Expedition Denali is under way


Nine mountaineers currently moving up the Kahiltna Glacier on Denali are preparing not only to make history by summitting the tallest peak in North America—Denali, but also to create a legacy. 

In hopes of becoming the first African American team to summit the peak, the Expedition Denali team is doing so to inspire youth of color, currently an alarmingly underrepresented group in the outdoors, to discover and aspire to great heights in the outdoors. They, along with four National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) instructors and a documentary film crew, took their first major step toward the summit this week. 

Talkeetna Air Taxi flew the mountaineers, in addition to an NBC film crew, to the glacier on Sunday afternoon, June 9. While the NBC team returned to town, the Expedition Denali team began climbing toward advanced base camp at 14,000 feet. From there, they will eventually move to high camp at about 17,200 feet before making a summit bid. 

NOLS spearheaded Expedition Denali and is joined by major partners The North Face and REI in making it a possibility for these role models to affect change across the U.S. Special thanks this week go out to Talkeetna Air Taxi for transporting the NBC journalists and to Denali National Park and Preserve for accommodating the media attention this initiative has garnered. 

The climb to 20,320 feet is only the beginning of Expedition Denali’s work; following the expedition, the mountaineering role models will tour the nation to speak to youth of color about the importance of outdoor recreation. Until then, NOLS is providing regular updates on Expedition Denali at expeditiondenali.nols.edu and on Facebook and Twitter, and freelancer and support team member James Edward Mills is posting photos and blog posts.