Monday, March 26, 2012

California to Alaska and back

Last Saturday I set out from Badwater in Death Valley California. It was the first day of 144 day trip to cycle solo to Denali National Park in Alaska where I will try to summit Mt. McKinley; and then if all goes to plan, I will cycle back to Badwater.

Badwater is -282 feet below sea level. Mt. McKinley in 20320 feet above sea level. They represent the lowest and highest points in North America, and they are separated by 3750 miles. So this ride is from low point to high point and then back to low.

My goal is to do this ride all by my own power. In particular that means hiking 45 miles to Mt. McKinley, foregoing the normal plane ride from Talkeetna to the base camp at 7200 feet. And once on the summit, turning around and hiking back out to my bike, for the ride back.

The cycling route is taking Interstate 15 from Las Vegas all the way to the border with Canada, then up to Calgary and Edmonton, then over to Dawsons Creek where I will pick up the Alaskan Highway towards Fairbanks. This route is flatter, dryer, and a bit warmer then going along the coast.

I'm averaging 68 miles a day, and riding for 55 days in a row just to get to Alaska I took all the rest days out of the trip to push the start date as far into Spring as possible and try to avoid as much snow and cold weather. Round trip, the ride will be 7800 miles over 110 days.

After hiking in from the south side of the mountain from Petersville, the combing route will be the less technical West Buttress, a very common route for most of the climbers. After reaching the summit, The climbing team and I will head North and hike/climb down the mountain into Denali National Park and to Wonder Lake, 25 miles away. While the climbing team will board a buss, I will switch back to my bike and begin the ride home. I all, the climb and hike will cover 116 miles over 31 days.

After the first week on the road I have made a short video and took a few pictures:

Week #1

Location:Layton, Utah


  1. Good luck on your journey. You're an absolute inspiration, Chris! I can't wait to start on a tour of my own, and that's a lot of thanks to you alone.

    Congratulations on a good first week and enjoy your days on the road.


  2. We will be watching you with great interest. We met you at CIBC in Ventura. Thanks for sharing. Ann and Alan Hellmann

  3. You are the man. As always my wandering friend. I owe you and Ali Sushi Marina as soon as you get back. :) BE SAFE. -peter & karen duffy