Denali, ‘The High One’ — To the top, or not?

Denali, photo courtesy of the National Park ServiceWhy 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.




  • 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 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)

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