A Tale of Inner Adventure
By Justin T. Carreño
I was introduced to Mt. McKinley, or 'Denali,' as it's commonly known, during the summer of 1998. I was working, at the time, for the National Park Service in Denali National Park and Preserve as a cartographer and GIS analyst. The mountain was always there, of course. But I finally saw it, during one of the few times it was not shrouded by clouds, when I was on one of my forays in the back-country. Previously, it really hadn't been part of my conciousness; the weather surrounding it, keeping its peaks hidden most of the time. What I now encountered was an inspiring sight, and I immediately knew that Denali would be a future destination -- hopefully the following summer, I thought. It wouldn't be until nine years later that I returned to climb Denail's famed West Bustress Route.
The West Buttress is also known as the Washburn Route, named after Bradford Washburn (1910-2007), who made the first ascent via that route in 1951. Washburn, a Harvard graduate and a Bostonian, was known for his pioneering achievements in aerial photography, cartography, and the use of both in analyzing mountaineering routes, most notably on Mt. McKinley and Mt. Everest.