Today, Friday, is day one of the two-day blow-out. Tomorrow will be even more exciting as AAI Guide Kurt Hicks will be doing climbing clinics adjacent to the sale, all day long!
--Jason D. Martin
The busy summer season has ended at Denali National Park and Preserve, and visitors can now drive private vehicles on the Denali Park Road as far as the Teklanika River Rest Area at Mile 30, weather permitting. Visitors are advised to call ahead for weather and road information, as conditions can change rapidly at this time of the year.
On Tuesday, September 20, a project to replace all culverts under the paved portion of the road, i.e. Mile 1 – 15, will begin. Visitors should expect minor traffic delays due to one lane traffic at several locations along that portion of the road.
Vault toilets will be available at the Mountain Vista Trailhead (Mile 12), Savage River parking area (Mile 15) and the Teklanika River Rest Area through September. Other park facilities west of headquarters, such as campgrounds and restrooms, are closed for the season.
Beginning on Saturday, October 1, the park road will be closed to vehicles beyond Park Headquarters (Mile 3) in order to replace the large culverts between there and the Savage River (Mile 15). Both lanes will need to be excavated due to the large size of the culverts, making sections of the road impassable by vehicle. The road will be available to pedestrians and bicyclists, but they will need to walk around construction sites and stay alert for trucks and other heavy equipment. The culvert replacement project is scheduled to continue until November 23, weather permitting. Work will resume in the spring.
On Wednesday, September 21 the Murie Science and Learning Center (MSLC) will begin functioning as the winter visitor center. The MSLC is open daily from 9:00 am – 4:00 pm to provide park information and backcountry permits.
The Bear Loop of the Riley Creek Campground at Mile 0.2 will remain open for camping, but the water has been turned off for the season. A vault toilet is provided for campers and water can be obtained at the Murie Science and Learning Center. Gas, food service and lodging are available in the communities of Healy and Cantwell.
Denali National Park and Preserve collects an entrance fee year-round. The entrance fee of $10 per person or $20 per vehicle is good for seven days. The majority of the money collected remains in the park to be used for projects to improve visitor services and facilities. Interagency Federal Recreation Passes such as the Annual, Senior, and Access Pass, and the Denali Annual Pass are also valid for entry into the park. Visitors can pay entrance fees at the Murie Science and Learning Center.
Additional park information is available on the park website at www.nps.gov/dena or by calling (907) 683-9532 from 9:00 am – 4:00 pm daily. Stay connected with “DenaliNPS” on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, and iTunes – links to these social media sites are available at www.nps.gov/dena.
Fire Management staff at Denali National Park and Preserve will burn piles of debris in Kantishna, at the western end of the Denali Park Road, beginning late evening on Monday, September 19 and continuing through Friday, September 23, conditions permitting. The debris pile is located in a gravel pit near the junction of Eureka Creek and the park road.
Smoke may be visible from the surrounding area and from aircraft. NPS Fire Management staff will be monitoring the burn on site, which is expected to last three to four days. The material being burned is natural debris resulting from hazard fuel reduction treatment (fire protection) around structures, brushing along the park road, and from various park maintenance projects.
Additional park information can be obtained by calling (907) 683-9532 from 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. daily or on the web at www.nps.gov/dena. Stay connected with "DenaliNPS" on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, and iTunes – links to these social media sites are available at www.nps.gov/dena .
Why are there two different poles? Good question!
The magnetic north and south poles are the ends of the magnetic field around the earth. The magnetic field is created by magnetic elements in the earth's fluid outer core and this molten rock does not align perfectly with the axis around which the earth spins.
There are actually many different sources of magnetic activity around and in the world. All those influencing factors combine to create the north and south attractions at each spot on the globe. The actual strength and direction of 'north' is slightly different everywhere, but it is generally towards the 'top' of the planet.
Magnetic declination varies both from place to place, and with the passage of time. As a traveller cruises the east coast of the United States, for example, the declination varies from 20 degrees west (in Maine) to zero (in Florida), to 10 degrees east (in Texas), meaning a compass adjusted at the beginning of the journey would have a true north error of over 30 degrees if not adjusted for the changing declination.
In most areas, the spatial variation reflects the irregularities of the flows deep in the earth; in some areas, deposits of iron ore or magnetite in the Earth's crust may contribute strongly to the declination. Similarly, secular changes to these flows result in slow changes to the field strength and direction at the same point on the Earth.
The magnetic declination in a given area will change slowly over time, possibly as much as 2-2.5 degrees every hundred years or so, depending upon how far from the magnetic poles it is. This may be insignificant to most travellers, but can be important if using magnetic bearings from old charts or metes (directions) in old deeds for locating places with any precision.
The naming of routes is a difficult matter,
it isn't just one of those holiday games;
You may think at first that I'm as mad as a hatter
when I tell you a route must have the most perfect of names.
When a climber makes a first ascent he or she secures a great honor. The climber claims the right to name the route. This honor has led to some very interesting names over the years. Following are ten of my favorites:
Denali National Park and Preserve recently concluded a multi-year public engagement process regarding a proposed increase to the Special Use Fee that directly supports management of climbing activities on Mt. McKinley and Mt. Foraker.
After a lengthy examination of current program costs, analysis of public comment, and collaboration with national climbing organizations, Denali National Park and Preserve will increase its Mountaineering Use Fee from $200 to $250 for youth ages 24 and under, and $350 for all other Mt. McKinley and Mt. Foraker climbers. The fee increase will go into effect for the 2012 mountaineering season. In future years, fees will be adjusted periodically based on actual costs, not to exceed changes in the cumulative consumer price index.
Denali National Park's mountaineering special use fee was established in 1995 when the National Park Service (NPS) was charged with developing a program to reduce the accident rate and loss of human life on Mt. McKinley and Mt. Foraker. At that time, an NPS regulatory notice announced that a $150 fee per climber would be used to "help offset mountaineering administrative costs associated with prepositioning and maintaining the high-altitude ranger camp at 14,200-feet on the West Buttress route, mountaineering patrol salaries, education materials aimed at reducing the number of accidents, transportation of supplies." Over the years, the fee has also enabled the park to start and sustain effective human waste and garbage management programs on Mt. McKinley.
Despite a 2005 increase in the fee from $150 to $200, fee revenue covered only 17% of the cost of this specialized program in 2010, whereas the fee initially covered approximately 30% of the cost. Climber numbers over the past decade have remained essentially flat, as has NPS staffing. Excluding costs of the high altitude helicopter portion of the program, operational expenses have gone up significantly, due mainly to inflation.
In an effort to find a more sustainable funding model, park management began informal discussions in 2006 with leadership from the American Alpine Club, the Access Fund, and the American Mountain Guides Association, as well as park concessioners and other stakeholders in the climbing community. In October 2010, the park formally initiated a proposal to increase the fee.
The public was invited to comment on the proposal last year during a formal public comment period. During that period, five public open houses were held in Alaska, Washington, and Colorado as a forum for park staff to present information on the program and answer questions. Almost 500 public comments were submitted, the majority of which indicated they would support some aspect of a climbing fee increase, as long as the increase was reasonable and equitable. Other comments submitted called for the elimination of the use fee altogether, while at the opposite end of the spectrum, several comments suggested full cost recovery including a fee increase up to $1,500 per climber.
According to Park Superintendent Paul Anderson, "Mountain climbing represents a longstanding tradition at Denali National Park dating back to the first ascent of Mt. McKinley in 1913. Climbing fulfills one of our park's fundamental purposes. As such, we are committed to sharing in the cost of the program and continuing to allocate appropriate levels of the park's base funding to the climbing program."
Based on input collected during the public process, the National Park Service has determined to implement a basic fee increase from $200 to $350, as well as a discounted fee of $250 for all climbers age 24 and younger. This recommendation supports both NPS and Department of the Interior youth initiatives and responds to public concerns about the potential impact of fee increases on young and less affluent climbers, students, and families.
In a statement by Phil Powers, Executive Director of the American Alpine Club said, "This is an example of the kind of considered process that results in policy we can support. I want to applaud Paul Anderson and the National Park Service for opening up their process and listening to the concerns of the climbing community."
Superintendent Anderson indicated the park's mountaineering program will strive to institute many of the suggestions for operational efficiencies gathered during the public process. "We are grateful to the various climbing organizations for investing significant time and resources into learning more about Denali's climbing program, and for helping to inform the general public."
For additional information on the mountaineering program or cost recovery special use fee visit the park website. Contact South District Ranger John Leonard for questions about the fee at (907) 733-9105 or by email. Media inquiries should be directed to Public Affairs Officer Kris Fister at (907) 683-9583 or by email.
Winter Courses and Expeditions
Now Taking Reservations
Rock Climb Red Rocks - Las Vegas, Nevada
Rock Climb Joshua Tree - California
Ecuador Volcanoes Skills Expedition
Backcountry Skiing - Washington
Backcountry Skiing - Colorado
Backcountry Skiing - Sierra
Winter Mountaineering - Sierra
Ice Climb Ouray - Colorado
Ice Climb Lee Vining - Sierra
Avalanche Education - Washington
Summer Courses Expeditions
Now Taking Reservations
Denali / Mt. McKinley Climbs
Alaska Range Expeditions
St. Elias Range Expeditions
Bugaboo Provincial Park Expeditions
Pacific Northwest Climbing Programs
Sierra Nevada Climbing Programs