Denali Park glacier gives up climbers' gear more than 60 years old

AnchorageAugust 23, 2013 

Some of the climbers' debris found lying on Muldrow Glacier this season.

NATIONAL PARK SERVICE VIA ALASKA PUBLIC MEDIA

From KTNA: A National Park Service-led team cleaning up Muldrow Glacier following the Denali climbing season picked up trash that has melted out of the ice and snow  60 years and longer after it was left behind. Among the finds: items belonging to famed Alaska Range climbers Bradford and Barbara Washburn, dating to a 1947 expedition.

Mountaineering ranger Roger Robinson:

“We found a camp, essentially -–-probably an abandoned camp -- from the 1947 expedition.  It was called the White Tower expedition.  We definitely found their camp, because we found a box with their name on it.  There were sleeping bags…remains of everything from a camp.”

Some of the Washburns’ items, including boots and other small artifacts, were removed, but some of it will remain on the glacier as part of the mountain’s history. Robinson says that if someone knew exactly when and where to look, that they might be able to find gear from the earliest expeditions on Denali, but that it would involve a lot of luck.

Robinson says early Denali expeditions didn't much concern themselves with leaving no trace.

“Climbers used to abandon everything when they climbed, and there wasn’t even a thought about bringing out anything.  You just climbed, and then you walked away from your camps.”

Read more: Ranger and volunteers clean up a Denali glacier. See photos at Alaska Public Media. 

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