Denali's Howl: The Deadliest Climbing Disaster On America's Wildest Peak

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Denali's Howl: The Deadliest Climbing Disaster On America's Wildest Peak

by Andy Hall

DUTTON ADULT | June 17, 2014 | Hardcover

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Denali's Howl is the white-knuckle account of one of the most deadly climbing disasters of all time.

In 1967, twelve young men attempted to climb Alaska's Mount McKinley—known to the locals as Denali—one of the most popular and deadly mountaineering destinations in the world. Only five survived.

Journalist Andy Hall, son of the park superintendent at the time, investigates the tragedy. He spent years tracking down survivors, lost documents, and recordings of radio communications. In Denali's Howl, Hall reveals the full story of an expedition facing conditions conclusively established here for the first time: At an elevation of nearly 20,000 feet, these young men endured an “arctic super blizzard," with howling winds of up to 300 miles an hour and wind chill that freezes flesh solid in minutes. All this without the high-tech gear and equipment climbers use today.

As well as the story of the men caught inside the storm, Denali's Howl is the story of those caught outside it trying to save them—Hall's father among them. The book gives readers a detailed look at the culture of climbing then and now and raises uncomfortable questions about each player in this tragedy. Was enough done to rescue the climbers, or were their fates sealed when they ascended into the path of this unprecedented storm?

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 368 pages, 3.67 × 2.49 × 0.43 in

Published: June 17, 2014

Publisher: DUTTON ADULT

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0525954066

ISBN - 13: 9780525954064

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– More About This Product –

Denali's Howl: The Deadliest Climbing Disaster On America's Wildest Peak

by Andy Hall

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 368 pages, 3.67 × 2.49 × 0.43 in

Published: June 17, 2014

Publisher: DUTTON ADULT

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0525954066

ISBN - 13: 9780525954064

Read from the Book

***This excerpt is from an advance uncorrected proof*** Copyright © 2014 Andy Hall PROLOGUE A STRANGER IN THE WILDERNESS     Joe Wilcox may not have been the first man to reach the summit of Denali, but on Saturday afternoon, July 15, 1967, he felt like it. A rare clear day reigned on the mountain outsiders call Mount McKinley. Wilcox and his three companions had savored it for the last few hours as they trudged upward on crusty, wind-carved snow. Atop the continent, Joe’s deep-set eyes swept over the Alaska Range— some of the tallest and most rugged peaks in North America— reduced to so many white waves of rock and ice lapping at the mountain’s base. But along with the grandeur there was an edge of tension. After twenty-seven days on the mountain, Wilcox knew that the window of good weather could close just as quickly as it had opened. The four men on the summit, along with the rest of their twelve-man team waiting for their turn just a couple of thousand feet below, had no time to waste. Wilcox had been on the mountain for nearly a month, and as he approached the summit the final steps seemed insignificant when compared to the tremendous effort the team had made to get there. The sweeping panorama instilled in him a sense of gratitude. He had worked hard, but that hard work did not guarantee success; he felt lucky. Two weather systems had been developing as Wilcox and his companions worked their way toward the summit: one to the northe
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From the Publisher

Denali's Howl is the white-knuckle account of one of the most deadly climbing disasters of all time.

In 1967, twelve young men attempted to climb Alaska's Mount McKinley—known to the locals as Denali—one of the most popular and deadly mountaineering destinations in the world. Only five survived.

Journalist Andy Hall, son of the park superintendent at the time, investigates the tragedy. He spent years tracking down survivors, lost documents, and recordings of radio communications. In Denali's Howl, Hall reveals the full story of an expedition facing conditions conclusively established here for the first time: At an elevation of nearly 20,000 feet, these young men endured an “arctic super blizzard," with howling winds of up to 300 miles an hour and wind chill that freezes flesh solid in minutes. All this without the high-tech gear and equipment climbers use today.

As well as the story of the men caught inside the storm, Denali's Howl is the story of those caught outside it trying to save them—Hall's father among them. The book gives readers a detailed look at the culture of climbing then and now and raises uncomfortable questions about each player in this tragedy. Was enough done to rescue the climbers, or were their fates sealed when they ascended into the path of this unprecedented storm?

About the Author

ANDY HALL grew up in the shadow of Denali. He is the former editor and publisher of Alaska magazine. He lives in Chugiak, Alaska.

Editorial Reviews

Praise for Denali’s Howl "A page-turner that''s as much about memory as it is about mountaineering." -  San Francisco Bay Guardian "A labor of love...an indelible portrait of the wilderness of [Denali] and the culture of 1960s mountaineering." -  BookPage "A vivid revisitation of a historic Alaskan mountain climbing expedition." -  Kirkus "Skillful, heartrending" -  Publishers Weekly "A well-researched description of the deadliest summit expedition on Mount Denali...a vivid account of what the climbers endured, and who they were...a fitting tribute." -  Anchorage Press “In this straightforward, balanced account of the greatest mountaineering disaster in Alaskan history, Andy Hall allows the full tragedy of that episode to emerge. In resisting the facile urge to lay blame, his narrative captures with gripping immediacy the intersection of seemingly small human decisions with one of the most powerful storms ever to descend on Denali. As one who was climbing elsewhere in the Alaska Range at the time, I had long pondered just how the catastrophe came to pass. Thanks to Hall, I understand it better than ever before.”  —David Roberts, author of The Mountain of My Fear and Alone on the Ice   “A haunting, meticulously-researched account of twelve men’s encounter with the awesome fury of nature.” —Amanda Padoan, author of Buried in the Sky: The Extraordinary Story of the Sherpa Climbers on K’s Dea
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