A journalist observes life in the far north.
The Snow Dogs made it to the camp at 14,200 feet, a popular staging area for West Buttress climbers, according to Colby Coombs’ book “Denali’s West Buttress: A Climber’s Guide to Mount McKinley’s Classic Route.”
If any of the guy’s are going to get mountain sickness, it’s here. Tonight. Coombs’ says that most climbers suffer from Acute Mountain Sickness during their first 24 hours at this elevation. Symptoms include headache, nausea, sleeplessness and shortness of breath.
The Park Service has a camp here. I am 90 percent sure that this is their highest camp, although I wouldn’t swear it on my life. I Googled the Park Service, but I couldn’t find out for sure on their Web site.
Alec said the day has been beautiful, and he feels strong. He sounded tired, but not as beat down as he sounded last year. All of the climber’s did well, he said. Shahid especially had to persevere. I checked Shahid’s blog, but there was not a peep.
The camp is on a large plateau were it’s liable to be warm during the day and dip down to the double digits below zero at night. From here, the climbers will travel to high camp at 17,200 feet. This is the camp they summit from.
Last year, Al spent weeks at 14,200 camp waiting for good weather to go higher.