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The McKinley Diaries – 21 Years On…

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be recording daily video logs about the fateful expedition to climb Mt McKinley in Alaska. April 30th 2020 will be the 21st anniversary of the adventures start. Using original images, equipment and reading from my mountain diary, I’d like to share my experiences, feelings and emotions from this life changing time in my life…

The Series Preview…
April 30th – Flight Day.  The day we departed the UK and flew to Anchorage in Alaska.  Travel Sickness, Beer, Sleep and the Spice Girls..!
May 1st 1999 – Jet lag in Anchorage, Enormous Food Shopping and Heading to Talkeetna.
We left Talkeetna and flew into the Alaska Range, Spending our first night on the ice in Base Camp.
Leaving a cold Base Camp and ascending the Kahiltna Glacier to Camp 1
Entering the Kahiltna NE Fork, Battling the Crevasses and watching Silent Glitter Snow…
Bashing solid boots, returning to Camp 1 to recover the Cache and getting established in the Kahiltna NE Fork
Fighting the Icefall, Camping in Crevasses, Sleeping in a Harness Screwed into the ice face
Waking up in a Crevasse Field, Ice Climbing out of Crevasses, Running like a Ballet Dancer in Crampons and making the Base of the Couloir
Bringing Stores up to the Base of the West Rib, meeting with the Americans and preparing for the Hard Work to come.
Climbing the Couloir, leaving a cache and heading back to our tiny tents 2000ft below in the dark..!
A well needed Rest Day.  Time to wash, recharge and prepare for the coming Climb….
Early starts, Couloir Climbing, Long Ropes, Big Bunker Campsite and Helping Hands in the Darkness…
After another late start we lifted our Cache further up the Rib, fighting through hard climbing and Wondering about Photographs….
Bitter Cold Starts, High Altitude Funny Noses and Camping under a Huge Ice Wall…
Sunlight melting the Icy Tent, Mountain Disagreements, Comedy Masks and a Lesson on Mountain Safety…
Tackling the Rocky Rib, Jumaring up Fixed Ropes, Fighting Driving Snow and a Late Night Starry Camp…
Midday Rises, Beaming Sun, Baby Wipe Bed Bath, Vortexing Spindrift and Battening Down the Hatches…
Flying Fleeces, Sidestepping the Ridge, Rising Winds, Catching Crampons, Losing a Glove and Burying Gear…
Well, here we go – Summit Day…
The actual recording from my Hospital Bed only hours after we were recovered from Mt McKinley with Severe Frostbite on May 20th 1999..

13 thoughts on “The McKinley Diaries – 21 Years On…”

  1. Hi— Justed watched your survival story on TV. I can’t imagine having the will to continue after those injuries. Not sure why some folks continue while others give up. Not sure what I would have done or reacted. It’s very inspiring that you all survived and seem grateful for it too. Sorry to hear that certain people bash you guys. I’ve always tried to ignore those people in life. I’m reminded by the famous quote..” there are a lot of statues erected throughout the world of people who were criticized, but few if any statues of any critiques.”
    All the best.
    Proceed on!

    1. Thank you for your message Norman. We’re all still going with different injuries and lives, but living well. I ignore the nay sayers, as I find they’re the people with issues, rather than those who get on with their lives. Fear not, I have many future expedition plans..!

  2. My uncle was in the Wilcox expedition and was one of the 7!that didn’t make it. Although I never met him I find it fascinating. I share his love for the outdoors and the mountains but not climbing them. :) I am always looking for more information on his group.

    1. Hi Sandra,

      I’ve been reading up about the expedition and the weather sounds horrific. I thought we were having a bad time in 60mph winds. Have you spoken to the Ranger Service or any of the climbers from the expedition..?

    1. Hi Rob, it’s almost true. Timothy Dalton and Myself both come from Belper, whilst Nigel Bond comes from Darley Dale. None of us are in the Peak District, although we are very close to it…

  3. Hi Nigel,

    Thank you for the additional recording. So sorry to hear about your difficulties but you made it back. Regarding my adventure…I was with a larger expedition through NOLS (National Outdoor Leadership School). We were successful. We were on Denali about 35 day (June – early July). The weather at times was very nasty…high winds, snow and very low temps…as you experienced. It was a remarkable journey. I still do some mountain scrambling, not too much climbing anymore. Again thank you and be safe during these troubling times.


    And yes it is an interesting name. I was not named after the character. My dad’s family was from England and Bond was fairly common. As for James…from an ancestor.

    1. Thanks for getting in touch James, the mountain really has its way with everyone who climbs it. Like you, I dont climb much now although still I ski and scramble in the mountains. Talking of Bond, have you read Simon McCartneys book – The Bond..?

      1. Nigel, funny you should ask. I just finished “The Bond”. I had requested it from the AAC library. A good read.

        I would like to climb another bigger mountain…perhaps Aconcagua. I do love the mountains.

        Take care.

  4. Having climbed Denali in the past (from Wonder lake) I enjoyed you readings. I am not familiar with your climb and I would like to hear the rest of your story.

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