The Rainbow Summits Project



“Everything was cold. Even our souls were cold.”
—Dougal Haston, In High Places (1972)

Background Information:

Also known as Mt. McKinley, Denali (which is the local Native American name for the mountain) is the highest peak in North America at 6,194m (20,320ft) above sea level. Many consider Denali to be the most physically difficult of the Seven Summits due to the physical exertion necessary to carry up all of one’s gear, equipment, and supplies for the three-week expedition.

Climbing Information:

Denali is primarily climbed in the late spring and early summer due to the mountain’s extremely cold temperatures. Though it requires some technical knowledge, the biggest danger on the mountain is the weather, which can be extraordinarily variable. The mountain’s most popular and easiest route is the West Buttress Route, but it is still very physically demanding and climbers routinely carry between 80-150lbs on their backs for several days of an expedition.

Fun Facts:

  • If measured from its base to the summit, Denali is in fact the Earth’s tallest mountain on land. In terms of prominence, it is the third highest (after Everest and Aconcagua).
  • Like Vinson Massif, Denali is known for its extremely cold temperatures, which have reached as low at -59.7˚ C (-75.5˚ F) and -83.4˚ C (-118.1˚ F) with windchill.
  • Due to a continuing name dispute, the mountain has two official names: According to the Alaska State Board, it is Denali, and according to the National Board, it is Mt. McKinley.
  • Denali is only 315km (196mi) from the Arctic circle.
  • There is a weather station located on the mountain at 5,800m (19,000ft), which is one of only two weather stations in the world located at or above 5,500m (18,000ft).

Cason’s Climb:

Cason spent five days at the West Buttress Route High Camp in his summit attempt, but weather shut down his expedition. He will climb it again June 15th to July 15th, again with Mountain Trip.

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Day 27: Move down to Base Camp and fly off

Date: August 9, 2012 Category: Denali

Phew, what a grueling day. The good news is that we made it all the way down to Base Camp in safety despite some bad conditions. The evening started off well. We left camp around 8pm with clear skies and … Continue reading

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Reflections on “The Great One” (Denali)

Date: August 9, 2012 Category: Denali

I would be lying if I said that I wasn’t upset about not summiting Denali. That said, I am very proud of myself for giving it my all. In the end, it was not my fault I did not summit. … Continue reading

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Day 23: Weather Day

Date: August 9, 2012 Category: Denali

Well no luck moving back up to High Camp today. The snow from the storm the past couple days has dumped over 1.5 of powder onto the Headwall (that steep, 2000 ft slope that is right out of Camp III). … Continue reading

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Day 25: Weather Day

Date: August 9, 2012 Category: Denali

Still majorly dangerous avalanche conditions on the Headwall.  We only have one more day here before we have to go down (our “up or down day”). I think we’re really hoping for a miracle now…  Playing cards with Tessa in … Continue reading

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Day 26: Weather Day

Date: August 9, 2012 Category: Denali

And it doesn’t look like we’re going to get one… We move down tonight and plan to go all the way from this camp (at 14,200ft) to Base Camp (7,200ft) in one push. 424 total views, no views today

424 total views, no views today

Day 24: Weather Day

Date: August 9, 2012 Category: Denali

The sun was out and it was warm once more but, alas, we are still stuck at Camp III. The avalanche risk has not decreased at all so we are still in a holding pattern. Fingers crossed that something happens … Continue reading

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Day 22: Cache at the 16,200ft Ridge

Date: August 9, 2012 Category: Denali

I must admit that I’m still a little drained from yesterday, but after five days in a tent doing nothing it’s nice to get some exercise. Our cache today was actually pretty exciting. The bad weather from yesterday continued to … Continue reading

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Day 21: Move down to Camp III (14,200ft)

Date: August 9, 2012 Category: Denali

Well, this is it: we’re moving down. Joe came into our tent at around 10am and told us the news. Apparently the park rangers who had been stationed up here at High Camp had moved down earlier this morning and … Continue reading

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Day 19: Weather Day

Date: August 9, 2012 Category: Denali

Day 19: Weather Day Another weather day…in protest of the bad weather, I am not going to write a blog post. Take that, weather gods.  478 total views, no views today

478 total views, no views today

Day 20: Weather Day

Date: August 9, 2012 Category: Denali

Still stuck at High Camp…weather looks like it’s going to improve, then goes sour again. Very mentally distressed. Hope it will clear up tomorrow so that we can summit. Our “Up or Down Day” (the day by which you need … Continue reading

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