Photography by Jim Doty

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Flight Around Denali
Denali National Park, Alaska

August 31, 2000. The pilot, Greg LaHaie, called it a "2 percent day."  I asked what he meant and he said they only get one or two days in a flying season each year that are that clear. We took off from the little airstrip near Kantishna and headed south. You can see Denali (on the right) and the Alaska Range through the windshield. 

Pioneer Ridge is the brightly lit ridge just below the wing which leads to the North Summit of Denali. Carpe Ridge and Mt. Carpe are to the left. Muldrow Glacier is in between the two ridges. You are looking southwest.

The photo to the right is Traleika Glacier looking northeast. We are northeast of Denali's summit.

We flew around Denali in a clockwise direction. The Denali massif is surrounded by a number of ridges, buttresses, glaciers, and many other peaks both large and small. The photo to the left is looking east from just west of Mt. McGonagall. The valley in the dark is Cache creek. You can see another angle in the photo on page 84 of Mount McKinley, The Conquest of Denali by Bradford Washburn and David Roberts.

Mount Hunter (to the left) is one of the major peaks just south of Denali. We flew between the two peaks. The pilot, at my request, tipped the wing up just enough to clear the summit for this photo. There is an interesting comparison photo of Mount Hunter, taken from the summit of Denali, by Bradford Washburn on July 10, 1951. You can find this photo in Mount McKinley, The Conquest of Denali by Washburn and David Roberts on page 132. If you are intrigued by Denali, you should read this book.

The photos to the right was taken on the south side of the mountain.  We are over the upper Ruth Glacier (not visible in this photo) looking at the ridges that span up to form the South Buttress. We are just north of Mt. Dan Beard.

The photo to the left was taken near the Mountain  House (Don Sheldon built) on the Ruth Glacier looking south. This is just east of what the maps call the Rooster Comb. The distant glacier is the Tokisitna. It was a gorgeous day to fly and the scenery was stunning. If you are in the area and have an opportunity to fly around  Denali, don't miss it!

A larger view of the top three photos

A larger view of the bottom four photos

We flew with Kantishna Air Taxi from the airstrip at the end of the park road. The pilot identified ridges, glaciers, buttresses, peaks, cols and other places of interest as we circled Denali. He would even double back so photographers on BOTH sides of the plane could get a good shot. It was great! For more information, go to the Kantishna Air Taxi website. Tell Greg I sent you!

March 16, 2003
Updated Mar. 31, 2003

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