Dave Johnston Completes Quest to Climb all 50 in Winter

First Winter Ascent of Mount McKinleyThe News Tribune reports Dave Johnston, a 62-year-old climber from Talkeetna, Alaska, is the first man to climb to the highest point in all 50 states in the winter. He’s also reached the summits in the summer.

In 2003, Johnston, his wife, Cari Sayre, and son Galen all completed 50. That same year, Galen became the youngest person to check off the list at age 12.

This was Johnston’s third winter attempt on Rainier. In 2003 he bunked with Rainier lead climbing Ranger Mike Gauthier and his attempt was thwarted when he spent the time looking for missing climbers and wound up skiing off the edge of a cliff breaking three ribs.

He made another attempt on March 6 with Seattle-climbing guide Jim Litch who had made 100 earlier Rainier summits but none in winter (and had also summited Everest) but turned back because of high winds. They were successful on March 14 although it took six hours rather than his usual 4 hour summer climbing time to reach it from Muir.

The 6’6″ Johnston is probably most famous for his 1967 first winter ascent of McKinley — a climb in which one member of the party died by falling into a crevasse and the party on the descent was forced to spend six days in a small ice cave while a wind storm dropped temps to -148. The book is immortalized in “Minus 148.”
Article on Dave Johnston Completing All 50 States in Winter

Screenshot of article about the completion.

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