Friday, March 29, 2013

Denali



Denali
18" x 24"
[click on image to enlarge]

Denali rises to 20,320 feet making it North America's tallest peak. Although not as tall as Everest, the base is much lower in relationship to the peak, so the visible mountain is much taller than any possible view of Everest.

Denali, or officially Mount McKinley, is rarely visible to this extent - the massive formation creates it's own weather usually including clouds around the summit. The summit is the left hand peak, rather than the right hand peak. Although the 'Sourdough Expedition' of strictly untrained locals climbed the closer peak in 1910 'just to prove it could be done' and a $1500 bet and to disprove earlier claims. In addition they lugged up a 14 foot pole so the triumph could be seen from saner locations. Doing all this without any proper gear or oxygen, they were successful two decades before the pros could make an official summit. Ironically although lower by 850 feet the North Peak is considered the more difficult climb. 

[The Sourdough Expedition is worth time taken to read about: http://irishmountaineeringclub.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=128&Itemid=89.  And somewhat typical of Alaskans even today.]

From this view inside Denali National Park, the peak is about 35 miles away. Several smaller ranges are visible before the 'real' mountain begins.

Distance changes our perception of mountains, they first become more purple and then bluish.

The caribou can easily outrun the grizzly and are therefore not concerned about the large predator although the large bull is giving the bear a good look. Despite their reputation the bears also graze on such vegetation. It makes up more than half their diet. They don't have the easier salmon-filled life of coastal bears.
[The general reference for this painting was an NPS photo]


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2 comments:

  1. Really like the perspective on this one. I love the history on the race to the top. Crazy!

    ReplyDelete