Mt. McKinley, Northern View

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.

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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 Readerís Digest.
     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 they slip.
     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 and winds,
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 bite.
     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