Denali 2011: Spring Chicken Road Trip
Our trip to Denali started on June 4th. We left Calgary early on a Saturday morning and by Sunday evening we were setting up our tent below the spectacular north buttress of Mt. Hunter. It was quite the shock, especially since I had just returned from the Utah desert.
This was my first trip to the Alaska Range but Raphael Slawinski's forth, so I followed his lead in strategy and style. Our original objective was to attempt the Denali Diamond on the southwest face but conditions were ill suited for an attempt, so we diverted our energies to the uber-classic Cassin Ridge. After 14 days of travel, acclimatization and many days of resting we got the weather window to start climbing. Our strategy for the route was to do it as a day climb. A committing but simple style.
One of my goals on this trip was to collect enough video footage to piece together a few shorts. This was a difficult feat while trying to keep up with Raphael. Many times, I found myself getting frustrated because I was only getting ass-shots. The other added challenges were the extreme cold, 'high altitude lassitude' and the style of the accent that we were committing to. But somehow I managed to collect enough. You can watch the video of the Cassin in Under 24 here or on my Vimeo site. Also, for a complete account of the our accent of the Cassin, check out Raphael's blog
Arriving at the airstrip below Mt. Hunter. The usual chaos as disoriented climbers arrive and exhausted climbers leave.
Dropping down the West-Rib cutoff. The Cassin Ridge starts via the Japanese couloir at the right of the image.
Raphael leading out above the Japanese couloir. We roped up for the first portion of the climb (up to the Hanging Glacier) but then removed the rope for the remainder of the climb.
Raphael climbing through the 1st rock band. Lots of low angle terrain with short steps of mixed climbing.
Hour 16.5. Don't look too deeply into Raphael's eyes, he might remove your soul!
We would like to thank Mountain Equipment Co-op for their generous support via the