Denali: Summit of North America

51305rv3h1l_aa240_1Oh yes, it’s that time again. Time to go and freeze your a** off for weeks on a monster mountain for… well, it doesn’t matter what for. Go big or go home, we say. And if you’re going big on Denali, this little gem of a book is required reading.

I admit I was pretty suspicious at first, but the author gets it right with his advice on tackling the Big D. The author is  Harry Kikstra, who has summitted Denali twice via the popular and non-technical West Buttress route. He also maintains the website for those people whose egos are writing checks their bodies can’t cash.

Whatever. The point is the book has some good advice, everything from a concise summary of the effects of altitude to dealing with the extreme cold to GPS coordinates for camps. This book rivals Coombs’ Denali’s West Buttress in information content and has the advantage of being even smaller (and waterproof!), as well as more recent. Kikstra takes pains to be even-handed as he describes the advantages and disadvantages of going guided vs. unguided and other topics.

As the author states, "…climbing Everest is good preparation for climbing Denali." It’s a serious rock, and this book does it justice in the smallest possible format. So if you absolutely, positively have to freeze your johnson off at altitude, give this guidebook a try.

$11.66 at



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One response to “Denali: Summit of North America”

  1. Climb Denali in May or June. By July, the glacier approach is too melted out, the National Park Service has closed out its support of the West Buttress camp at 14,000 feet, and the Air Taxi services have shut down their 24×7 support of the Base Camp airstrip, which means you’ll be alone on the mountain if you’re not on it in May or June. That’s not actually that desirable. April is too early/way, way, way too cold.

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