The Mount Shasta Trail Association is sponsoring a presentation on climbing Mount Denali in Alaska. The presenter is southern Oregon resident Sean Bagshaw, a professional photographer and experienced climber.
Climbers on Mount Denali. (Photo by Sean Bagshaw)
Here’s the Mount Shasta Trail Association press release written by MSTA vice president and professional photographer Mark Gibson:
Gripped perpetually by subfreezing temperatures and cloaked by five massive glaciers, the world famous mountain known as Denali (“the Great One”) beckons intrepid mountaineers from around the world. With a summit peak that is 20,320 feet above sea level, Denali (also known as Mount McKinley) is the highest peak in North America. An aspect that is painfully evident to climbers is that the peak rises 18,000 feet from its base (which is 6,000 feet more than Everest rises above its base, the Tibetan Plateau). There is also a higher risk of altitude illness for climbers than its altitude would otherwise suggest, due to its high latitude. It all adds up to a long and merciless climb to reach the summit, where climbers can encounter temperatures as low as -100 degrees below freezing.
So, you might ask, “What’s the big attraction?” You’ll have your chance to get this question and many others answered by veteran mountaineer and world renown adventure photographer Sean Bagshaw when he presents his multi-media program, “Above The Shadow Lands“ on Wednesday evening, March 4th, at The Stage Door Coffee House in Mt. Shasta. He’ll describe the preparations he and his partner made before their last Denali climb, which required two weeks for the ascent and 20 hours for the non-stop descent while towing a 100-lb gear sled. On one of his trips he met local climber Laurie Bagley, and their groups ascended the mountain nearly side-by side.
The first ascent of the main summit of McKinley came on June 7, 1913 by a party led by Hudson Stuck. The first man to reach the summit was Walter Harper, an Alaska Native. Harry Karstens and Robert Tatum also made the summit. Tatum later commented, “The view from the top of Mount McKinley is like looking out the windows of Heaven!”
The mountain is regularly climbed today, with just over 50% of the expeditions successful, although it is still a dangerous undertaking. By 2003, the mountain had claimed the lives of nearly 100 mountaineers.
“In 1998 I climbed Denali as part of a six person team,” explained Sean. “It was a great adventure, but we had a few difficulties. The size of the group was a challenge and the weather kept us on the mountain for three weeks. In 2005 I went back with my climbing partner, Brock. Better conditions, more experience and an efficient two-person team made for smoother ascent. However, I still almost didn’t make it.
“Climbing Denali is one of the hardest things I have ever done twice. The route we climbed isn’t particularly technical and I’m not a great climber. However, the mountain is big and cold. Setting the goal and then preparing for and experiencing everything it takes to live, survive and reach the summit in that harsh environment made it an enormously powerful and rewarding experience, both times.”
Says Sean of his outdoor endeavors, “I have spent a good portion of my adult life pursuing adventure in the wilderness and experiencing as much of the world as I can through travel. Even as a kid, climbing and backpacking in the Sierras and Cascades, and traveling to the West Indies and China instilled in me a passion for exploring the world not just as a spectator but as a participant. I began taking photographs about 15 years ago to document my adventures. I seem to have a need for artistic outlet, but I can’t sit still long enough to complete a painting and the process of creative writing is painful for me.
“I capture my images with digital SLR cameras. To maintain my experience as a participant in my adventures I often only bring along a single camera body and one lens secured in a chest harness allowing me the freedom to hike, mountain bike, climb and ski.
“The more I learn to recognize unique moments and patterns through the lens the more I am able to produce images that are not merely documentary, but have the added qualities of being compelling to the mind and pleasing to the eye. One goal that I have for my photographs is to include unexpected and yet natural elements that surprise and perhaps even confuse.
Bagshaw’s vivid adventure and nature photographs can be viewed at his website: www.outdoorexposurephoto.com, where information on his adventures can be obtained along with directions for ordering custom color prints.
This program is presented by the Mt. Shasta Trail Association. Admission is by donation at the door, and guests are encouraged to have dinner at The Stage Door previous to the program.
Stage Door Coffee House, 414 N. Mt. Shasta Blvd.
Wednesday evening, March 4th, 7pm.
More information: Mark Gibson 926-5966