American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing
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North America, United States, Alaska, Bremerton Mount McKinley Expedition

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1961

Bremerton Mount McKinley Expedition. The members of our group were Don Anderson, Jerry Koch, Jim Richardson, Roy Harniss, Jack Newman, Kent Heathershaw and Glenn Kelsey of Bremerton, Washington and Paul Williams of Seattle. We assembled on the Kahiltna Glacier at 6700 feet with 1500 pounds of food and supplies. We had been landed on the glacier at the McKinley National Park boundary by Don Sheldon of Talkeetna in his ski-wheel Piper Supercub on June 13. We spent fifteen days relaying food and equipment to our highest camp at 17,150 feet but this included waiting out storms and returning Heathershaw to 10,200 feet from Windy Corner (13,300 feet). A severe cold, a lack of appetite and the altitude made him too weak to continue. Because of two previous bouts with pneumonia, he felt it unwise to try to wait it out. After Sheldon was contacted by portable radio, he flew in and removed Heathershaw from the mountain. The final ascent was made on June 29 in threatening weather. The climbing time from 17,150 feet to the summit was eleven hours, including lunch stops and time to build a rock cairn at Denali Pass in which to house a recording thermometer. The temperature at eight p.m. at the summit was -14° F. and the weather a driving snowstorm. We descended to the high camp in three hours. Another storm forced us to halt the descent at the 14,200-foot camp. Sheldon flew three of us out from the 10,200-foot camp.

Glenn Kelsey, Mountaineers

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