In episode 3 of West of Center, we head north to the Alaska Range in winter. It’s here where you’ll learn about frigid temps, talking with ravens, and Jonathan Waterman’s first winter time ascent of Denali’s Cassin Ridge. Not to mention you’ll meet a mountaineer nicknamed the Japanese Caribou.
But first, here’s some background info: I initially read Waterman’s account of his Cassin climb in a classic essay titled The Winter of Our Discontent. The original story was collected twenty years ago in his book, In The Shadow of Denali. And Waterman recently updated his Cassin essay in a 2013 collection titled Northern Exposures.
Waterman has a storied legacy in the Alaska Range, where he spent many years as a climbing ranger. More recently, he has dedicated his considerable intellect and energies to preserving wild places and resources like the Colorado River.
Grab your headphones and zip up the down jacket.
Photos Courtesy of the Joe Puryear collection.
The Cassin Ridge rises up the center from the left.