| February 17, 2009

Our epic journey begins on top of the peak identified in clue #4

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 and are now going to turn around and follow our boot tracks back down, repeating the line of the first ski descent of the peak.  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. 


Each turn brings you closer to terra firma, until at last you glide out on a vast open field of dazzling white.  Thank god that’s over, but where do we go from here?  Looking left and right, you decide to follow the sun 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.  You wish you had brought your headphones and start to wonder if you are even still in the protected mountain zone you started in.  Taking a breather you notice a natural arch and follow the flow of gravity around it. 


The traveling surface is firmer now, but in a cruel twist of fate, it is also more broken up.  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.


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. Wondering which way to go now, you hear the sound of large mammals and begin contouring around the water in that direction.  Seeing nothing, you continue around a sharp point, when suddenly something about the view reminds you… today is April 15th.  Taxes are due and you haven’t paid yours.  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, 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?



Entry Format:
Continent – (your answer)
Zone/Region – (your answer)
Mountain Range – (your answer)
Specific Peak – (your answer)
Specific Location – (your answer)

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 (110)

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  1. carl krag says:

    that Was fun – now get out there into the Pow

  2. Andrew says:

    Winning location details are up on the main page now.

  3. Neil R says:

    Continent – North America
    Zone/Region – USA
    Mountain Range – Wrangell St Elias Range
    Specific Peak – St Elias
Specific Location – Alaska Maratime Wildlife refuge

  4. Ron E says:

    Sent you an e-mail, Andrew. Thanks for the great contest (and tent)!

  5. Andrew says:

    Give me a few hours here Ron as I have to do some actual work. I’ll be back soom.

  6. Neil R says:

    Continent – North America
    Zone/Region – USA
    Mountain Range – Wrangell St Elias Range
    Specific Peak – St Elias
Specific Location – Million Dollar Bridge

  7. Brandon says:

    Yikes. How about a furthest from the correct answer prize? :)

  8. nfrancois says:

    Ron E…you must have beaten me by only seconds!!!! Congrats on the tent and the narrow victory! And a big thanks to Andrew for giving me a reason to avoid work and instead spend even more time thinking about skiing!

  9. vincent says:

    1. Continent: North America
    2. Country: USA
    3. Zone: Wrangell St. Elias National Park
    4. Specific Peak: Mt. St. Elias
    5. Exact Location: icy bay

  10. jack says:

    North America
    White Mountains
    Mount Baldy
    Apache Country, AZ

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