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Denali Expedition: King & Team Summit!

Thursday, June 20, 2019 - 11:09 PM PT

Well, we did it and several entities tried to tell us it wouldn’t happen! Last night the weather forecast failed to mention the building high pressure and instead called for mostly cloudy skies, snow and light wind. We got up at 5 am and there were clouds over the summit and blowing snow. At 7 am the upper mountain was blue bird with a few clouds out to the North. We got the Team going and then the 17 Camp traffic jam merging onto the Autobahn formed right in front of our eyes. It’s like driving down the highway and you’re thinking, “damn I am making great time” then 30-car pile up in the blink of an eye. We pumped the brakes and saw an opening, waited about 15 minutes in the sun and 15 in the shadow of Denali. A guided group had an issue and there were three ropes pulled over so we swooped into the HOV lane only to experience an average commute to Denali Pass.

From the pass we ascended towards Zebra Rocks, a steep rocky ridge that is comprised of white granite and a black rock, it’s name escapes me due to altitude, sun, exertion and a little CO from the stoves. After topping out in the mellower terrain above Zebra we meandered towards the Football Field with views of the Farthing Horn and Arch Deacon’s Tower formations. The group had put in a big effort and there were a few who thought they had reached their high point, only problem was that it was more mental then physical. We rolled through the small hills into the Football Field for a warm break just below Pig Hill. Once up Pig Hill we were in the cold wind on the Southside of the summit ridge as we rounded the Denali Horn. A short stint brought to the Northside of the corniced ridge and we were in calm air and warm. We topped out at 4:15pm and enjoyed amazing views of the lower glaciers and really all of North America cause there was nothing on terra firma higher than us.

It’s been a great expedition and the summit on a great day is just icing on a 20,320’ cake. Tomorrow we descend to 14 Camp and from there the weather and fatigued legs will dictate when we hit the airstrip. There’s still a lot of terrain to cover and we have to collect all our cached gear, food, trash and human waste. The full packs and sleds to the airstrip will be a rite of passage for the Team, they don’t know yet but their hearts are going to break on the last hill into the airstrip but beers and burgers heal all of Denali’s aches and pains. Thanks for following along, this isn’t the last post but we might not get to another one until we hit Kahiltna Glacier Regional airport…no fake prestige airline clubs just some buried treats in the snow for an amazing group of climbers who have been an absolute pleasure to spend the last 16 days with.

RMI Guide Mike King
& Team

Comments (10)

So happy for you all! This is amazing! Love the group photo

Posted by: Catherine Nock on

Congrats on yet another successful climb Nephew Mike King! Thanks for sharing your teams mission! Safe Travels today and every day!

Posted by: Bill King on

Whoop whoop whoop!!
Congratulations to everyone on a successful summit!! Superb!
Mark and Gaz, I’m so proud of what you’ve done, well done Lads, can’t wait to hear the stories and see the pictures.
Cheers Naylor x

Posted by: Dan Naylor on

Well done team and especially Allan!!  We have been following your journey and are so grateful for a graceful assent, summit and descent to lower ground.  You should all be so proud of yourselves and each other. It takes a team to get that far into the atmosphere!! Bask in the glow.

Posted by: Elege Harwood on

Congratulations Allan!

Posted by: Chris on

Well done mark and team I knew u would do it. Can’t wait to see u in New York. Been following the blogs and really enjoyed them thank you for keeping us at home updated on you progress. Have a safe trip down see you soon love u lots xxx

Posted by: Marie Pope on

WOW!! What an amazing achievement!  Congratulations Mark and Gaz and all the team on reaching the summit and of course not forgetting the guides who have been with you all the way. You must all be so proud of yourselves and rightly so. Bradley’s here Mark and he says “Well Done” too.  Enjoy your descent eveyone and keep safe. Look forward to hearing from you soon Mark and again can’t wait to hear all about it and see the photos. Sue and John Rogers x.

Posted by: Susan Rogers on

Congratulations!! We have been watching and cheering from Santa Fe, NM.

Posted by: LeslieG on

John and I both are so happy for you and amazed that you and the team climbed Mt. Denali. You are among the few in the world.  I’ll bet the fatigues and pains grade when you a re on top of the world with blue sky above. 
We had a full on 3 nights ago and wondered if your night was clear.  At least one of your nights will have moonlight- the same as here in Florida.
Please tell Mike King that we appreciate his blogs.  They helped us follow along and get more out of the pictures. We studied it all. 
I hope your night was peaceful and not too windy.  Did you go down a bit for that?
Have a safe trip down and enjoy all that beauty from another perspective.  Stay safe.  This adventure will stay with you all your lives.  Congratulations!!!  Wow!!!

Posted by: Stephanie Smith on

Wow!!!!!! Congratulations!

Posted by: StephanieJohn Smith on

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