Ascent of Denali on 1997-05-27

Climber: Greg Slayden

Others in Party:Steve House (Guide)
Mike Powers (Guide)
Bill B.
Andy D.
Luis L.
Greg W.
Bruno C.
Barry L. (Stayed behind)
Date:Tuesday, May 27, 1997
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Airplane
    Elevation:20310 ft / 6190 m

Ascent Trip Report

In May, 1997 I joined a expedition to Alaska's Mt. McKinley (also called Denali), at 20,320' the highest mountain in North America. The trip was organized by the American Alpine Institute (AAI) and led by two of their guides. We were successful in reaching the summit on May 27, 1997.

The following links make up a day-by-day journal of the trip. There is a link at the bottom of each page that will take you to the next one.

Introduction: Background to the trip and reparations
Day 0--May 9, 1997: Get together in Anchorage
Day 1--May 10, 1997: From Anchorage to Talkeetna--can't fly, bad weather
Day 2--May 11, 1997: In Talkeetna--weather too bad to fly
Day 3--May 12, 1997: In Talkeetna--aborted attempt to fly
Day 4--May 13, 1997: Fly from Talkeetna to basecamp airstrip
Day 5--May 14, 1997: From basecamp airstip to 7800'
Day 6--May 15, 1997: Make cache at 9400'
Day 7--May 16, 1997: Move camp from 7800' to 11,000'
Day 8--May 17, 1997: Retrieve cache down at 9400'
Day 9--May 18, 1997: Make cache at 13,400'
Day 10--May 19, 1997: Storm day at 11,000'--snow, wind
Day 11--May 20, 1997: Move camp from 11,000' to 14,300'
Day 12--May 21, 1997: Retrieve cache at 13,400'
Day 13--May 22, 1997: Make cache at 16,300'
Day 14--May 23, 1997: Rest day/storm day at 14,300'
Day 15--May 24, 1997: Storm day at 14,300'--snow, wind
Day 16--May 25, 1997: Storm day at 14,300'--wind
Day 17--May 26, 1997: Move camp from 14,300' to 17,150'
Day 18--May 27, 1997: Summit day!
Day 19--May 28, 1997: Down from 17,150' to 11,000'
Day 20--May 29, 1997: Down to basecamp airstrip; fly out

Disclaimers: Although I have tried to be as accurate and objective as possible, please realize that much of the content of this on-line journal is opinion, impressions, and how I felt at the time. It is not my intention to defame or misrepresent anyone or their actions; indeed, I have the highest respect and admiration for everyone I met in Alaska, especially my guides and teammates.

Climbers make their way along the very summit ridge of the South Peak of Mount McKinley, nearing the 20,320' top of North America (1997-05-27).
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:22510 ft / 6860 m
    Total Elevation Loss:22510 ft / 6860 m
    Round-Trip Distance:45.4 mi / 73.1 km
    Quality:10 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Snow on Ground, Snow Climb, Glacier Climb
    Gear Used:
Ice Axe, Crampons, Rope, Ski Poles, Snowshoes, Guide, Tent Camp
    Nights Spent:16 nights away from roads
    Weather:Frigid, Very Windy, Clear
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:22060 ft / 6723 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 13110 ft / 3996 m; Extra: 8950 ft / 2727m
    Loss on way in:8950 ft / 2727 m
    Distance:29.9 mi / 48.1 km
    Route:West Buttress
    Start Trailhead:SE Fork Kahiltna Glacier  7200 ft / 2194 m
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:13560 ft / 4133 m
        Loss Breakdown:Net: 13110 ft / 3996 m; Extra: 450 ft / 137m
    Gain on way out:450 ft / 137 m
    Distance:15.5 mi / 25 km
    Route:West Buttress
    End Trailhead:SE Fork Kahiltna Glacier  7200 ft / 2194 m
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Greg Slayden
Click Here for a Full Screen Map
Note: GPS Tracks may not be accurate, and may not show the best route. Do not follow this route blindly. Conditions change frequently. Use of a GPS unit in the outdoors, even with a pre-loaded track, is no substitute for experience and good judgment. accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

Download this GPS track as a GPX file

Other Photos

The treacherous slopes leading up to Denali Pass (1997-05-27).

Standing on the Summit of North America (1997-05-27).

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