Minus 148 Degrees: First Winter Ascent of Mount McKinley

Minus 148 Degrees: First Winter Ascent of Mount McKinley

Art Davidson

Language: English

Pages: 160


Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

"This finely crafted adventure tale runs on adrenaline but also something else: brutal honesty." - The Wall Street Journal
"I couldn't lay it down until it was all finished (12:40 a.m.!)... A fascinating and beautifully-written story." - Bradford Washburn

• One of National Geographic Adventure's The 100 Greatest Adventure Books of All Time
• Spring 2013 marks the 100th anniversary of the first ascent of Mount McKinley
New edition includes a revised preface, new prologue, and new afterword describing more recent winter attempts on McKinley

In 1967, eight men attempted North America's highest summit: Mount McKinley (now known as Denali) had been climbed before--but never in winter. Plagued by doubts and cold, group tension and a crevasse tragedy, the expedition tackled McKinley in minimal hours of daylight and fierce storms. They were trapped at three different camps above 14,000 feet during a six-day blizzard and faced the ultimate low temperature of -148 F. "Minus 148 " is Art Davidson's stunning personal narrative, supplemented by diary excerpts from team members George Wichman, John Edwards, Dave Johnston, and Greg Blomberg. Davidson retells the team's fears and frictions--and ultimate triumph--with an honesty that has made this gripping survival story a mountaineering classic for over 40 years.

Minus 148 is featured among many best of reading lists, including National Geographic Adventure's "The 100 Greatest Adventure Books of all Time."

"At twenty-two I came to regard the first expedition to Mt. McKinley in the winter as a journey into an unexplored land. No one had lived on North America's highest ridges in the winter twilight. No one knew how low the temperatures would drop, or how penetrating the cold would be when the wind blew. For thousands of years McKinley's storms had raged by themselves." -- Minus 148

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Breathing that meant someone had been able to sleep. Dave, however, had lit a candle, and was writing in his journal: It’s real. It’s like an underwater nightmare that never really happened. In retrospect, only this exists: my love for Farine. He seemed to have a special, glowing smile for me; the kind you get from your partner after a hard lead. It was a smile you felt; one I could feel and return, and know he felt the return. His love for climbing was written all over his face. I remember.

To the level area at 10,200 feet, just below Kahiltna Pass. Dave and I, agreeing on something for once, wanted to move, but Shiro argued convincingly that we ought to be patient for another day or two because it was snowing lightly and Pirate hadn’t yet returned. We settled for shuttling up the rest of the provisions for the higher camps. Shiro, who kept an up-to-date inventory of the supplies distributed among our camps and caches, calculated that after one more day’s haul we would have thirty.

Rest of us, even though his ribs and back still hurt. By evening he was invariably exhausted. After being roped with John on one haul to 12,000 feet, Gregg told Dave, “John was really going slow, but I cussed him out in a couple ways, and he did better. ” “You think he’s faking it?” Dave asked. “Sure,” Gregg said, “he has a lot more in him than he will admit. I know he can do better, and I know he will. ” “Why the hell wouldn’t a guy give his best?” Dave said, turning away. Like myself,.

Who boasted that miners toughened by Alaska winters would climb McKinley before any East Coast doctor. With astonishing bravado and stamina, they lugged a 14-foot spruce pole to McKinley’s north summit. Though it lay easily within their reach, they didn’t try to climb the south summit, 800 feet higher. It remained for Hudson Stuck to accomplish the first successful ascent in 1913. An Alaskan missionary, Archdeacon Stuck’s sensitive account of the climb reflects a man driven by spiritual.

Body tense and shake with shivers. We needed water, which meant we needed gas—which we didn’t have. The only possibility was the gas Dave had cached at Denali Pass three years before. If one of us went for the gallon of gas, he might not make it back through the wind to the cave. The gruesome reality of this possibility had kept us from retrieving the gas, but there was no longer any alternative. One of us had to go for the gas! Who? I couldn’t go because of my hands, so I lay quietly in my bag,.

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