Expedition Denali Update: Team On Summit Push?

TeamDenali NOLS

It has been a couple of days since we last heard from the Expedition Denali team, who should be getting close to making their final summit push. The climbers have now been on the mountain for 17 days and as of Saturday, everything was ready for them start moving up one last time. In their last dispatch they were waiting at 14,200 ft (4328 meters) and if the weather was good they were planning to climb up to 17,200 ft (5242 meters) on Sunday. That would have put them into position to summit yesterday and yet no word has come. We can only assume that they are currently in a holding pattern as they watch for a weather window to open.

You’ll no doubt recall that the Expedition Denali team is the group of African American climbers who have set the goal of summiting Denali in an effort to inspire young people – and especially minority kids – to become more engaged with the outdoors. The climbers hope that their adventure will encourage others to seek their own. With that in mind, their expedition is being filmed and will eventually be turned into a documentary to help spread the word of their accomplishments and show youth of color that they too can chase their dreams.

Their efforts have already started to pay off around the country. Youth groups who have been following the climb have begun launching their own “10,000 Steps to Denali” activities to show support for the team. That is the number of steps they estimate it will take to climb from High Camp to the Summit, and while the kids they are inspiring won’t be carrying heavy packs through snow and ice and in thin air, they are still seeking their own adventures none the less.

For now, we’ll all have to wait to see if and when the team can top out. They’ve put in all the work and they are ready to go, but until the mountain cooperates, they’ll just have to sit tight. Lets hope they get their opportunity soon.

Watch for updates at the Expedition Denali website and on Facebook and Twitter.

Kraig Becker