One-hundred years ago today, the first expedition to summit Denali was slowly making its way up the mountain. After setting out from Fairbanks in mid-March, the four man team finally topped out on North America’s tallest peak on June 7, 1913. It’s often called the Stuck Expedition, after Hudson Stuck, the man who organized it. But a new book tells the story of the man who led the expedition to the top. Harry Karstens was a determined sled dog mail carrier with no previous climbing experience.
Tom Walker is the author of the book, called “The Seventymile Kid: The Lost Legacy of Harry Karstens and the First Ascent of Mount McKinley.” He relies on a previously undiscovered diary of one of the expedition members and an important missing section of Hudson Stuck’s journal to reveal a new version of the historic climb. Walker says Hudson Stuck badgered Karstens to climb Denali with him until he finally agreed to the 1913 expedition.