Mt McKinley/Denali – 6,194m/20,230ft
The word Denali translates as the “Great One” and with a larger bulk and rise than Mount Everest, it was an intimidating proposition but one that I undertook with a huge amount of excitement and a certain degree of nerves.
The trip seemed ill-fated as I managed to get tonsillitis two weeks before my departure and my rucksack was lost at Anchorage airport but most importantly I found out my grandmother passed away the day I departed. This only increased my determination to succeed and gave me another reason to reach the top of this historic mountain.
In complete contrast though, the expedition was the most memorable I have undertaken to date, for all the right reasons. I was in a team of 12, including 3 guides, and was immensely fortunate with the people I was climbing with as well as with the typically unpredictable weather. Having ascended up steep fixed lines and over some stunning narrow ridges on the way to high camp and on the summit approach we all made the top with blue skies and a view to savour.
Alaska is a remarkable place and this Denali expedition gave me some unforgettable memories. It was a very challenging undertaking but was also ideal preparation for next March’s expedition, Mount Everest.