkeetna; (US Military photograph, Eve Baker, Fort Wainwright Public Affairs Workplace)

Presently, the crew is staged in Talkeetna and is flying into Denali Nationwide Park every day this week. “[Crews are] coaching at totally different altitudes with weights onboard to fine-tune our expertise and efficiency planning for these helicopters,” stated Mission Coordinator Chief Warrant Officer 4, Francois Collard.

Mountaineers on Denali

Denali base camp
Troopers transporting gear for the Nationwide Park Service to a close-by mountaineering base camp; (photograph/U.S. Military Eve Baker, Fort Wainwright Public Affairs Workplace)

The unit will stay within the space for the following few weeks and return in August 2022 to retrieve all of the gear from the rangers.

The Sugar Bears’ decades-long relationship with the Nationwide Park Service in Alaska is useful to each models. Due to this, they’ll proceed to work collectively as climate and funding enable.

Denali dangerous peak
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