Denali. “The Great One.” Mount McKinley.
By any name, the behemoth that dominates south central Alaska is something to behold in awe and to treat with the utmost respect. For climbers, the mountain presents what many might consider the challenge of a lifetime, as they pit themselves against brutal winds, arctic temperatures and the thin air of 6000 meters above sea level. Most people would not consider those attributes to be too conducive for a holiday away from work and the complexities of life, but for a select few, it is just that– a challenge and an opportunity to learn lessons about life, while slipping free from the pressures of “civilization,” as they transition into a slow, rhythmic pace of life on the glacier.
This morning, a team of climbers began the process of forging themselves into a team that will work together each day for a period of over two weeks as they climb higher and higher up the slopes of North America’s highest peak. Teamwork is essential on an expedition, and this team started the process with a group meeting at the Millennium Alaska Hotel, where three guides from Mountain Trip reviewed each climber’s equipment, and helped them finalize their packing and preparations for their ascent of Denali. Tomorrow the team will head north to Talkeetna, where they will participate in a mandatory climber orientation with the National Park Service. The team will then check-in and weigh-in with our air services provider, and if the weather is clear, fly to the glacier.
Let’s meet the team!
Joe Szalkiewicz from Carlsbad, CA
Joey Szalkiewicz from Carlsbad, CA
Bob Szalkiewicz from San Diego, CA
and Nathan Fletcher from San Diego, CA
Our Mountain Trip guides are:
Kurt Wedberg from California
Ben Adkison from Montana
and Tristen Sieleman from California
As the team makes its way up Denali, we will do our best to post regular updates from the field. We invite you to follow along, but ask for your patience with the challenges of communicating regularly from such a rugged area. The climbers will try to call in audio posts from the field, but if a day or two should pass with no updates, well… that’s the challenge of life in the big, cold mountains!