National Geographic : 1953 Aug
glacier to Kahiltna Pass, 10,300 feet high. We were the first persons in history ever to set foot on this lofty, snow-covered saddle (page 233). Even at midnight the northern sky was still a deep red as twilight slowly merged into dawn. Be tween turns at the shovels, digging a firm base for our tent in the deep, loose snow in the pass, we stood catch ing our breath and looked up at the towering pink cliffs of McKinley. Mas sive granite walls of the West Buttress, more than a vertical mile above us, rose so near that they hid McKinley's summit, 4,300 feet still higher and five miles farther away. The temperature was 90 above zero. Not the slight est sound broke the eerie silence of the heights except our voices and the steady thudding of the snow as we p shoveled. On our first radio call we picked up the CAA station at Talkeetna, 60 miles away and squarely behind the huge mass of Mount Hunter. The signals came through loud and clear. It was a great relief to know that our base camp was assured of reliable communication with the outside world. We asked Talkeetna to telephone the 10th Res Surveying in the Snow Is No Joke Top: The author sights through a Wild theodolite at Kahiltna Pass. Expedition member Hackett takes notes. Difficulties of high-altitude sur veying include wind, glare, cold, and the effects of anoxia-de ficiency of oxygen. Umbrella shades the instrument. .To steady the theodolite, water is poured around tripod legs; ice forms quickly and holds them firm.