Climber Sets New Women’s Speed Record on Denali

katie bono speed ascent intro dusk smiling h

While we’ve been tracking the summer climbing season in Pakistan fairly closely thus far, up in Alaska there has been plenty of action on Denali as well. The mountain is seen as a good training ground for Everest thanks to its technical nature, high latitude, and unpredictable weather, so as a result hundreds of climbers make the attempt each climbing season, which usually lasts from May into July.

This year, the weather has been worse than normal, which has led to a low success rate on the mountain. But alpinist Katie Bono didn’t let that get in the way of her summit bid, which actually resulted in a new women’s speed record for Denali.

According to Outside online, Bono set off from Base Camp for the summit at 3 AM on June 14. She reached the top around 8:46 PM that evening, then turned around and headed back down, returning to BC later that evening. All told, her round-trip journey took 21 hours and 6 minutes, making it the third fastest time ever on Denali.

The 29-year old climber had to overcome a number of challenges en route to the summit. Outside says that she ran low on food and water, which made a long day an even longer one. She also had to abandoned a previous summit attempt do to poor weather and at one point she had to assist a climbing partner who had taken ill off the mountain as well. Despite those setbacks however, Bono was able to remain focused and patient, which eventually paid off for her.

Congratulations to Katie for not only setting an impressive speed record but also making a successful summit on a very tough mountain. That is an impressive accomplishment all around.

And for the record, the fastest known time on Denali belongs to Kilian Jornet, who made the round trip journey from BC to the summit and back in 11 hours, 40 minutes back in 2014.

Kraig Becker