Denali Dispatch #15: Homeward Bound

by Jason Kolaczkowski
CMC Denali Trip Leader

Saturday 06-20-2015
Base Camp (7,200′)

This will likely be my last dispatch from the mountain, as we are done climbing. Now, we wait for the bush plan to pluck us from the glacier.

I’ll still be adding to my Facebook page as I make my way home to Denver.

Today was a day of contrasts. The initial descent was burdensome due to sled management. But then we found ourselves basically alone on the mountain as we moved below Camp 3 and into base camp. The season is ending, and fewer and fewer teams are heading up the mountain. It was just you and the sled, mile after mile, trying not to begrudge the distance and forsake the views.

Once at base camp, however, we ran into and swapped stories with a small cadre of serious climbers: people who have been doing serious technical routes in the Alaska Range for just over 40 days, people off if the Cassin Ridge, etc. Suddenly, we weren’t alone.

It was a nice way to end the trip, immersed in the camaraderie that climbers can have. We shared our cached foods including Pringles, cheese, candy, Coke, whisky, and beer.

In terms of immediate plans, I’ve been thinking of three things almost exclusively: a shower, a cheeseburger, and nachos.

What? You thought “plans” may be referring to a next climb?

Jason

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