McKinley – Part 2

On the summit

On the summit

First part here

On our first day the bad weather prevented us from advancing. During very short moments we could almost see the ridge through the holes in the clouds. There was a steep slope – no joy; at least from this point there was no need to take the sledges. It seemed so long that I thought I was going to climb it forever. In the end I liked that slope and the ridge that followed. There was the abyss on both sides of the narrow ridge: during some parts it was just as wide to fit both your boots next to each other. Very cool!

When we reached the high camp we found a snow shelter almost destroyed we started to rebuild it. The walls of the others shelters were wide and strong so we quickly understood that it’s no use to joke when it comes to the storm!

We hoped that the following day will be more suitable for climbing the summit, but it wasn’t. So we had to stay one more day in the camp: this time at 5300m. Wind, fog, cold… old story!

It was a perfect day on 20th of June - clear, no breath of wind, but extremely cold. We started very slow on the “Autobahn” until we arrived in Denali Pass. There was a great view on the other side, but we didn’t lose too much time to admire the landscape – we had a job to do! We slowly climbed a long slope, but after every turn there was something different that made us wonder what’s next, something that pushed us to go further.

We arrived at the Football Field. It was not as big as I expected, at least not enough for a proper football match. The final slope – up to the ridge – astonished us all.

We could hardly move on. My father decided to stop and wait for us there. After two more hours of steep slope and a sharpening but beautiful ridge… there was the summit! I was on McKinley! The sights, the astonishment and that great feeling of fulfillment are hard to describe.

PS. Many thanks and all my gratitude for our companions in the expedition Sibiu – Alaska 2010: Valentin Popa, Willhelm Schuster and Lucian Pinca. We spent great times and unique moments together.

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