Wands: not just for fairy princesses, on Denali

(Although ours are looking quite fetching, no?)


These are the tops of our wands, made of lightweight bamboo garden stakes, with a duct tape “flag” on top. The extra streamers are to help us see it more easily, because they’ll move in the wind.

These wands (though princessy in color scheme) are traditionally used for navigation in sub-par conditions. The first person on the top places a wand, and then the rope team walks past it, in a line (because they are on the rope). When the last person on the rope gets to the wand they holler “wand!” and the first person places another one – so they can be followed Hansel and Gretel style (though more easily than breadcrumbs!) back down the route.

Our wands will likely mostly be used for marking caches (supplies buried under snow for contingencies) and for marking the perimeter of our camps – before setting up we will use a long pole to “probe” our potential campsite for any hidden crevasses, and then we will use the wands to indicate the edge of the space within which we know that we will be safe. And given these wands, that perimeter will have flare! 😉

3 thoughts on “Wands: not just for fairy princesses, on Denali

  1. In 1976, we used 4 ft. long wands. Before leaving 14,000 we tapped some together for added length to assure our cache would still be visible even with a deep snowfall. Usually I add reflective tape to highlight them to a headlamp but I don’t think you will have enough darkness to warrant this step.


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