A lesson from the White Princess
The White Princess is a lovely snow capped mountain in the Delta mountains of Alaska. I first read about it 4 years ago and always planned to climb it on this trip. After careful planning we were ready to go , and I will say our rucksacks were a beautiful sight. Festooned with ice axe, crampons, snow shovel, rope and stuffed with tent, food and sleeping kit, in a word … adventure. Although I knew it was a little on the heavy side, when hefted on my back it seemed ok. Now a quick word on Alaskan mountains. No trails exist, scant notes on the web, topo maps lacking in detail, so behold a true wilderness adventure you think!
From the highway a promising track ends in a few meters and gives way to a rocky river bed, not so bad you say. Next lateral and terminal glacial moraine, ok, that's to be expected. The moraine slopes get steeper and slippery, rocks fall from the cliffs above. Time to get onto the glacier you think. The slope to the glacier is steep and below the three inches of rock and mud is solid ice which makes for an energy sapping climb. Then the glacier …. Oh my, what's this mud, and rock, and gorse. What happened to the nice European glacier with its crevasses and glazing of rocks. While you tell yourself its going to work out, your altimeter tells another story. Miles still to go and 6 hours used up for not so much gain. Nowhere in sight to even think of camping. Giving up is never easy but a decision has to be made , it hurts to say, but we are just
too slow. We have only three days food, and are not up for this sort of terrain. Back we go for another six ho
urs, sooo happy to see the highway and yet a little sad to have walked away. Wilderness adventure they say, a good path and a guide book next time I say.