MHW Tent Winner & Answers

| February 17, 2009

Winning location:

The Bering Glacier Scientific Camp on the southeast shore of Lake Vitus, Alaska.




"Glickster, get yer paws off of my tent." The Bering Glacier Camp with Vitus Lake in the background.

Ron Enns from Squamish, BC is the winner and nfrancois gets a runner-up prize!  Nice job guys! 

Ron is debating between a Spire 2.1 or an EV-2 tent.  Here’s how he found it:

I thought back to your New Zealand contest and tried to think of the type of question you might ask, which I thought might be a camping location somewhere on mountain itself, or a place from where expeditions to the mountain would originate. I did some searches on the internet over the last few days and tried to familiarize myself with the mountain and its named features (cols, glaciers, ridges, etc.) and the surrounding area. As soon as I read the Super Cluesday clue though, I knew I had to do some further quick internet searches. I kept checking the comments, thinking you might provide further clues (as you did do) and your additional clue about someone being able to see the location with binoculars from the location that he guessed helped me narrow down my internet searches. I made several guesses of cabins around the area in question, and fortunately one of them was right. 


You can get there from here. Click to enlarge and see details of the epic journey and wild terrain.

Lake Vitus details.


Details of the scientific camp can be found HERE.


Clue Answers:


#1 – Continent

In 1995 Troy Jungen (Beaver Indian) and Ptor Spricenienk skied the steep, exposed north face of Mt. Robson in the Canadian Rockies. They are both from Canada, which is part of the North American continent.


#2 – Country

Perhaps the ultimate bad-ass skier of all time, Steve McKinney (brother of Olympian Tamara McKinney) was the first person to break the 200 kh limit on skis.  Steve was from the Tahoe, California area, which is part of the country of America.  From left to right in the photo: Steve McKinney, Dick Dorworth, myself, Otis Kantz, Tim Tilton and Bill McKinley.  Photo by Craig Calonica?


#3 – Mountain Range or Zone

Known as “The Mountain Kingdom”, the Wrangell-St.Elias National Park and Preserve is the largest park in the US at over 13 million acres.  When combined with Canada’s Kluane National Park and Preserve next door, the total area exceeds 25 million square acres of the wildest terrain on the continent, if not the earth. The WSE Park contains the Wrangell, St. Elias, Chugach and Nutzotin/Mentasta mountain ranges.


#4 – Specific Peak

Mt. St. Elias is the second highest peak in America at 18,008’.  Due to its burly, remote location and no easy way down, it has attracted relatively few ski attempts over the years.  Of those who tried, Reid Sanders and Aaron Martin died while trying in 2002. In May of 2000 Lorne Glick, Andy Ward and James Bracken skied from the summit via the Mira Face and back to the Bagely Icefield.  In 2007, a Red Bull team with a reported budget of over 1 million Euros skied the lower section of the south side of St. Elias, then returned months later to ski the upper section, claiming it as the longest ski descent ever done.


#5 – Specific Location


Our epic journey begins at the top of the peak identified in clue #4… (Mt. St. Elias)


Gasp…gasp, shiver….shiver… let’s get going.  It is freezing cold, high and hard to breathe up here.  We’ve been climbing all night to get here and are now going to turn around and follow our boot tracks back down, repeating the line of the first descent (Lorne Glick 2000 descent).  Aside from being too numb to feel anything and bouncing over sustrugi so hard it chips our teeth out, the top part goes quickly and then leads to the business end of the descent – a beautiful, steep, open and exposed headwall.  There’s no time like now, so you start down its flanks which are covered with dragon-skin rippled powder over ice.  You’ve forgotten your camera, which is too bad as the face is so beautiful you could name a classic ski after it, or a small red-headed child. (The Mira Face.  Black Diamond named a ski after it (Mira) and our daughter is also named Mira.) 


Each turn brings you closer to terra firma, until at last you glide out on a vast open plane of dazzling white. (Bagley Icefield)  Thank god that’s over, but where do we go from here?  Looking left and right, you decide to follow the sun (setting sun = west) as it slowly sets and start walking.


And walking.  And walking.  At the stately pace of early Antarctic explorers, you cover 15km per day for five days and six hours in an almost straight line. (49 miles to the west along the Bagley) You wish you had brought your headphones and start to wonder if you are even still in the protected mountain zone you started in. (you eventually cross out of the WSE National Park & Preserve) Taking a breather you notice a natural arch (feature noted on map) and follow the flow of gravity around it.  (flow of gravity = turn south/left to the ocean)


The traveling surface is firmer now, but in a cruel twist of fate, it is also more broken up (Bering Glacier).  On the bright side, you are slowly trending downward and moving faster, but on dark side, you still have two full days of travel at twenty-five miles per day to get there, wherever there might be. (Travel another 50ish miles on the Bering Glacier)


Suddenly, the slope runs out and you can ski no more.  You are confronted with a body of water so vividly colored that you pray that it was given the first name of the explorer who first discovered it. (Lake Vitus, named after Vitus Bering) Wondering which way to go now, you hear the sound of large mammals (Bay of Whales) and begin contouring around the water in that direction.  Seeing nothing, you continue around a sharp point (Arrowhead Point), when suddenly it occurs to you… today is April 15th.  Taxes are due and you haven’t paid yours. (you are now at Taxpayers Bay) Fearing your great adventure is now going to end up in a lonely prison cell, you turn and look back in the direction you have come so far from.  Sigh.


With you mind on cell mates named Piston Bully and solitary confinement, your gaze drifts over towards the first man-made structures you have seen for weeks (scientific camp complete with a landing strip, satellite dish and antenna), including a BRAND NEW MOUNTAIN HARDWEAR TENT with your name on it!  Perhaps there is a bright future…


Within a 20 meter diameter, where exactly are you?

Thanks to Mountain Hardwear for sponsoring this contest! Help support and check out some of their excellent tents at, or by clicking on the photo below.


Category: MHW Tent

About the Author ()

Andrew McLean lives in Park City, Utah and is a gear designer, writer, photographer, ski mountaineer, climber, Mountain Unicycle rider and father of two very loud little girls.

Comments (1)

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  1. OMR says:

    Great contest! My boss loved every mintue of it:

    Boss (voice of grumpy, pms-inflicted women): “what are you working on? Pretty slow today, aren’t we?, and get off that damn itnernet thing”.

    OMR: “Just doing reaserch on WSENP for the lawyers”(sounds official enough – now get the hell outta-my cube . . .)

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