Denali's Howl

Denali's Howl

The Deadliest Climbing Disaster on America's Wildest Peak

Book - 2014
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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 windchill 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?"--From publisher.
Publisher: New York : Dutton, 2014.
ISBN: 9780525954064
0525954066
Characteristics: 252 pages ;,24 cm.

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b
bigcatmoose
Jun 27, 2016

Decent read although not as engaging as some similar stories.

c
cliffstory
Sep 22, 2014

I remember reading about this in the newspaper in 1967. Then, a few months ago, I encountered a book called "Forever on the Mountain" by James Tabor. That's a good book but it's clear that Tabor has an axe to grind (or several of them), and he's looking to lay blame for the deaths of the climbers somewhere. One of his targets is the National Park Service, and this book, written by the son of the park director, is something of a corrective to Tabor's.

It's possible to say that they should have done this, or shouldn't have done that, but there was really only one decision that mattered: five of the climbers went down from Camp VII (17,900 feet altitude) to Camp VI (15,000) while seven remained and six of those tried for the summit. Even that choice to stay would not have mattered had the peak not been hit by a storm with very high winds that lasted a week. That storm killed the seven; the five had a hard time but survived. The Park Service could not have launched a rescue at altitudes above 18,000 during a storm.

Tabor is much better writer than Hall but Hall is more tied into reality.

m
Madreley
Sep 17, 2014

Really good true life adventure book. Puts you into the expedition as the group attempts to climb the mountain. The description of some of the obstacles is really good, as well as the weather conditions before and during the climb. Also shows what people will risk (7 died) to accomplish a goal they set for themselves, and also the wisdom of some to say "NO" when they know it is the best thing to do even though per pressure is against them. If you are an outdoors person this would be a excellent book to read.

drudofsky Aug 07, 2014

Incredible detail of a climb that occurred 40 years ago

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