American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

North America, United States, Alaska, McKinley, South Face, New Route

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1992

McKinley South Face, New Route. Josef Rakoncaj and I came to Alaska at the end of April. We flew to the Kahiltna Glacier. We climbed slowly as high as Denali Pass on the West Buttress. After acclimatizing to the altitude and cold, on May 17, Rakoncaj climbed the Messner Couloir in half a day. The next day, I climbed a new route between the Messner Couloir and the Orient Express. The maximum difficulty on rock was 5.8 and the ice was up to 70°. I descended to the 14,000-foot camp without going all the way to the summit. We two then climbed with skis over Denali Pass and continued in storm, cold and wind to the north on the Harper Glacier. We descended to the Muldrow Glacier and out to Wonder Lake. Rakoncaj flew home. I returned to Talkeetna, where I spent several days drinking beer in the Fairview Inn and loving Alaska. In early June, I flew again to the Kahiltna and then climbed the Cassin Ridge in five days. This was a great climb for me with very hard ice and a very heavy rucksack. As I bivouacked in the first rock band, at five A.M. I became aware of someone passing my tent. Was it a yeti? I looked outside and saw a solo climber with a small rucksack. “Hi. Good morning. If you like tea, we can do five-o’clock tea.” We spent twenty minutes in my tent. “What are you doing here?” “Climbing the Cassin.” “And you?” “The same.” “And what is your name?” The man was Mugs Stump. And he took only a few hours to climb the Cassin!

Miroslav Šmíd, ADR Rocks, Czechoslovakia

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