by Jason Kolaczkowski
CMC Denali Trip Leader
Camp 4 (14,200′)
Making the descent. Today was always going to be physically painful. Not necessarily as energy sapping, but hard on the body.
We had one camp supplied at 17,200′ and then carried over a second camp. So, we had two camps worth of weight that we had to bring down 3000′. That’s rough on the back and legs.
But, it was also a comparatively short day in terms of total time. So much so that three of the team opted to push lower (see photo) while the other three, including myself, decided to stay the night at 14K.
With all the technical climbing now behind us, the catharsis I usually feel is just starting to hit. While we still must be smart and safe, the risk we are exposed to is much smaller. It’s around this time in climbs that the tension, stress, and fear that I compartmentalize finally releases.
I imagine the reality of the summit success won’t really set in until I start talking to people back home. But we’ll see.