Ian Bolliger, Peter McCarthy and Dave and Hollie Leonard flew into Kahilta Base camp this spring aiming to summit Denali and ski either the Orient Express or Messner Couloir. Three of them summited the 20,237-foot peak, the highest in North American, and together, the team managed to gather snow samples from 17,000 feet for...
Peter & Hollie descend the crest of the West Buttress by the light of the “midnight” sun at 1am, having broken camp at 17,200. (Photo by David Leonard)
Ian Bolliger, Peter McCarthy and Dave and Hollie Leonard flew into Kahilta Base camp this spring aiming to summit Denali and ski either the Orient Express or Messner Couloir.
“Gathering the data provided us with objectives outside of self-indulgent summit goals, and also gave us a meaningful activity to perform on rest days,” Bolliger said, explaining that they sampled during a break in a storm, with wind and snow blowing fiercely. They still had to return to 14k camp that evening, so digging the pit was a race against time.
“It was certainly as difficult, if not more so, than we had imagined… The flat field just outside of 17k camp where we took our samples is a depository for snow blown over the adjacent ridge, making the firm snowpack not entirely amenable to our shoveling,” he recalls.
These photos are a window into their adventure on Denali—you can check out more on Bolliger’s blog.
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Meet the Author
Gregg Treinish founded Adventure Scientists in 2011 with a strong passion for both scientific discovery and exploration. National Geographic named Gregg Adventurer of the Year in 2008 when he and a friend completed a 7,800-mile trek along the spine of the Andes Mountain Range. He was included on the Christian Science Monitor's 30 under 30 list in 2012, and the following year became a National Geographic Emerging Explorer for his work with Adventure Scientists. In 2013, he was named a Backpacker Magazine "hero", in 2015, a Draper Richards Kaplan Entrepreneur and one of Men's Journal's "50 Most Adventurous Men." In 2017, he was named an Ashoka Fellow and in 2018 one of the Grist 50 "Fixers." Gregg holds a biology degree from Montana State University and a sociology degree from CU-Boulder. He thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail in 2004. Read more updates from Gregg and others on the Adventure Scientists team at adventurescientists.org/field-notes. Follow Adventure Scientists on Instagram @adventurescientists, on Facebook @adventurescientists, and on Twitter @AdvScientists.