Candy Bars on Mt. Hunter- Revisited

Climbers out on the Kahiltna Glacier near Mt. Hunter
The Kahiltna Glacier near Mt. Hunter

I now concede the fact that it was undoubtedly the five candy bars I ate in celebration of successfully getting across the avalanche debris field that caused the distress. I should’ve known better, but for a variety of reasons, it’d seemed like a good thing to do at the time. At least, I reasoned once back at home, the whole thing had taught me a good lesson.

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Candy Bars on Mt. Hunter… Revisited

 

Climbers out on the Kahiltna Glacier near Mt. Hunter
The Kahiltna Glacier near Mt. Hunter

I now concede that it was undoubtedly the five candy bars I ate in celebration of successfully getting down and across the avalanche debris field that caused the distress. I should’ve known better, but for various reasons, it’d seemed like a good thing to do at the time. At least, I reasoned once back at home; the whole thing had taught me a good lesson.

The fateful event happened like this…….

Continue reading “Candy Bars on Mt. Hunter… Revisited”

The Ruth

Three people crossing the Ruth Glacier in Alaska
On the Ruth

I look out the window
Of the three-seat plane,
As we near the landing site
On the Ruth Glacier.

In the Alaska Range.

Not long after take-off, we flew over trees, rivers, and then the lower Glacier.
Now, we’re flying through the Great Gorge
Between startlingly huge mountains
And above a river of ice.
The world is the colors of snow, rock, and sky.

Prominent peaks dominate.
Denali, the great one, is straight ahead but not close.
The Moose’s Tooth is to our right and nearby,
Both imposing but welcoming.

In the Alaska Range.

Suddenly, we break free of the Gorge
And fly into the Ruth Amphitheater.
The venue of venues.

The Cessna turns left
Toward the Mountain House.
We haven’t even landed yet,
But the concert has already begun.

In the Alaska Range.

We’re late, what should we do?
I take a deep breath,
And realize that thankfully we’re not too late,
Because the music never ends.

The sky is clear
And the landing site on the snow is vivid.
The closer we get to the ground,
The more massive and magnificent the peaks become.

In the Alaska Range.

The plane touches down and stops.
I open the door and step
Out onto the Ruth.

Warm in my parka
Overwhelmed by the surroundings.

There are few people, no musical instruments,
No conductor,
And not much of an audience.

But I feel the full force of what I hear,
And am compelled
To whisper to myself where all can hear, “Bravo.”

Audio Version:

In the Glacier Plane

The Crevasse Rescue

The Scott Fair glacier rescue on the Kahiltna Glacier in Alaska
The Actual Rescue

       There are three well-known peaks in the Alaska Range—Denali, Foraker, and Hunter. At 14,195 feet, Hunter is the smallest of the three but is considered one of the most technically difficult 14er’s (14,000-foot mountains) to climb in the world. And reaching its summit was our goal for the particular trip this story is about, at least until lousy weather got in our way. We were a group of 13, including me and several other Outpost Wilderness Adventure leaders and two other non-OWA guides.

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