Beyond Summit Fever on Denali

Where Things Get Weird

“Did You Summit?”

This is the first question most people ask when you return from Denali. As if 25 days with nine other people can be reduced to a singular goal. As if living at 14,000 feet in sub-zero temperatures and 40 mph winds for weeks on end can be regarded as a success or failure based on this single achievement. Yes, people go to Denali in order to summit. But to block out almost a month of deep powder in the middle of June, surrounded by my favorite comrades in adventure—these three words ignore the totality of that experience. My usual response?

“Summit or die.”…

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