Review: Denali’s Howl: The Deadliest Climbing Disaster on America’s Wildest Peak by Andy Hall

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Denali’s Howl: The Deadliest Climbing Disaster on America’s Wildest Peak
Andy Hall
Dutton Adult June 12, 2014
Pages 368
IBSN13: 9780525954064
A copy was provided in exchange for an honest review

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Reviewer: Melinda
Recommendation: 3/5

 

From Goodreads:
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 wind chill 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?

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My Thoughts
Hall sends the reader careening on an emotional and riveting account of the heartbreaking Wilcox 12 man mountain climb of Denali in 1967. No matter how prepared, or level of skill, Mother Nature could not be tamed or tempered and seven members of the adventurous group perished. Weather and the absence of luck were the two dominate and uncontrollable forces gaining the upper hand in the expedition.

Hall gives the uneducated mountain climber enough information on the surroundings, dangers and skills needed to climb the beast Denali. Hall also included history and culture of Alaska. You understand the risk involved and no matter how seasoned a mountaineer, the elements can help or hinder the climber helpless. In the blink of an eye your hand and fate can instantly change. Having the overall history of Denali paves the way in understanding and gaining your footing on what a challenge the team was facing sans the wicked week long, once in a century storm deciding to rear its ugly head. Despite realizing the tragic outcome, the story remains harrowing and riveting with the reader hoping the ending has a very different result.

 

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