Perfect summit conditions allowed Team FUBAR to spend an entire hour taking in the excitement, joy, and relief of reaching the top of Denali. The views could warrant a lifetime at the top but eventually we saddled up and started our long descent back down the mountain. It was a twelve-hour round trip from high camp that culminated with Ramon soup and most people’s first good sleep at 17,200 feet.
The next morning we awoke to another beautiful and calm day. This was a welcomed sight because after eighteen days on the mountain we were about to embark on the longest and toughest day yet. It takes around twenty-four hours to descend from high camp to base camp. Along the way we stopped at each camp to rest, hydrate, refuel, and pick up gear and trash that we cached on our way up. Take note that nothing listed in the previous sentence indicates sleep during the twenty-four hour push. It is a remarkable feeling to see the entire route in one single go. As the terrain mellows out and we leave the mountain for the lower Kahiltna Glacier we transcend into a euphoric sleep walk. This is suddenly jarred as the terrain begins to rise again and we tackle the last hour push up Heart Break Hill. After pouring all our energy into an awesome twenty-day adventure the uniqueness of Denali plays its final card with a spectacular flight out of the mighty Alaska Range and back to the lush green river valleys that surround Talkeetna.
I would like to send a special thanks to all the members of the team…Eugene, Jon, Terry, Albert, and Des. It was a special trip made possible by your positive attitudes, mountaineering skills, and pure enjoyment of being in the mountains. Congratulations!! You guys earned this one. ~Adam