Alaska, North America
Mount McKinley, or Denali is the highest mountain peak in the United States and in North America, with a summit elevation of 20,320 feet above sea level. Measured base-to-peak, it is the tallest mountain on land. [Wikipedia]
|28th Apr 2007
|Arrive at Anchorage and transfer to guest house. Next day meet other climbers in expedition and meet guides. Guides check gear suitability and chat about climb.
|30th Apr 2007
|Travel in mini bus to Talkeetna then fly to Kahiltna base camp 2200mts. (7200ft) arriving at 1630hrs. Set up camp. Next day refresh glacier travel, crevasse rescue and sledge rigging.
|02nd May 2007
|Travel on snow shoes and pulling a sledge(25/30kgs) + carrying a rucsac (25/30kgs)to ski hill camp. 2370 mts (7800ft) set up camp and spent the night. 4/5 hrs. Next morning we travel upto 2800mts (9300ft) and leave a cache, then return to ski hill to spent the night.5/6 hrs.
|04th May 2007
|Travel to motorcycle hill camp 3350 mts (11000ft) and set up camp. Next morning trek back to 2800mts and pick up our cache and return. Weather gets worse so we end up spending 5 nights at motorcycle hill. 5/6ft fresh snow fell over this period with strong winds.
|08th May 2007
|Leave motorcycle hill and leave a cache at windy corner via squirrel point, then return back.
|09th May 2007
|Leave motorcycle hill for Basin camp 4300mts (14200ft) and set up camp. Next day retrieve our cache from windy corner and return back to Basin camp.
|11th May 2007
|Carry gear and food up the headwall (fixed ropes – near vertical) and leave just above the end of ropes then return back to Basin. Spend another 5 nights here as weather is bad.
|16th May 2007
|Leave Basin camp and climb headwall , pick up cache and continue along ridge past Wasburn`s thumb onto high camp arriving around 1800hrs.Set up camp and put high walls around tents to protect from very strong winds. (3 out of our party of 8 climbers unable to make high camp so return to Basin camp. Their climb is over).
|17th May 2007
|While resting at high camp 2 climbers fall approx. 2000ft ending up just about 300mts from our camp. Help in rescue but unfortunately female climber was fatally injured so helped to bring her male climbing partner back to rangers tent next to ours. Weather was too bad to get helicopter evacuation. We had a doctor on our expedition that worked with the climber all night but injuries were to severe and climber passed away early next morning.
|18th May 2007
|3 more of our expedition decided to call an end to their climb and returned to lower camp.
|19th May 2007
|With only 1 other climber still in expedition and a guide we set of for summit bid. The weather was cold and stormy but we were running out of time.We had been already on the mountain for 20days and the expedition was suppose to end in 2 more days. We climbed to top of Denali pass 5545mts but the other climber was starting to get frozen toes and fingers so we decided to go back down to high camp. Offically our climb was over. I asked a team that was camped at high camp that were hoping to go for summit in the next few days if I could join them. Their guide agreed. My other climbing partner and guide then returned to lower camp leaving me.
|20th May 2007
|Set of from high camp on summit bid. Weather a lot better than previous day. Reached summit 6194mts at 1800hrs. Took photos and video then left summit at 1830 hrs returning back to high camp then onto Motorcycle hill camp and arriving back at Kahiltna base camp 22nd May at 1300hrs. Everyone else boards small plane and leaves glacier but 2 new guide fly in to accompany my trek out and then pick up bike for cycle to sea-level. The guides have never travelled this route before and knew off no-one that had, so it was a big challenge for them also. Lucky for them they had come into base camp fresh and not already tired from 24 days of climbing on the mountain. The next day weather is bad so have to wait at base camp.
|24th May 2007
|Start trek out from base camp to Petersville road. Roped up and on ski`s the 3 of us start of. We were carrying approx. 30kgs in our ruc sacs. After only travelling about a mile down the Kahiltna glacier Becky the guide leading fell out of sight into a crevasse. We rescue her and continue on down the glacier and through the very dangerous ice fall. We ski/climb / trek for the next 6 days via, Kahilta glacier, Pika glacier, granite glacier,climbing over Exit pass, Wild horse pass, to Dutch creek , Bear creek, passing mine near Bird creek, Gold/nugget creek and finally arriving at a trail of Peter`sville road at 0400hrs on 30th May. During the 6 days we see bears and moose. When we reach the road the support vehicle is waiting with my bike and a barbecue with large steaks cooking. The first proper !! food for over 4 weeks. I eat the steaks + drank a lot of energy drinks (coke) and started my cycle to sea-level at 0500hrs.The 2 guides that had travelled with me for the last 6/7 days could now enjoy rest and travel in the vehicle.I cycled via Willow,Houston,Wasilla to Anchorage arriving at the sea at 1500hrs on 31st May. Got back to my guest house at 1600hrs pack my bike and gear, shower (1st for 31days) then meet the guides at a restaurant for dinner + drinks before heading to the airport at 2130 for a flight home. Not much time to spare.