For the second time in my life, a year ago today, I had the humbling privilege of standing on the summit of Denali. The first time, in 1973 we climbed in a storm and left our skis at Denali Pass. Subsequently, I regretted those abandoned skis for near on forty years. The second time, I remembered my skis and glided off the summit with my 20-year-old son, who was about the same age I was when I first climbed the Big One so many years ago. A man and a ski mountaineer could not ask for anything better.
Making that second journey possible was a group of guys who are simply exceptional human beings. Caring. Willing to learn and be humbled by a mountain. Incredibly strong. Caleb, Colby, Joe, Jordan, Louie, Tyler — just a note to thank you all for what still looms in my mind like some sort of visit to heaven and back. I wish all of you a good life as mountaineers and as men. Be careful and humble, yet at the same time elegant and bold. Apply those principles to all parts of life. You will all go far.
Oh, I also should have mentioned you can read through the whole live-blogged trip by starting at the bottom of this Denali category index.
WildSnow.com publisher emeritus and founder Lou (Louis Dawson) has a 50+ years career in climbing, backcountry skiing and ski mountaineering. He was the first person in history to ski down all 54 Colorado 14,000-foot peaks, has authored numerous books about about backcountry skiing, and has skied from the summit of Denali in Alaska, North America’s highest mountain.