Featured Post

My Expedition Vehicle & Trailer

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Climbing Mt. McKinley (Denali) in May, 2005 - Part 5

May 14th

This was the hardest day for me even though we had cached a lot of food and fuel up past Windy Corner the day before. I had trouble sleeping at night, feeling as if I was suffocating. This was due to a low heart rate while asleep and not getting enough oxygen into the body (APNEA). The drug Diamox helps with this by speeding up the heart rate.

After caching some emergency provisions at the 11K camp site, we had to haul all remaining gear up to the 14k' camp, packs and sleds loaded up. It was a 7 hour slog and upon arrival we immediately started work on building a strong camp. At this camp the winds can easily exceed 80 MPH and inexpensive tents (Sierra Designs) are rapidly shredded. Even with a good tent a well-built wall of snow blocks adds a lot of protection.

The climbing rangers Gordy and Brian as well as some of the French team came over and helped us build a camp in record time. In mountaineering it is really good "karma" to pitch in to help others as you never know when the winds of fortune will change. 

Gordy and Brian brought over two very slick snow saws for cutting ice blocks, much better than what we had! It is all about having the right tools.

In this camp we built a deluxe kitchen area to shelter us from the elements yet provide plenty of room for cooking and company. We did this by digging a pit with snow benches and using the snow blocks to create walls. Then we set up the Megamid tent to be a roof.

It seems a bit small from the outside...

...but inside it was very roomy and the trapped heat from the stoves made it very cozy

May 15th 

One week on the Mountain!

We slept late, ate and then went to 13,500' to retrieve the cache of food and gear. On the 16th we planned to carry food and fuel up to 16k and cache it as backup for our summit attempt.
Life at 14k is pretty interesting considering that you are about as high as most other big mountains in the US (Rainier, Shasta, Whitney, etc.)

The view from my tent

Hackysack at altitude!!

Llama rescue helicopter evacuating a climber with HAPE, High Altitude Pulmonary Edema

No comments:

Post a Comment