“Marley, Denali is out today,” Ben says from the driver seat. “You’ll see it just around this turn.”
I put down my book and immediately feel a small knot of nerves (excitement? longing? disbelief?) materialize in my stomach. Like much of Alaska, Denali has captivated my imagination for years. I’ve devoured dozens of books, videos, photos, essays, magazine articles, and social media posts about North America’s largest mountain.
But I haven’t talked to many people about it.
Earlier in this trip, I hesitated to broach the subject of Denali with Ben. I assumed (correctly) that he had climbed it. But I wondered what he would think when I voiced my desire to summit one of the most formidable mountains in the world.
After all, I am still a baby mountaineer. My big mountain experience consists of a few trips to the Cascades. My physical fitness level is mediocre at best. My technical alpine skills are still very limited.
And yet, I have this massive life goal: Climb Denali.Read More