Saturday, 30 June 2012

Denali Memories

I've been thinking a lot about Denali (Mt. McKinley) these days.

Friends of mine are holidaying in Alaska right now and posting lots of photos on Facebook.  They're obviously having a great time!

We've also recently heard from Brian, one of the friends who summited with us on our 1993 Denali trip. He's taken on the monumental task of scanning all his slides! He's into the 1990's now and emailed us a few photos for a trip down memory lane.

Andrew and I did our first trip to Denali in 1990. At the time, we claimed it was our one "trip of a lifetime" -- which is laughable now considering all the climbing expeditions we've done since. It's also humorous to think how naive we were! We went from training climbs around the Icefields & Mt. Athabasca area where the crevasses are relatively small, to suddenly being on a glacier where the crevasses were the size you could fit a car or small house in. A warm spring that year meant avalanches were coming down 24 hours a day. The route we were trying was on the East Buttress -- definitely not the standard route -- and we didn't see another person once we left our base camp. To say we were overwhelmed during this first trip is somewhat of an understatement.

In 1993 we gathered a couple more friends to go with us and climbed the West Buttress which is the route the majority of Denali climbers take. As the saying goes, even that's "not just a walk in the park!" But we made it and had a beautiful clear summit day.

Here's just a few photos that have been scanned for various slide shows over the years.
After a training climb on Mt. Andromeda . . . This photo made the back of the MEC catalogue.

View of Denali from Talkeetna. It is a BIG mountain!

High point on the East Buttress. You can see our camp near the top of the photo.
We turned back due to avalanche hazard.
We have learned to travel lighter these days!
A "Loo With a View" at the 14,000 ft camp on the West Buttress. Looking at Mt. Foraker.
Brian Shack and Andrew McKinlay -- just a little storm.
Above the clouds. 

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