Winter hiking, Wrangell St. Elias National Park, Alaska.

Winter hiking, Wrangell St. Elias National Park, Alaska.

Hey Folks

That peak there in the middle of the frame is called “Donoho Peak”. I kid you not! And folks ask why I love ths place? I even have my own mountain (misspelled though it is)!

This is me (of course) looking up towards the Wrangell Mountains. Mt. Blackburn is just out of the frame, a 16 500′ mountain that rocks my world. The Kennicott Glacier roars down from the mountain on the west (our left) of Donoho Peak, and joins up with the Root Glacier which comes in from the right hand side of Donoho. This image was taken maybe 5 minutes after the previous one I posted, and maybe 15 yards away. Dramatically different view.

This is a good example of how much difference a dusting of snow can make. With no snow, this is all dirt and rock and moraine .. not very photogenic. The erosion wash that runs up towards the Kennicott Glacier here is normally flooding with glacial water, really dirty, super cold, fast, and not something you want to play around with. It’s about dried up by this time of year. This photo was taken about 30 minutes before my calf muscle tore, and I fell down and cried. Then I hobbled back to my camp, looking quite the wimp. It’s healed up pretty well by now though, which I’m happy about.

My dad, when I spoke with him about my injury, asked if I put ice on it. I said “uhhmmm, no.” The temperature was about 0˚ Fahrenheit when I got back to camp, and I was hardly going to ice down anything – making it colder didn’t seem like it was that crucial, at the time. I got inside my sleeping bag and whimpered myself to sleep. The next morning, of course, I could hardly walk. But I soldiered on, like a real trooper; a real bonafide Alaskan!



PS – I didn’t REALLY cry. Or even whimpered. I think I did cuss a little though. Sorry mum! 🙂

18 thoughts on “Winter hiking, Wrangell St. Elias National Park, Alaska.

  1. Guy

    If it was 0F wouldn’t ice make it some 32 degrees *warmer*? 🙂
    Seriously, ice is good for stopping inflammation but muscles actually need heat to heal. Take a lot of showers and run a lot of hot water over your calf to help it mend.

    Oh, and it’s STILL not winter…


  2. Carl Donohue

    Hey Guy

    You know, that’s good thinking about the 32˚ warmer. I’ll remember that!

    I agree, heat is for ‘healing’. 🙂 But, for the first 48, some say even 72 hours, ice is the stuff – reduces swelling AND numbs the pain. 🙂 .. heat is good to apply after the damage has kinda stopped .. which can take a coupla days sometimes, depending on the injury. I don’t think you wanna apple heat to a brand new injury. That’s what I’ve been told, anyway.

    Oh, it’s not winter today .. it’s almost sunny, so no, winter isn’t here today. But it was here yesterday. 🙂

    Thanks for dropping by.



  3. Ron Niebrugge

    Only 0 – Oh that’s right, you were there in the fall. 🙂

    Glad your leg is doing better. Injuries are no fun, especially for photographers, we need to be able to hike. Man, that had to be a tough hike out. Were you camping in your tent, or staying in those cabins?

    Did I see your truck along Turnigain Arm today?

    By the way, ice doesn’t stop cooling at 32.

    Thanks for sharing your adventures Carl, I enjoy reading about them!


  4. Carl Donohue

    Hey Ron,

    Nah, all the cabins are locked up. There are 2 B&Bs that stay open pretty much year round, but I’ve never stayed at those.

    If you saw my truck, you shoulda called me . as far as I know it was in Anchorage all day. 🙂 .. What were you doing on Turnagin?

    You mean ice can be colder than 32˚? Crazee stuff!!!

    I’m glad you enjoy reading about them man. Thanks for posting.



  5. Ron Niebrugge

    Nothing exciting – wasn’t doing any shooting. We have taken on a little remodel project, so we ran up to Anchorage to buy some kitchen cabinets and a bunch of other stuff trying to make our old house a little more livable.

  6. Carl Donohue

    Hey Ron,

    Your house is perfectly livable – hell, you could live in a shoebox with that view and be pretty darn content!

    You should have hollered and we could’ve had lunch or something. I might not be in town when you come back next.



  7. Janine Niebrugge

    Yeah I agree. We aren’t doing much, but Janine is tired of the bright orange 1070’s counter tops for some reason. I still think they are coming back!

    I thought about giving you a ring. Actually meet my folks for lunch, and had a ton to do and ran out of time.

    Where are you going? Not that I have any plans to be back to Anchorage – hopefully the next time is to fly south in Feb. 🙂


  8. Carl Donohue

    hey Ron,

    I didn’t even think they HAD counter tops in 1070. 🙂

    Where am I going? Ah ha, just wait and see – all shall be revealed, in due time, grasshopper.



  9. Neil Donohue

    You should have known that if you go hiking on glaciers you are almost certain to bring a CRAMP on.
    For your other readers; When he injured his elbow mountain biking when he was in AtlantaI, I have it on good authority that he whimpered all the way to the hospital.
    As for where are your parents when things go wrong, I know what the story would have been if we had been there when his van broke down on the bridge. We would have been pushing the van while he sat up and steered. I remember the bridge very vividly; I was too scared to get out of the van to look down into the gorge, I don’t know how Carl managed to push it across the bridge on his own – must have inherited his mother’s strength I guess. Dad

  10. Carl Donohue

    Hey Dad

    You know, I am still the administrator of this website, and I CAN ban you. Then you’ll have to have mum help you sign on. So watch it, mister! No bad puns, and no hearsay! Those are the rules (I’m a stickler for rules).

    Aren’t you supposed to be completing your so-called ‘account’ of your vacation?



  11. Mark

    Hey Carl – I think I see the resemblance with good ol’ Mt. Donoho. :-p

    And re: 1070’s orange – we have that in our kitchen! One of the last remaining 1970s decor from the prior owners…

  12. Carl Donohue

    Hey Mark,

    🙂 .. Yeah, I’m reasonably sure they named Donoho Peak after me .. I can’t imagine why more mountains haven’t been similarly named. So far Donoho Peak and Denali (“the Great One”) are the only peaks I know of named after myself. 🙂 🙂 🙂

    You guys and The Niebrugge folks should do a house-swap, with your respective affinities for orange counter tops.



  13. Neil Donohue


    And as for that cussing – any more of that and I’ll send your Mum over to wash your mouth out with soap and water.

    The problem is that Carl was under-regulated as a child. This shows up in some of his writings. A little more regulation would have made the world of difference.


  14. Carl Donohue

    Hey Dad

    Speaking of ‘regulating’, just you remember that I have full administration powers over this website, and can delete, edit and even ban your posts. So be nice. 🙂



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