This past spring, Rob Smith and Raphael Slawinski spent five weeks in the Alaska Range.
They arrived in Talkeetna “with ambitious plans: in a perfect world, we’d warm up on the French Route on the north buttress of Mount Hunter before moving on to the Slovak Route on the south face of Denali.”
Due to bad weather, they didn’t manage to reach the base of either of the two classic routes.
Slawinski wrote on his blog here: “Still, it’d be wrong to say that the trip had been a waste of time. At the risk of rationalizing failure, it’d be sad if my sole measure of success in climbing was whether I’d sent this or that ‘hard’ route.
“During the five weeks I spent in the land of eternal daylight (as is Alaska in late May and June), I had some fantastic experiences. I got to know Rob, with whom I’d only spent a few days ice climbing before. We lived through some of the worst weather I’d ever experienced at the 14k camp on Denali.
“We shared that camp with Tom and Uisdean, two irreverent Brits. When the storm cleared, Tom and I did yoga in the middle of camp. On a sunny day, all four of us hiked up the West Buttress to Denali’s summit. We had fun, we came back safe, we came back better friends. What’s so bad about that?”