Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Back from Alaska

Winter camping in June: There's nothing like it. Temps at night reached, at the lowest, 5 above 0, and the mercury rose at midday to 50 F and more. It was a jungle, without insects, while the snow and ice beneath our tent was estimated to be 4500 feet thick (yep, nearly a mile). Almost everyone who climbs Denali gets off an airplane that landed on the Southeast Fork of the Kahiltna Glacier at about 7300 feet elevation--a few feet from the ranger tent where I was working (and sometimes just relaxing). They also almost all leave the mountain there, except for two young Japanese climbers who, this year, disappeared and failed to reappear after ten days of intensive searching--bringing the historical total to 100 dead on Denali. But two others were found, and, with other patients, I had a chance to splint arms, patch wounds, inspect and pontificate on frostbite, melt a ton of snow for water, and wax poetical on what is absolutely one of the most beautiful spots on this planet. Not a bad summer vacation.

4 comments:

billb said...

Sounds like a wonderful trip, Buck. Glad you're back home safely.

Larry Fischer said...

Sounds like you enjoy what you do as well as where you go. You would be a good guy to have on a trip. Glad you are back safe.

Brian said...

Incredible. Thanks for sharing your stories Buck. It's a treat for those of us who will never make it to places like Denali. Glad you're home safe...see you at OR!

Diya Rakusa said...

Love the blog, Buck :-)

Glad to hear from you after ages, and happy to see you continuing your service through the new media. I still carry around the First Aid book you gave us in 2003 in Dambulla, Sri Lanka. Remember the dinosaur?! So odd, I just related that story to a friend today a while before I saw your email.