|top of Denali Pass it was
snowing hard. On the last stretch back to camp at 17,000 feet, the
snow was falling and drifting so fast I could not see the person
50 feet in front of me, nor could I see his tracks in the
snow...just follow the rope! Each of us was breaking new trail
through the snow back to camp. When we finally reached camp,
everyone was so tired it was very hard to get out of our climbing
gear. I basically collapsed in the tent. My two tent mates were at
least an hour behind me somewhere on Denali Pass. After an hour or
so, I regained enough energy and got hot water and food ready for
my returning tent mates. It was an incredible day.
The next day our party split into two
groups. Three climbers returned down the mountain the way we had
come. The remaining eight climbers, including myself, prepared to
once again cross Denali Pass and begin our trek over the north
side of Mt. McKinley descend- ing to Wonder Lake and Denali
National Parkís only road out.
Catch the next issue of Agate Inn News
for the descent from Mt. McKinley.
trip up Denali Pass. The area is very
steep and has huge crevasses near the bottom of the pass. The pass
is extremely windy. About ten days before us, two Navy commanders
fell at this point and one slipped into a crevasse never to be
seen again. The second one survived and wrote about his climb for
Our climb was pretty slow and monotonous.
One step, breathe real hard three times, take another
step....being ever so careful with your footing and making sure
the climbing rope is kept taut to catch your climbing mates if
After what seemed like an eternity, we
arrived at the Football Field, 19,500 feet, a large bowl area next
to summit ridge. The area is deceptive. It appears to be a good
area for shelter if the weather catches you. But with the altitude
|those that take
shelter here do not make it through the night. The previous week,
five climbers from Asia were caught here by a storm. The rescue
was very challenging and those that did survive had severe frost
Once you make it to summit ridge the
endless view and the sky that looks almost black is inspiring. We
summitted Mt. McKinley at 3:30 pm on June 25, 1995, just short of
our 4:00 pm turnaround time. We stayed on the summit for about
thirty minutes. We took pictures of each other and I helped take
pictures for two German climbers, both age 65.
We started back down summit ridge,
keeping in mind this is the point that accidents usually occur.
You are weak, very tired and just canít afford to take a wrong
step. In our case, bad weather was quickly descending upon us. By
the time we reached the