We arrive at K2 Aviation at 8:30 am. We meet our pilot Mike, go over safety instructions and they load seven of us into a ten seat Otter.
We buckle up, put our headsets on and are cleared for take off.
The morning is still and bright as we head to the Alaska Mountain Range.
Our sight-seeing tour of Mount McKinely and neighboring mountains is spectacular!
Ruth Glacier is 40 miles long…
…and measured (in 1983) to be 3800 feet thick.
We see Mount McKinely and Mount Hunter…
Mike surprises us with an announcement that we are landing on Kahiltna Glacier (the longest glacier in the Alaska Range at 45 miles long)…
…to pick up three McKinley climbers at Kahiltna base camp.
Mike points out the climbers trails up McKinley.
We line up for the landing.
We are warned not to stray…
…far from the plane. The glacier is fragile in places and very dangerous.
The climbers load their stuff into the Otter.
Time to head back
This stuff endured three weeks of cold and snow on Mount Mc Kinley!
More stunning sights…
…on the flight back.
This afternoon in the beer garden at the Denali Brewing Company we chat with these three climbers from Boston Mass. They spent a month on the mountain and summited McKinley in 21 days. They were on the mountain when four Japanese climbers were killed in an avalanche in June. We were camping in Denali National Park at the time of the avalanche.
They endure our questions for over an hour…Very nice men and very humble about their accomplishment.
We end our spectacular day with a spectacular meal at the Wildflower Cafe…Fresh Almond Encrusted Halibut…Oh Boy!