A Progress Report on the Birthday Pack-Out Initiative

June 02, 2017 Posted by: Roger Robinson and Maureen Gualtieri
Mountaineering rangers are celebrating Denali National Park and Preserve's centennial by encouraging climbers to remove 100 percent of their human waste. Climbers who are packing out all their waste are receiving a special commemorative flag in appreciation for their efforts.
Sustainable Summits Flag

With around 75% of the estimated 1,100 climbers already checked in to climb Denali this season, we have counted over 300 participating. This is an exceptional number – almost three times as many as rangers originally anticipated!  We’ve seen tremendous participation from all over the globe, including climbers from Poland, Russia, Argentina, Netherlands, Ukraine, South Africa, Nepal, Canada, and Australia.  

As of June 1, eighteen participating teams have completed their climbs and successfully packed off all their waste -- including three guided parties from American Alpine Institute and Alpine Ascents International. 

Rangers and staff are collecting valuable feedback on the pack-outs from returning climbers. With the widespread participation from both big teams and small ones, an array of excellent ideas have been shared on efficient caching strategies, storage/transportation, as well as other words of support for the program.
 “Being able to cache the waste along the way made this a very achievable goal. We cached our first can at 11K, our second can at 14K. It was easy to ski it out on a sled from there. Make this a policy!”
~Ben P. and Dave M. 

NPS rangers will study this feedback over the winter to develop and share new ideas on how to best implement a future waste management program.  

Congratulations – and thank you -- to all these participants!

A three-person climbing team displays their Sustainable Summits flag
A climbing team from New Mexico recently returned from Denali having successfully packed out all their human waste...including Peter Geib, Jared Purcell, and Andreas Schmidt.  NPS Photo/Roger Robinson

And if you haven’t listened to it already, you can listen in to a recent KTNA 88.9 FM Community Radio interview "Stepping up the game on Denali's human waste" with Ranger Roger Robinson, one of the worldwide leaders in promoting clean climbing ethics. 

Last updated: June 2, 2017

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