Mt. McKinley: Hahn & Team Carry to 16,200’

Posted by: Dave Hahn, Zeb Blais | July 09, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 16,200'

Monday, July 8, 2013
One of our better weather days of the trip.  That said, it is snowing good and hard now at our 14,200 ft camp, but that isn’t so important (yet).  It was clear and calm this morning when we were interested in starting our carry up onto the West Buttress of Denali.  By far, this was our coldest morning.  We were guessing it was -10F or thereabouts.  We started climbing at a quarter to 10 this morning in bright sunshine.  The route goes uphill in a hurry out of 14 camp and we made steady progress toward the “fixed ropes”.  This steep and intimidating section of the climb was tough, as expected.  Hard ice, 45 degree angles, unrelentingly uphill and airy feeling… but it was also spectacular when one was able to look up from the hard work for a moment to see the lower Kahiltna Glacier or Foraker across the way or the clean granite of Denali all around us.  We reached the ridge crest (16,200 ft) at 2 PM and took a welcome break, gazing down at the Peters Glacier and the Northwest Buttress on the “other” side of our perch.  Thus we broke Max’s altitude record, which was momentous.  But his was the only one to fall as our other climbers had previously topped mountains like Kilimanjaro and Aconcagua.  All noted that 16,200 on Denali felt a little different than similar heights on other mountains.  We cached our supplies and descended in gathering cloud and murk.  We’d reached 14 camp by 4:30 and took a few hours to kick back and drink water before dinner.  Tomorrow is a rest day, and a welcome one after four hard days of moving and acclimating to uncomfortable new altitudes. 

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

Ascending the fixed lines on Mt. McKinley above 14,000ft camp.  Photo: Katy Laveck Looking down to camp at 14,000 ft on Mt. McKinley. Photo: RMI Collection

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Way to go guys!  Sounds like conquering the headwall is an accomplishment all in itself.  Something to celebrate in the POSH with your melted ice cocktails!!
Enjoy your very much deserved rest day, saving some energy and positive mental fortitude for the next leg.
Thanks Dave for describing the day so vividly!

Posted by: judychristofferson on 7/9/2013 at 10:08 am

Wow, Max!  We are so impressed.  Take care, climb safely and we are praying for good weather.  Love, Grandma & Grandpa

Posted by: Bill & Caryl Reese on 7/9/2013 at 8:18 am

Max - My bad - you now reign over me by 450’ and surely that number will rise quickly.  I gladly cede the title to you! Way to go! You now have the King of the Mountains polka dot jersey.

Posted by: Margaret Reese on 7/9/2013 at 8:08 am

Max - Congratulations! Good on ya - you’re gonna beat my record and I can’t tease you anymore. 
Chris Froome is in yellow at the TDF just as Phil and Paul predicted.
Work hard play hard!  Great job team!
Climb on…

Posted by: Margaret Reese on 7/9/2013 at 7:00 am

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