Why do we climb? And for heaven’s sake, why that high? Is it a bargain with nature to step outside our frail human selves just long enough to stand tall on some peak somewhere, and then audaciously “claim” it?
Alaska is home to the tallest mountain in North America, and ant-like athletes have crawled its flanks since 1903. Last year, 1,232 tried; just over half succeeded.
The risks are great, the drama is high, and the beauty incomparable.
Walk with Denali’s climbers when mountaineer and retired guide Brian Okonek, mountaineering ranger Roger Robinson, and climber Dave Johnston join Hometown Alaska to talk about this year’s climbing news, the mountain’s rich climbing history, and their own excellent adventures.
- National Park Service Mountaineering website
- Current Climbing Activity on Denali, NPS
- Historical Timeline, Alaska Range
- NPS historical photos, Flickr
- NPS Annual Mountaineering Summaries, 2011 (PDF)
- Incredible mountain eye candy, NPS Denali Flickr photostream
- Brian Okonek interview, oral history project NPS
- Dave Johnston interview, oral history project NPS
- Roger Robinson interview, oral history project NPS
- Guide to Alaska mountaineer Vern Tejas papers, 1971-2003, UAA Archives
- Alaska mountaineers Grace and John Vincent Hoeman papers, 1952-1979, UAA Archives
- ‘It rolls downhill: tackling Denali’s poo problem’, Anchorage Press 5/25/2012
- Anchorage Museum’s current exhibit “The High One: Reaching the Top” through Oct. 21
- alaskapublic.org images from “The High One”
- “Denali: Deception, Defeat and Triumph” (NPS Ranger Roger Robinson recommends)
- “Alaska Expedition” by James Sweeney (mountaineering writer David Stevenson recommends)
- “Minus 148” by Art Davidson
- “Mt. McKinley: The Pioneer Climbs” by Terris Moore
- Brian Okonek, mountaineering guide, founder Alaska Denali Guiding in early 1980s
- Roger Robinson, NPS Denali ranger, 33 seasons
- Dave Johnston, Denali climber, multiple ascents, shared first winter ascent 1967
- Call 550-8433 (Anchorage) or 1-888-353-5752 (statewide) during the live broadcast (2:00 – 3:00pm)
- Send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org before, during or after the live broadcast (e-mails may be read on air)
- Post your comment or question below (comments may be read on air)
HOST: Kathleen McCoy
LIVE BROADCAST: Wednesday, June 6, 2012. 2:00 – 3:00 pm (Alaska time)
SUBSCRIBE: Get Hometown, Alaska updates automatically— via e-mail, RSS or podcasts