An expedition on Mt McKinley, Alaska
Part 5: The descent
The North Summit was reached by the Sourdough at the turn of
the century in a one-day push, an incredible feat. Unfortunately for them, i
t is slightly lower
than the true (South) Summit.
The treacherous Denali Pass, scene of numerous accidents. The descending
traverse is somewhat delicate for tired climbers. Moreover some take only
ski poles and therefore cannot self-arrest.
The camp 17000, the "last camp" on West Buttress, quite exposed to the
Time to repack my summit gear. Yes, it all goes into a Lowe Cerro Torre II !
The last picture (taken at home) shows my smaller stuff.
Joan Phelps, a blind woman from Anchorage summited a few hours after me, guided
by her twin sons Marty and Mike. The most remarkable ascent of
The West Buttress is easy but very airy. You cannot travel it if there
are high winds. Climbers have been blown away there.
Back to the 14300 camp, "Mc Kinley City".
To the 11000 camp, where I retrieved my gear.
Among the folks sledding back was a rec.climber which
Sking down with a sled is not as efficient.
I travelled by myself this time because I was confident that
the thaw and freeze cycle was strong enough so that snow
bridges would be solid.
At begining June, there is no more night at these latitudes,
just a very pure lingering light.
At the left is my last vision of the mountain (through the East Fork of the
Kahilna Glacier) before I reached the
base camp right at sunrise, after 18 days.
All photos and text Copyright © QT Luong