Climbing To The Top.......from page three

off the slope and dragging us into the crevasses below. 
The section from 14,000 to 16,000 feet is steep enough to warrant a permanent fixed rope.  On day six we took our position in the endless stream of climbers clipped into the fixed rope moving our gear to 16,000 feet.  By the time we got to the ridge, I was exhausted.  We cached our gear, returned to 14,000 feet for the night, only to repeat the climb to 16,000 feet the next day.
At 17,000 feet, high camp, we dug snow pits to build forts around the tents.  I didn't understand the need for the "fort" until a storm hit that

night with 100+ mph winds and three to four feet of snow.  We spent the next two days battling the storm. 
At this altitude, you can really feel the affect of the thin air.  With each step forward it is necessary to take a breath.  With less oxygen it is important to carefully focus on each step.  The higher you climb, the harder it becomes to eat and sleep.  It is extremely important to keep hydrated.  You have very little energy and it is hard to consume enough calories to prevent loss of body fat. 

When the storm finally cleared, we gathered our gear and climbed Denali Pass to prepare for our attempt at the summit from the North side.  After ferrying half of our gear over Denali Pass we were poised for our attempt to climb to the top.
Catch the next issue of Agate Inn News to reach the summit and descend the mountain.

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