McKinley Climbers’ Memorial. A memorial dedicated to climbers who have died on McKinley has been established in Talkeetna, Gateway to Denali. Through the end of 1992, 75 mountaineers representing 13 nations have lost their lives on North America’s highest peak, including a record 11 people last year. Another 20 have died on nearby mountains. Built by Ace Ebling, a retired Air Force sergeant who tends Talkeetna’s cemetery, the climbers’ memorial features a 30-foot-high cedar telephone pole painted white to symbolize McKinley’s snow and ice. Two chainsaw-carved climbers complete with ice axes, crampons and rope are ascending the pole, which is topped by a raven figure. The finished product will also include a 10-by-24-foot mountainscape which shows McKinley, Foraker and Hunter as they appear on the horizon from Talkeetna. That mountain silhouette, also made from telephone poles and painted white, will be surrounded by a garden of forget-me-nots. A list of all who have died on McKinley and the surrounding peaks will be put on permanent display nearby. Those wishing to contribute to the upkeep of the memorial may send donations to the Talkeetna Cemetery Association, PO Box 38, Talkeetna, Alaska 99676.
Bill Sherwonit, Anchorage, Alaska