Denali Custom Expedition: Dave Hahn Recaps Summit Day, Team Returns to High Camp
Saturday, July 6, 2019 - 10:38 PM PT
We got it. Only slightly ashamed that it was such a nice day. We didn’t have to worry about frozen faces or fingers or toes. We didn’t have to battle winds. We didn’t have to watch clouds building or encroaching. A lot of the normal stresses just weren’t there today as we cruised to the top of North America and came down to high camp safely.
The stoves were burning just after 5 AM this morning and conditions were exactly the same as when we’d gone to bed… clear and calm. We hit the trail at 6:55 and did battle for two hours with the steep and intimidating Autobahn -the route from 17,200’ High Camp to 18,3000’ Denali Pass. We found the sunshine up at the pass and then worked a series of steep snow rolls to reach Zebra Rocks, the dramatic black and white rocks along the ridge line. Then it was up and over the ridge formed by the Archdeacon’s Tower and into the Football Field at 19,500’. Things got steep again as we worked 600 vertical feet to attain the summit ridge. The views were overwhelming with no real cloud in our gigantic slice of sky. Just a bit of smoke still, but that didn’t prevent our seeing mountain chain after mountain chain and about a thousand glaciers. We cruised out the summit ridge to gain the absolute high point at 2:10 PM for a very respectable 7.25 hour ascent. There wasn’t any wind to speak of at the summit and the temperature was probably 15 or 20 above… balmy. We limited our very pleasant stay of 40 minutes and began working downward at 2:50. Only one other team went for the top today and we high-fived them on our descent to the Football Field as we passed them still going strong for the top.
We put together a few hours of careful steps and reached camp at 6:25 PM. We were tired but plenty satisfied as we ate dinner and secured things for the night. Several of our gang shattered their altitude records today.
RMI Guide Dave Hahn