North America, United States, Alaska, Denali National Park, Thunder Mountain, Ski Descent of West Face
Thunder Mountain, ski descent of west face. This 2,000' face is prominent on the flight to Kahiltna Base. On April 25 Andrew McLean and I gained the upper glacier by traversing in from the west above a steep narrow icefall. After skinning across the bergshrund we cramponed up and into a couloir on the left side of the face. It ended on a knife-edged corniced ridge. On belay, I looked over into the Thunder Glacier cirque and at the 150 yards of tiptoeing to get to the West Summit Plateau. We skied. Snow conditions and position were fantastic. A K2 Cessna flew by, wagging his wings. In retrospect, to gain the plateau we should have veered up and right at two-thirds height, maybe avoiding the fall line of the humungous cornice.