White House announces Mt. McKinley to be officially renamed Denali

Alaska's Denali, North America's highest peak.

Alaska’s Denali, North America’s highest peak.

It was a move that was not only a long time in coming, but also somewhat of a no-brainer. On Sunday, the White House announced that Mt. McKinley, North America’s highest peak, would be renamed Denali, an Athabaskan word for “the High One.”

The Obama Administration says this is within the powers of the U.S. Department of the Interior, and that it was time to give the mountain’s name to the native people who knew the peak as Denali well before the United States was even a country.

I’m sure there will be some sort of political backlash. First, because President Barack Obama made it happen (one congressman is already calling it “constitutional overreach”). But second, because there is some historical resistance to officially giving the mountain its original name.

Ohio politicians have long fought the name-change. The mountain was named after William McKinley, a former U.S. president who is from the Buckeye State.

But Alaskans have been working on a change for some time now. Their contention is that most people in Alaska know the mountain as “Denali,” and that McKinley had no ties to Alaska or its highest mountain whatsoever.

The mountain is located in Denali National Park, and any federal employee associated with with the mountain calls it Denali. So do the mountaineers who climb it. And just about anyone else.

Aside from ruffling a few feathers in Ohio, the only inconvenience I see is having to change the name on new maps of Alaska, Denali National Park, and maps of the U.S. and North America.

We give a lot of respect and deference to our dead presidents. But in this case, it seems to desires of the living (as well as Alaskans from many generations back) deserve the name more.

So Denali it is. Finally.

— Bob Doucette

The Weekly Stoke: Denali, body image, tragedy in Nevada and how to fake those fitness transformation photos

Alaska's Denali, North America's highest peak.

Alaska’s Denali, North America’s highest peak.

Feeling the drain of training? Or the weight of summer’s heat? Take a break, folks. And check out my latest offerings in this week’s Weekly Stoke…

This blogger has a pretty good list for race etiquette. Read it, learn it, live it.

Want to know what it’s like to climb Denali? Read this extensive trip report on the experience. It will be worth your time.

Women’s fitness fashion has this athlete questioning the imagery of empowerment.

A tragedy reminds us of the risks search and rescue personnel go through when duty calls. In this case, a Las Vegas police officer died during a high-risk rescue.

Ever see those dramatic before/after transformation photos? You know, the ones that come with certain exercise programs or fitness/diet fads? It’s pretty easy to fake it, photographically speaking. See how here.

And finally, this diagram from the Adventure Journal about risk and fun with all the things we do outside. Do you agree?


The Weekly Stoke: Don’t dump on Denali, violence at Nanga Parbat, surfing glacial waves and a time-lapse video on Everest

Alaska's Denali, North America's highest peak.

Alaska’s Denali, North America’s highest peak.

Well, I’m a slacker. No Weekly Stoke last week, as I was a little too busy being outside. My bad. But we’re back this week with some pretty interesting stories from the world of the outdoors and more. So, without further delay, here’s the latest:

John Krakauer is one of the most famous outdoors writers around (“Into the Wild,” “Into Thin Air”), and Conrad Anker is mountaineering royalty. But even these guys get in trouble when they decide to take a dump on Denali.

Could running 200 miles actually be easier than running 100 miles? This article makes that claim.

One surfer goes to extremes to find the perfect wave. As in the kinds of waves caused by glacial calving.

Gotta hand it to the Taliban. The same guys who have perfected the IED, tried to assassinate a school girl, throw acid on women’s faces and do everything in their power to use violence to lord over others have now lashed out at mountaineers and trekkers. Ten trekkers in Pakistan were murdered near Nanga Parbat, one of that country’s famed 8,000-meter peaks.

More adventure tourism woes: These tourists got stuck on an ice floe and were trapped on it after it broke free.

Here’s a list of six exercises where people often get hurt.

It seems there is some sort of stomach bug going around in Yellowstone.

Lastly, here’s a cool time-lapse video from Mount Everest. Enjoy your time outside!

The Weekly Stoke: An afro-centric ascent of Denali, deadly animal encounters and a couple’s dream goes awry

Dust-laden snowpack could mean serious water issues in the U.S. (USGS photo)

Dust-laden snowpack could mean serious water issues in the U.S. (USGS photo)

Just when I think it might be a light week in the world of the outdoors, stuff happens. A lot of stuff. In the mountains, in the jungles and elsewhere. Let’s get started:

Some more news on the environmental front that is not so good. Desert dust settling on the western snowpack is having some serious repercussions.

How’s this for a TV movie of the week: Rich man meets exotic gal. They trade in their high-living digs in the U.S. to build the ultimate mansion/nature preserve on a Costa Rican jungle mountaintop. And then they went nuts. Not everyone made it out OK. From Outside Magazine.

This group of Denali climbers is made up of all-black members. Here’s a story about why they think that’s important.

Here’s a list of ideas for first ascents. It’s kinda funny.

Here’s another list that lets you know if you’re an outdoorsy person.

Five people were killed climbing a volcano in the Philippines.

A climber was killed when he was attacked by a swarm of bees.

And then there’s this animal encounter: A hiker falls to her death in France, and within an hour, vultures kinda took over from there.

And then there’s this video of Courtney Sanders finding a way to train despite injury. She’s a little hard core.

Lonnie Dupre abandons his solo Denali attempt


In what would have been one of the more impressive feats in arctic mountaineering, Lonnie Dupre has abandoned his January solo attempt to summit Alaska’s Denali, North America’s highest peak.

He’d been on the mountain for 19 days and was looking at enduring 50 mph winds and -50F temperatures. According to a post on his website, it was -35F inside the snow cave where he’d taken shelter.

Had he succeeded, Dupre would have been the first person to summit Denali solo in the month of January.

You can read more about this here.

Bob Doucette

On Twitter @RMHigh7088

Weather forces Warfighter Sports Denali climb team down the mountain

Alaska’s Denali, North America’s highest peak.

According to a the website tracking the progress of a Denali climbing team made up of wounded war veterans, the team has been forced to head down the mountain because of unrelenting high winds.

The post says the following:

Day 20.6/30: Bad weather has forced the team to head back down the mountain after waiting a week at 14,000 for the strong winds to subside.

A week at 14,000 feet in nasty weather is a long time, and weather windows are fickle on that peak. I don’t know for certain if that means this is the end of the climb, but for now, the planned¬†summit of the mountain will not happen.

The team consists of wounded war veterans, many of whom are multiple amputees. Warfighter Sports does all kinds of things to help veterans reclaim their athleticism, and has put a team of climbers on top of Tanzania’s Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest peak.

I’ll update if I hear more. Needless to say, the team’s experience on the mountain is not unique to them. Denali has pushed back all types, from climbing pros to first-timers. They did well in climbing 7,000 feet from the glacier base camp to where they turned back.

Bob Doucette

On Twitter @RMHigh7088

Four Japanese climbers feared dead on Denali after avalanche

Alaska’s Denali, North America’s highest peak. (Wikipedia Commons photo)

Some bad news from Alaska after authorities with the National Park Service said that four Japanese climbers are feared dead after an avalanche on Denali, also known as Mount McKinley.

Search and recovery efforts are under way near 11,800 feet, according to news reports.

Denali, at 20,327 feet, is North America’s highest mountain.

Here is a few details about the accident from CNN:

Hitoshi Ogi, 69, was unable to locate his fellow climbers and descended solo to the Kahiltna base camp and reported the event late Thursday afternoon.

The missing were identified as male climbers Yoshiaki Kato, 64, and Tamao Suzuki, 63, and female climbers Masako Suda, 50, and Michiko Suzuki, 56. All are from Miyagi Prefecture and are affiliated with the Miyagi Workers Alpine Federation.

You can read the full report from CNN here.

Search and rescue personnel work on recovery efforts for four Japanese climbers feared dead after an avalanche on Denali. (National Parks System photo)

Warfighter Sports sending climbing team up Alaska’s Denali

Some of the Warfighter Sports team members who will attempt to summit Denali. (warfightersports.org photo)

Saw a very cool story I thought many of you all would find interesting as well. There is an organization called Warfighter Sports that aims to help wounded veterans learn how to overcome their disabilities and live fuller, more active lives. Here’s a bit about the group from its website:

Warfighter Sports, a program of Disabled Sports USA, offers sports rehabilitation programs in military hospitals and communities across the U.S. through a nationwide network of over 100 community-based chapters. Since 1967, Disabled Sports USA has proudly served wounded warriors, including those injured in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, offering more than 30 winter and summer sports at more than 100 events each year. Warfighter Sports rebuilds lives through sports by improving self-confidence, promoting independence and uniting families through shared healthy activities.

Contributions cover all expenses for participation, including individualized adaptive instruction, adaptive sports equipment, transportation, lodging and meals for the warrior and a family member. Since 2003, more than 4,800 of the most severely wounded and their families have been served, including those with amputations, traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, visual impairments, and significant nerve and muscle damage.

A hugely worthy goal, and as part of Warfighter Sports’ efforts to raise awareness and money for its cause, there is a team of wounded vets who are going to attempt a climb of Denali, North America’s highest peak. This Alaskan giant is ¬†20,320 feet high and is no small challenge for even the most experienced and fit mountaineers.

The group has created a link where you can keep tabs on the team’s progress. All team members are wounded warriors, including some who are multiple amputees. Special prosthetics and mountaineering equipment will be used to help them ascend the mountain.

Here’s a video from CNN with the climbers:

You can follow their progress here. The team is starting their journey now and hopes to summit sometime around July 5.

Best of luck to the team!

Bob Doucette

on Twitter @RMHigh7088