Mount McKinley: The West Buttress, 1951
THE first six ascents of the South Peak of Mount McKinley (20,290 ft.) and the three recorded ascents of the North Peak (19,440 ft.) were all made by almost exactly the same route: Cache Creek, McGonagall Pass, Muldrow Glacier, Karstens Ridge and Harper Glacier. For half a century the legend persisted that McKinley was virtually impregnable from any other direction than the northeast.1 Judge Wickersham, who made the first and only attempt to climb the north face of the mountain (June 1903), reached an altitude of only a little over 8000 feet and later wrote: “Our only line of further ascent would be to climb the vertical wall of the mountain at our left, and that is impossible.”2 Dr. Cook, whose inexperienced but hardy party tackled the western buttress of the North Peak toward the end of the same summer, climbed to nearly 11,000 feet: “After a careful search we were compelled to acknowledge defeat, for there was no way around the succession of sheer granite cliffs.”3 Fred Printz, the famous Alaskan horsepacker for both Alfred H. Brooks and Cook, commented sadly on their failure: “It ain’t that we can’t find a way that’s possible, takin’ chances. There ain’t no way.”
Robert Dunn, who was a member of Cook’s party and later made the first ascent of Mount Wrangell, was the first to suggest that an experienced climbing team might breach the western barriers of McKinley: “I don’t think the slope we did climb would have worried an experienced mountaineer, who might succeed on the yellow wall above.”4 But Belmore Browne, who saw McKinley’s western buttress from the Kahiltna country in 1906, was not very hopeful: “I had been able to look along the southwestern end of the mountain …Throughout this whole sweep I could not see one promising route.”5 Last but not least, Hudson Stuck, in describing the Muldrow route by which he made the first ascent in 1913, stated dogmatically: “There is no other practicable route than the one they [the sourdoughs of 1910] discovered.”6
Once McKinley had been climbed, more than 30 years slipped by before the subject of any other route than the famed Muldrow Glacier was suggested again. The peak was far away and, at best, difficult to approach. The ascent was an expensive and lengthy undertaking, even by the “regular” way; and nobody seemed to wish to run the risk of possible failure by attempting the unknown—particularly when all other approaches to McKinley from north, south and west had been rated so difficult and dangerous by the early explorers. In 1947, however, the American Alpine Journal published an article by the writer, carefully appraising the unclimbed sides and suggesting possible new routes from both the north and the west.7 His knowledge of the mountain had been obtained at first hand. He had climbed the peak by the Muldrow route as a member of the Army party in 1942. He had also participated in the first ascents of both Mount Deception (11,800 ft.)8 and Mount Silverthrone (13,190 ft.), just east of McKinley, and therefore was intimately familiar with the geology and snow conditions of the range. Flights which he had made over and around the mountain on a number of different occasions, for the National Geographic Society and Harvard University, had yielded photographs that revealed, in particular, a route of ascent from Kahiltna Pass9 that looked highly feasible. Only short bits of this route are visible from the lowlands to the northwest of the mountain and from the summits of Mounts Foraker and Hunter. No part of it can be seen from the south. If it had not been noticed first from the air, many years might have gone by before a ground party stumbled on it while exploring the upper reaches of the Peters or Kahiltna Glacier.
In the fall of 1950, definite plans began to be laid for an attack on this western buttress of McKinley. Barry Bishop, of Cincinnati, and Dr. Henry Buchtel, of Denver, constituted the original nucleus of the expedition. During the winter they were joined by Dr. John Ambler, Dr. Melvin Griffiths and Jerry More, all of Denver. Equipment had been bought and final details were being ironed out when the party was increased again, from five to eight, by the addition of the writer, James E. Gale and Capt. William D. Hackett, all members of the successful 1947 cosmic ray expedition to McKinley. This 1951 expedition was sponsored jointly by the Boston Museum of Science, the University of Denver and the University of Alaska, whose president, Dr. Terris Moore, contributed his small airplane and his skill as a bush pilot—two assets which were largely responsible for the party s success. The objectives of the expedition were to make as thorough a geologic reconnaissance as possible of this side of the mountain, to carry out ground control essential to the completion of the Museum’s large-scale map of the area, and to appraise the proposed route carefully as a possible way by which Denali Pass could be reached safely and economically for purposes of research at high altitudes.
The party approached the 10,000-foot Base Camp at Kahiltna Pass in two four-man groups from opposite directions. Terris Moore flew Buchtel, Gale, Hackett and me to a smooth landing area at 7650 feet on upper Kahiltna Glacier, in four 30-minute hops (18-19 June 1951), operating from the small landing field at the south end of Chelatna Lake. His “Super Cub 125” airplane was equipped with hydraulically-operated ski-wheels, which made possible safe ski-land- ings on the snow-covered glacier after wheel-takeoffs from the gravel airfield at Chelatna.10 Thence, this vanguard of the expedition snow- shoed five miles up broad, gentle snow slopes almost entirely free of crevasses, and established the Base Camp in Kahiltna Pass at mid night on June 21st. Radio communication was set up at once with the Civil Aeronautics Administration stations at Talkeetna and Minchumina, and by breakfast-time on June 22nd a C-47 transport of the Tenth Rescue Squadron (Alaskan Air Command) arrived to effect the drop of virtually all of the expedition’s equipment. A perfect job of air delivery was completed in barely 30 minutes—a total of 2570 pounds—38 free-fall units and five parachute-loads of breakable equipment. Nothing was lost or damaged, and not a single bundle landed more than 300 yards from camp!
Careful planning, reliable radio and magnificently clear weather on June 21st and 22nd made this rapid advance possible. On June 23rd, in a miserable downpour of rain, the second half of the party (Ambler, Bishop, Griffiths and More) left Wonder Lake by pack- train with Carl Anderson.11 They crossed the McKinley River, and proceeded downstream to the mouth of the Clearwater and thence cross-lots to the Muddy River.12 The first camp was pitched in the beautiful spruce timber about a mile below the terminal moraine of Peters Glacier.13
From here, the route to the head of Peters Glacier was radically changed from that suggested in my 1947 article, because in 1949 a new and much more practical way had been discovered and photographed by Jim Gale and me on our helicopter exploration of the northwestern approaches to McKinley for the Office of Naval Research. The new route, completely avoiding the lower part of Peters Glacier, traverses the treeless upland just northwest of the base of Peters Dome, and trends southwest for 20 miles (as the crow flies) from the Muddy River campground to Straightaway Glacier. This course keeps well up out of the swampy, forested lowlands and is mainly in the watershed of Slippery Creek and the other tributaries of the Tatlathna River.
The 1951 party followed this route for the most part, detouring to the northwest for a timber camp and horse-feed on the extreme east fork of Birch Creek (2250 ft.). Late on the afternoon of June 25th, they skirted the eastern edge of Straightaway Glacier and madecamp in a morainic valley (5300 ft.) about three-quarters of a mile below the sharp main bend in the Straightaway Valley. There the pack-train left them, with minimum food and equipment for the approach over Peters Pass and the upper Peters Basin to the main base at Kahiltna Pass. The four-mile climb to Peters Pass (8000 ft.) was steep and rough over the lower part of the rock-strewn western fork of Straightaway Glacier, and the last thousand feet below the pass required zigzagging through a number of nasty crevasses. These detours probably added almost 50% to the distance.
Geologic collecting was done under Griffiths’ direction, and two key survey stations were marked so that Hackett and I could sight them at a later date. One of these was placed on the very top of Peters Dome (10,550 ft.), the first ascent of which was made by Barry Bishop and Jerry More on June 28th for that purpose.
On June 30th, exactly on schedule, Ambler, Bishop, More and Griffiths climbed the head wall of Peters Basin and joined the rest of the party at Base Camp. This ascent was made from a bivouac at about 8500 feet on the level floor of the western lobe of Peters Basin. The ridge which separates the two lobes of the basin was followed all the way to the crest of the little 10,750-foot dome at its head, there being no way to traverse directly to the left into Kahiltna Pass. Snow conditions were abominable—steep blue ice covered with powder snow and breakable crust.
In the meanwhile, the other four members of the party had made excellent headway with their survey program. June 26th had been a superb day, and we had used it well by making the first ascent of “Peak Z,”14 the massive 12,475-foot snow dome which rises three miles southwest of Kahiltna Pass, at the extreme head of Peters Glacier. This climb had been an easy four-hour snow walk, with glorious views of McKinley, Hunter, Foraker and both the Kahiltna and Peters Valleys. I still believe that the panorama from “Z” ranks with those from the tops of Mount Silverthrone and Mount Lucania as one of the three finest I have ever seen in Alaska.
On June 30th the advance party had also thoroughly reconnoitered the new route up onto McKinley, and marked it with willow wands as far as 14,000 feet in a nine-hour round trip. The snow conditions were excellent, and the weather was again perfect. The route actually followed scarcely deviated at all from what had been planned on the aerial photographs.
Terris Moore had paid a call on June 25th, dropping in quite casually with a load of miscellaneous equipment, and thereby making the highest airplane landing ever effected in Alaska. A well- marked and tramped landing-strip 800 feet long was ready for his use, and air-ground radio communication gave him additional security for safe operation at this 10,000-foot altitude.
On July 2nd, after a day of bad weather and rest, the party again divided, half climbing “Peak Z” for a final check of survey work and half descending to the cache in Peters Basin to bring up the remaining loads left there by the lowland party.
On the 4th of July, the advance on McKinley began in earnest. Since Gale, Hackett and I, who had come primarily to complete our survey work, had but ten days left before we had to fly back to civilization, the climbing plan was generously arranged in order to give us the maximum chance of climbing McKinley before our deadline. All hands packed heavy loads to the 13,000-foot shoulder, aptly christened Windy Corner; and then two more half-relays were made to bring up supplies previously cached at 11,500 feet and 12,000 feet during the past week. This accomplished, Griffiths, Bishop and More returned to Base Camp for a week of geologic work in the upper Kahiltna Basin, and the rest of the party began the attack on McKinley.
Unfortunately, after ten days of unusually good weather, a wild blizzard descended on the mountain just as the 13,000-foot camp had been established, and everyone was stormbound for a day and a half. Base Camp reported high winds and snow, mixed with rain and sleet. Windy Corner lived up to its reputation, with a gale frequently doing better than 60 miles an hour and on two occasions surpassing 90.15 However, only a single Logan tent was set up for cooking, and the party rode out the blizzard cozily in a huge double-igloo constructed by Jim Gale.
The storm moderated enough, late on the afternoon of the 6th, to permit a quick relay up to the 14,000-foot level—the limit of the marked trail of a week before. It was very windy and cold there, so we beat a rapid retreat to the warmth of our igloos and made no attempt to climb higher. The next morning dawned bright and clear, with a tremendous wind aloft (above 17,000 ft.), but it was almost calm at camp. We hit the trail again at 9.00 A.M. and made the easy mile and a half to 14,000 feet in just an hour.
Then the toil began. For a thousand feet we plowed almost straight up the slope, still on snowshoes, until the breakable windblown crust and loose snow beneath it made going virtually hopeless. With snowshoes on, it was too slippery on the crust and steep side- hill; without them, one went in waist-deep. For three hours we shoveled a trail two to three feet deep and over 200 yards long, till we got out of this miserable stuff. Then we hit a steep slope (40°) up which we wallowed crotch-deep, but with a firm base far below the surface powder. At 2.45 P.M. we reached the bergschrund at 15,400 feet, so exhausted we could scarcely even eat lunch. At 4.00 P.M., however, we set to work again. Gale and I left our packs and tackled the steep (45°-50°) ice slope above the schrund, while Ambler, Buchtel and Hackett relayed supplies up; the exasperating hill from the cache at 14,000 feet.
Whatever doubt had been entertained in some quarters about the success of this expedition centered on what would be found between 15,000 and 17,000 feet. Below and above this, even an inexperienced photo-interpreter could readily see that the going would be safe and easy.
The slope from the bergschrund to the crest of the 16,000-foot shoulder was the steepest part of the climb. It was solid blue ice with several thin layers of snow and breakable crust veneered on top of it. Each step required 20 or 30 hard whacks, and there were but few spots where the ice was soft enough to drive in a firm belay or picket. As we advanced, we left quarter-inch fixed rope all the way, to speed and secure future relays. Just below the shoulder the going got so steep and the laminated ice so treacherous that we tried to find a good route up the rocks (massive granite) just to our right. But the platforms were covered with snow, and most of the best cracks were filled with ice. After an hour of very steep rock work, we rappelled back to the snow, exhausted, and returned rapidly to the schrund down the fixed handline.
Ambler and Buchtel had returned to 13,000 feet for the night, and we were to press on up to Denali Pass as fast as possible, while they awaited the arrival of the geologic party from below. We built a small three-man igloo for shelter, excavating a narrow flat place on the lower lip of the schrund, and got to bed at 11.30 P.M., completely exhausted after a tremendous day of work.
Here we changed from shoepacs to felt boots and left our snow- shoes cached till our return, as one rarely needs them anywhere above 10,000 feet on McKinley. A furious 60-mile gale (S.W.) roared aloft all night, with the temperature at 18°. But we were warm and cozy in our little shelter and awoke at 8.30 A.M. after a good sleep—something which under these conditions would have been absolutely impossible in a tent.
The windstorm had almost blown itself out, leaving great cirrus plumes capping Foraker, Hunter and McKinley and a warm sun beating down on camp. We had a morning of rest, then took three light loads up the ropes to the shoulder. We first cut steps for an hour beyond the limit of the reconnaissance the night before, and then reached the ridge after 30 minutes of easy scrambling through steep but firm broken rocks. As we climbed, we straightened out the kinks in the trail and left fixed ropes stretching all the way from the igloo to the ridge.
At 4.20 P.M., after a bite to eat, we pressed ahead up the crest toward the 17,000-foot shoulder. As we left the upper end of the fixed ropes, Buchtel and Ambler appeared at their lower end, carrying supplies forward up the long staircase.
The final problem was solved in exactly one hour and 40 minutes. The going proved to be as good as our best hopes: steep scrambling and clambering over shattered granite and well-packed snow, in sharp contrast to the treacherous layered ice, powder and crust below 16,000 feet. The views to the northwest and south were stunning—infinitely more varied and dramatic than anything on the other side of McKinley. The Susitna lowland was all clear, so clear, in fact, that Mount Susitna and even the hills behind Anchorage were visible, 150 miles away. Hunter, Foraker and the great, winding Kahiltna lay to the south and west, and thousands of tiny lakes and winding rivers glittered on the plains to the northwest. A great gale still ripped at the summit of McKinley, which had been buried all day in a cirrus frost-cloud. Where we were, gusts ranged from 20 to 40 miles an hour, but it was unusually warm and pleasant for that altitude (25° above).
We reached the 17,200-foot crest at 6.00 P.M. and cached our loads in full view of Denali Pass, square in front of us and only half a mile away. It looked temptingly close, its ink-black slate rising menacingly against a cold grey cloud that lay behind it to the east. We descended the ridge slowly, collecting 40 pounds of, geologic specimens as we went. This is a particularly interesting part of the mountain geologically, as the ridge crosses the dramatic contact between the black slate of the North Peak and the pink McKinley granite just below where we had cached our loads.
Buchtel and Ambler had left their packs at our luncheon-spot on the shoulder and were just disappearing from the lower end of the fixed ropes as we started down from above. By the time we had reached camp, they were almost out of sight, snowshoeing rapidly homeward toward the 13,000-foot camp on the smooth plateau 1500 feet below us.
The next day was another eventful one. We got off at 9.45 A.M., clearing out the camp with three 55-pound packs. The ice slope was miserable. Every step was filled with fresh-blown snow and had to be relocated and kicked out. It was another day of warm (20°), steady wind from the west, but this time we climbed through dense clouds and rime above 16,000 feet. One could scarcely see the man at the other end of the rope when we reached the 17,200-foot cache at 1.45 P.M., and the rocks were all encrusted with beautiful frost feathers. Advancing by dead reckoning and vivid recollection of the aerial photographs, we made our way through thick fog for an hour and a quarter across the broad snow field that lies between the 17,000-foot shoulder and the base of the last slope leading to Denali Pass.
At 3.00 P.M., as we tossed our loads to the ground, a little patch of blue sky appeared overhead, and an hour later the whole storm had settled into the valley. We were in gorgeous clear skies, above a magnificent 16,000-foot sea of clouds. Here we built a large igloo, reckoning that it might have to accommodate as many as five of the Denver party when they came up two or three days later. By sunset (11.00 P.M.) the igloo was done, we had relayed our cache of the day before from the 17,200-foot shoulder, and all the clouds were gone! As we turned in, the myriad lakes and rivers to the west were all gold. Even Lake Minchumina, 60 miles away, looked as if it were right at our feet. A brilliant half-moon rode in the sky just above the icy dome of Foraker, and the temperature stood at 3° above zero—a tropical reading for that altitude on McKinley, even in midsummer.
July 10th dawned cloudless, except for the usual frost-cloud blanketing the peak of McKinley. This sort of cloud was inevitable with the warm, moist westerly wind that we were having. It never disappeared except when the gale died down or when the air chilled at twilight.
We left camp at 10.20 A.M. and tackled the last great slope of Denali Pass. The going was never really steep—the maximum was probably little over 45°—but the half-hardened sastrugi were enormous and alternated with patches of deep, loose powder and breakable crust lying on solid ice. We swung first to the right and then to the left to avoid a few large crevasses, then wound beneath two huge snow blocks. At 12.15 P.M. we reached the pass (18,200 ft.) after a final half-hour of step-chopping in extremely hard black ice. The western side of McKinley had at last been climbed.
Our old cosmic ray cache was the first familiar sight to meet our eyes. It was still neatly covered with bright yellow parachutes which flapped continually in the icy breeze that never seems to stop sucking through the pass. The scene was amazingly different from what it had been in 1947. Then the snow to the east of the rock collar that forms the pass had been flat, hard and icy; now it was a wild confusion of huge, hard sastrugi, some of them three or four feet high, scoured out by the terrific westerly gales of the last three weeks.
The cache of food and equipment left neatly by Gale, Victoreen and Lange at the end of their cosmic ray work in 1947 was an incredible mess. The 1948 expedition, needing supplies, had removed the covering from the cache, taken what they needed and then, apparently, abandoned it to the elements. If the supplies were repacked and covered, the effort must have been a feeble one, as the whole cache was a solid, immovable mass of material, cemented together with ice and snow—as wanton an exhibition of vandalism as could be seen in the mountains. Luckily, we did not need or count on these supplies, but the day is sure to come when this tragic thoughtlessness may be seriously felt by another party equally in need of food or tentage.17
The minimum-recording thermometer left in 1947 a few feet west of this cache on the south side of the pass (the cosmic ray cache is on the north side) registered –59° as the minimum since July 1948.
At one o’clock we decided that the day was still young and that we would try to make a side trip to the top. Although the clouds were down solidly to 19,000 feet, we had no trouble finding our way up the ridge along the 1947 route. In fact, several of our 1947 willow wands were still firmly in place, though broken off short by the wind. The weather was perfect in every direction except for the one summit-cap cloud. This we reckoned would dissipate, as usual, late in the afternoon. If we climbed slowly, it should be gone before we reached the top.
Our guess was right. After crossing the broad plateau between the summit and the Archdeacon’s tower in dense fog, we zigzagged, blind, up the summit cone, bearing gently to the right (S.) so as to strike the tip of the Kahiltna Shoulder, rather than become involved in the maze of ice blocks and crevasses on the west side, just below the top of the peak. At 4.45 P.M. the clouds melted away as we approached the crest of the summit ridge, and at 5.30 we reached the top.
The weather was perfect and the view indescribably magnificent in every direction. When we left, 45 minutes later, however, the heat of the sun was gone, the temperature was dropping below zero, and the gusts of a rising (30-40 m.p.h.) southwest wind began to cut like a knife.
We hated to leave. The view was marvellous: Mount Hayes, the Coast Range, Mount Marcus Baker, Mount Spurr, Mount Foraker—all cloudless; Lake Minchumina like a jewel on the plains; the hills behind Anchorage and the grey haze over Cook Inlet; the deep green lowlands of the Clearwater; Wonder Lake; the Tokositna; the Yentna and the Skwentna; then those endless lowlands stretching off to the westward, river after river sparkling in the sunand twisting and winding off into the distance toward Rainy Pass and the Kuskokwim.
At 6.15 P.M. we tied a bit of orange bunting back on the eight- foot bamboo survey marker that still remained there from our 1947 trip. Then we headed downward, shivering uncontrollably from the bitter cold. At 8.45 we staggered into camp, too tired to do more than eat a bite of supper and turn in.
Things moved rapidly during the next week. After a long sleep, our advance party descended the ridge on the 11th and passed Ambler, Buchtel and Bishop as they reached the igloo at 15,400 feet (4.00 P.M.). We had supper with Griffiths and More at 13,000 feet, and at 1.00 A.M. we were in bed at Base Camp in Kahiltna Pass! On July 12th the vanguard of the Denver party reached the big igloo at 17,300 feet, where we had left all our equipment—even two of the sleeping bags—to speed their progress. And on the 13th they too reached the top on a superb day. Griffiths and More joined them at 17,300 feet that night and made the final climb on the 14th, our wonderful streak of clear weather still holding out.
Terris Moore had flown our first group to Kantishna on the 13th and made two more relays with Ambler and Bishop on the 15th. The last three men were less lucky, as the good weather came to an abrupt end. They had to wait at Kahiltna Pass until the 23rd before there was a momentary lull in the storm and they could be evacuated. The expedition ended officially that afternoon in Anchorage, successful in every respect, and as pleasant a collaboration of eight men and three sponsoring organizations as we could possibly have hoped to have.
In retrospect, I believe that all our party would agree (particularly those three who have climbed both sides of the mountain) that the west side of McKinley is shorter, safer and easier to climb than the Muldrow route, provided the approach to Kahiltna Pass or upper Kahiltna Glacier is made by air.18 The 44-mile approach up heavily-crevassed Kahiltna Glacier would be so long as to rule it out as impractical, and the lowland approach made by the four members of the Denver party could be very time-consuming and exhausting if all of an expedition’s supplies had to be backpacked to Kahiltna Pass from the limit of pack-train travel. An experienced party, equipped with a reliable radio, might attain Kahiltna Pass with a minimum of supplies and then secure an air-drop of equipment without actually landing there, but this would be an operation fraught with all the problems of McKinley’s fickle weather. The ascent of the west side of McKinley without any air support at all would be a much longer and more expensive task than the Muldrow route.
Technically, the western approach to McKinley involves no great difficulties. There is no undue avalanche danger. There are very few crevasses and no large ones at all comparable with those of Muldrow Glacier. The rocks encountered between 16,000 feet and 17,000 feet are firm and safe, and there are excellent bedrock caching areas at 13,000 feet, 16,000 feet and 17,000 feet—an infinite improvement over the northeast approach. The western route on McKinley is a much warmer route, the slopes being faced squarely at the sun, instead of quartering away from it as they do on the northeast side. And last but not least, the prevailing westerly winds are always behind your back as you climb instead of cutting squarely into your face. These last two considerations are of great practical importance in planning the ascent of a high sub-arctic mountain.
Now that McKinley’s western ridge has been climbed, the Alaska Range offers, in particular, two outstanding pioneer ascents: the north wall of the North Peak, still a magnificent possibility, and the western ridge of Mount Hunter. Both are ascents that will require powerful and experienced parties. Let us hope that they can soon be tried.
[In response to a request from the Editors, Dr. Buchtel has forwarded these comments on the expedition.]
The 1951 trip up Mount McKinley was an unusual one. When I say this, I am not referring to the fact that I reached the top—which is, to my friends, the most remarkable fact about the enterprise. The trip was unusual because the route had been scouted entirely by air, no one having set foot on that side of the mountain before the expedition reached it, and because the party was brought in satisfactorily by two different routes and by two different methods of transportation. Most important of all, the entire party reached the top of the mountain and returned safely.
All of us who were on the expedition wish to congratulate Bradford Washburn on his realization that perhaps a route on the west side existed, and for his article in the American Alpine Journal calling the possibility to our attention. We can only hope that his proposed route up the Wickersham Ridge will prove as successful as the one up the southwest buttress.
1It is assumed that Dr. Cook’s claims to an ascent via the South Face are generally considered to have been false.
2James Wickersham, Old Yukon—Tales, Trails and Trials (Washington, 1938), p. 289.
3Frederick A. Cook, To the Top of the Continent (London, 1908), p. 70.
4Robert Dunn, The Shameless Diary of an Explorer (New York, 1907), pp. 98, 235.
5Belmore Browne, The Conquest of Mount McKinley (New York, 1913), p. 181.
6Hudson Stuck, The Ascent of Denali (New York, 1914), p. 18.
7Bradford Washburn, “Mount McKinley from the North and West,” A.A.J., VI (1947), 283-93.
8Bradford Washburn, “The First Ascent of Mount Deception,” Sierra Club Bulletin, XXXVI (1951), 94-105.
9The col between the head of Kahiltna Glacier and the upper basin of Peters Glacier.
10Fifty miles W. of Talkeetna, and 100 miles N.W. of Anchorage.
11From Lignite, Alaska. The same packer who had brought the Houston party to Mt. Foraker in 1934.
12For details of this route, see Bradford Washburn, “Mount McKinley from the North and West,” A.A.J., VI (1947), 286-7.
13Originally called this by Brooks in 1902; renamed by Wickersham in 1903. The old name was recently reestablished.
14Specifically unnamed as yet; but known by the natives, together with Mt. Crosson, as one of “Denali’s children.” Originally named Mt. Hunter by Robert Dunn in 1903. This name appears to have been given later to the peak now called Mt. Hunter by an error in identification.
16Papers later found in the débris confirmed this assumption
17The Denver party worked for hours to rehabilitate this cache after Washburn, Gale and Hackett had made a preliminary excavation and sorted out its contents. The Superintendent of McKinley Park has an accurate list of what is left. This cache is for emergency use and should not be counted on under normal circumstances.
18Aircraft cannot be landed in Mt. McKinley National Park without special permission of the National Park Service.