Denali Arctic Environmental Project

Publication Year: 1974.

Denali Arctic Environmental Project. This project was sponsored by the University of Oregon Outdoor Program, the Idaho State University Outdoor Program and the American Alpine Club. It was initiated in an attempt to contribute a new ethic in mountaineering and wilderness use— a consciousness that a wild area is not something to be conquered by man, but a natural phenomenon to be lived with, appreciated and exploited only in the sense that its values may be used to enlarge man’s human experiences. Central to this consciousness is a desire to leave a mountain or any natural landscape in a condition “untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain.” As the highest point on the North American continent, Mount McKinley was selected in 1971 as the target for the initial clean-up of the project. During the spring of 1973, two expeditions were placed on the West-Buttress route. DAEP I, consisting of Gary O. Grimm, Harrison H. Hilbert, Dan McBridge and Tom Stich, spent 21 days on the mountain from April 27 to May 18 and reached an altitude of 17,200 feet. DAEP II spent 23 days on the mountain from May 29 to June 20. Jeff Elphinston, Michael Boss, Geraldine Croney and George Breuer reached the summit of Mount McKinley by the West-Buttress route on June 16. Kevin Fiske and John Lyon also took part. Both expeditions collected, burned and carried out litter found on the route in addition to developing and testing various expeditionary mountaineering environmental practices. In the case of Mount McKinley, a group may have only what it can carry in from outside the park boundaries. Surely it can burn a part and carry out the rest of what it can carry in. Every expedition should endeavor to leave its route clean and unmarked. Ideally it should also clean up the trailings of thoughtless others who have gone before. It will take the concerted effort of all mountaineers to solve present and prevent future garbage and litter problems in the mountains. The project has brought out a booklet which gives details of their work and suggestions.