On the latest Totally Deep Podcast, hear two very different takes on the 2021 Denali climbing season. Doug sits down with Denali SAR volunteer Luke Demuth and first time Denali ski mountaineer Mike Poleto. Together they recount their different but overlapping experiences, from food fails (don’t bring Nutella), to gear prep, group dynamics, conditions, summit day and rescues.
In the winter, Demuth is a ski patroller at Aspen Highlands and proud telemark skier. This was his first trip to Denali, and to Alaska. Early in the climbing season, he joined a the Denali SAR team and spent a month on the mountain.
Poleto is a long time friend of the show and a current operations manager for Cripple Creek Backcountry (and a proudly reformed telemark skier). Though he’d been to Alaska before, this was his first time tackling a major expedition peak and learned many valuable lessons.
The guys tell stories of cold, high winds, and bad snow. They ponder essential, if nebulous, questions about risk and success. Altogether they offer insights into the climbing world of Denali, that though it’s become more popular over the years, it’s no less dangerous.
Have a listen.
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While most of the WildSnow backcountry skiing blog posts are best attributed to a single author, some work well as done by the group.