Denali is a dangerous climb

Part of Recollections of a Tundra Dancer discusses Denali and part of that discussion has to do with mountain climbing.

Mount McKinley, Denali National Park
Big, Beautiful and Potentially Deadly Denali

Denali is a dangerous climb. Mountaineers underestimate it because they’ve summited the Alps or even some of the lesser peaks in the Himalayas in Nepal and think this is the same. It isn’t.

A few days ago I got a notice from the Alaska Dispatch News that the first fatality of 2017 was a Nepalese climber who collapsed and died on the West Buttress Route. Yeah, someone from the Himalayan region of Mother Earth.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Denali has only a 50% success rate in summiting since 1903. There are problems with injuries, and altitude sickness and people die from exposure during freak storms. People often don’t dress warmly enough for Denali, and they underestimate this grand mountain. People don’t use oxygen and altitude sickness is an ever-present concern.

Please, if you are going to climb Denali, be over-prepared rather than merely prepared. We get one life. Even if you believe in reincarnation, this life is still precious. Don’t squander it. Your loved ones will thank you for that extra bit of caution so you come back home walking instead of in a box – or not at all.

 

 

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