Project Jukebox

Digital Branch of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Oral History Program
Doug Geeting

Doug Geeting was interviewed on February 27, 1992 by Bill Brown in the Doug Geeting Aviation office at the airport in Talkeetna, Alaska. Doug is a big, energetic man, and was busy that day taking phone call bookings for the upcoming climbing season on Denali. In this interview, Doug provides detailed and colorful descriptions of mountain flying, rescues, and his own motivations as a glacier pilot. He also talks about the beauty of the mountains, the attitudes of climbers, and how the National Park Service is managing climbers on Denali.

Digital Asset Information

Archive #: Oral History 1993-02-02

Project: Denali Mountaineering
Date of Interview: Feb 27, 1992
Narrator(s): Doug Geeting
Interviewer(s): Bill Brown
Location of Interview:
Funding Partners:
National Park Service
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1) Personal background

2) Mountain flying techniques

3) Flying at Denali and dealing with difficult conditions

4) Rescue work

5) Influence on mountaineering

6) National Park Service's climbing management program

7) Climbing accident on Mount Foraker

8) Being responsible versus taking risks

9) Relationship with climbers and development of a brotherhood

10) Rescue of Jim Wickwire after death of partner, Chris Kerrebrock

11) Premonition about needing to rescue Jim Wickwire

12) Rescue of Japanese climber, Naomi Uemura

13) Differences in attitudes and techniques of climbers from various countries

14) Management of garbage and waste on the mountain

15) Dealing with the National Park Service and regulations

16) Techniques for carrying out air drops to groups on the mountain

17) Quality of guides on the mountain

18) Role of women as climbers, guides and in basecamp management

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Section 1: Anchorage\ flight instructor\ Talkeetna\ Hudson, Cliff\ flight service -- history\ mountain flying|

Section 2: flying -- techniques\ flying -- trial & error\ glacier\ airspeed -- control of\ approach -- speed\ headwind\ cross wind\ maneuvering -- mountains\ approach -- decision point\ survival -- techniques\ high-altitude -- flying|

Section 3: weather\ weather -- backdoor\ flying -- visibility restrictions\ climbers -- anxiety|

Section 4: rescue -- searching\ Sharp, Jim\ airplane\ Cessna 185\ airstrip -- 14,000 ft.|

Section 5: mountaineering -- popularity\ climbers -- increase in\ Sheldon, Don\ Hudson, Cliff\ Holland, Kenny\ Denali -- flight training\ flight training -- FAA restrictions\ flying -- changes|

Section 6: National Park Service -- infrastructure\ Talkeetna\ basecamp\ medical camp\ Waterman, John -- book\ routes\ climbers -- un-qualified\ guides\ Covington, Mike\ Genet, Ray\ climbing -- changes\ medical assessment\ edema\ deaths -- medical\ accidents\ summit -- desire for\ adventure\ intimidation\ attitude\ advice\ death -- reporting to family|

Section 7: Mount Foraker -- South East Ridge\ deaths -- Mount Foraker\ avalanche\ danger -- warning\ death -- reporting to family\ death -- planning for\ responsibility\ family\ risk taking\ finances\ advice\ arrogance\ widows|

Section 8: rescue -- risks\ thrill\ pioneering\ responsibility -- to family\ family -- informing\ family -- expectations\ safety\ accidents\ weather\ risk taking\ risk -- gratuitious\ aerobatics\ air shows\ responsibility -- lack of\ insurance -- life\ family -- burden\ adreniline rush\ climbing -- fun\ summit -- not important|

Section 9: climbers -- relationship\ friendships\ brotherhood\ rescue -- Thayer Basin\ mountain landing -- dangers|

Section 10: Wickwire, Jim -- rescue\ crevasse\ death\ Kerrebrock, Chris\ Peters Glacier\ communication -- radio\ airplane -- damage\ weather -- change\ options -- lack of\ risk taking\ decision making|

Section 11: decision making\ rescue\ Wickwire, Jim\ premonition\ detour\ victim -- finding\ success\ worry -- lack of|

Section 12: rescue -- Japanese 1983\ rescue -- Uemura, Naomi\ climbing -- solo\ climbing -- winter\ weather -- change\ snow hole\ rescue -- reporting on\ rescue -- failure\ rescue -- controversy|

Section 13: climbers -- attitude\ climbers -- differences\ cultures -- differences\ German -- climbers, comparison\ Europe -- climbers, comparison\ Japanese -- climbers, comparison\ climbing -- techniques\ altitude sickness\ frostbite\ accidents -- falling\ climbing route -- The Oriental Express\ equipment -- comparison\ group organization|

Section 14: mountain -- respect for\ use -- level of\ garbage -- removal\ waste -- human\ crevasses -- use of\ clean-up -- patrol\ air service -- responsibility of\ garbage -- management of\ National Park Service\ waste -- Chinese\ punishment\ access -- denial of\ garbage problem -- lack of|

Section 15: National Park Service\ climbing -- regulation\ flying -- regulation\ government control\ National Park Service -- opinion of\ Robinson, Roger\ job -- advancement\ expertise\ guiding -- regulation\ bureaucracy\ rescue -- bureaucracy\ improvement|

Section 16: air drops\ oxygen\ food\ Denali Mountain Rescue\ supplies -- delivery of\ medical camp\ air drops -- accuracy\ air drops -- problems\ aircraft -- loading\ air drop assistant\ "Mad Bombardier of Talkeetna"\ air drop -- damage from\ communication -- importance of\ equipment -- communication\ air drops -- solo\ air drops -- techniques\ air drops -- practice\ air drops -- regulations\ air drops -- safety|

Section 17: pilots\ guides\ relationship\ communication\ air drops\ air checks\ guides -- quality of\ brotherhood\ guides -- helping clients\ guides -- responsibility of|

Section 18: climbers -- women\ women -- role of\ guides -- women\ Mackovjak, Ann\ Genet, Ray\ Haman, Susan\ Randall, Frances\ basecamp -- management\ Duquette, Annie\ basecamp -- landing at\ airplane -- response to\ passengers -- order of|