Novice climber David Brill was way out of his comfort zone on Denali, and in this lighthearted take on his achievement, he tells us all about it.
Denali presents the greatest vertical gainfrom just above sea level to 20,320 feetof any mountain on the planet. Sited 2,400 miles north of Everest, it is notorious for 100-mile-per-hour winds and temperatures of 60 to 100 degrees below zero. Denali's thin air and 21 hours of sun per summer day create a near-Himalayan climbing environment. Then there's the specter of death on the mountain. Since a group of miners (the Sourdough Expedition) defied all odds and reached the North Peak in 1910, Denali has claimed nearly 100 lives.
These extreme conditions and storied history are woven throughout Brill's account of his own attempt to scale Denali. Trained by expert guides, the 45-year-old fledgling mountaineer mastered the skills to propel him from sofa to summit. His account overflows with vivid personalities and events: As Brill and his rope-mates cross glaciers and crevasses, claw their way up walls of ice, and wait out a killer storm, the author probes the motivation of his guides and fellow climbersincluding two women whose quest for the summit ends in a flesh-freezing bathroom break.