Denali

Denali (also known as Mount McKinley by its former official name) is the highest mountain in North America, with a summit elevation of 20,310 feet (6,190 meters) above sea level.  Located in Alaska, in the Denali National Park, it is famous for its remoteness and beauty.  Denali is the third most prominent and third most isolated peak after Mount Everest and Aconcagua.   

For my Denali summit, I went in June 2016 with Shane Keane, a friend I met climbing Aconcagua in 2014 and Alaska Mountaineering School guide service, completing our entire expedition in 16 days from Talkeetna via air taxi.  The trip was challenging mostly due to the heavy loads climbers carry on Denali. I had a 60lb pack and was also pulling a 50lb sled on the lower glacier.  With a lower-back injury right before the trip, I definitely struggled with the heavy weights, especially on summit day carrying all of the "just in case" rescue gear - sleeping bag, stove, shovels, pickets, etc.

After my experience on fixed ropes in Antarctica on Mt. Vinson, I had a relatively easy time with the technical and steep terrain on Denali and felt strong as far as the technical skills go.  Other than a few storms with extremely heavy snowfall, we had relatively good weather throughout the trip.  Denali is known for its heavy snow, winds and storms.  The only weather misshap was on the last hour of our summit day, where the exposed ridge leading to the summit got completely pulled in a whiteout, making our last 30 minutes to the summit and off the summit very treacherous and cold.  And sadly, didn't make for good summit photos either since you could only see about 10 feet away from you. 

The many nights in the tent, gave me a chance to catch-up on some great reading, finishing The Prize by Daniel Yergin (who I had the privilege to meet at a work conference), a fascinating account about the history of oil and gas, and Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Professor Yuval Noah Harari.

 
 
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