We’re the Denali Girls: Four woman mountaineers and friends from Seattle, WA, planning to climb the West Buttress route of Denali (Mt. McKinley) in Alaska’s Denali National Park & Preserve in the spring of 2015, 45 years after the first all-woman and all-American-woman Denali team stood on the mountain’s summit (more about that later).
Why the Denali Girls? The National Park Service makes you pick a team name to register for the climb, and despite all of our efforts to the contrary, no number of alliterative or otherwise “cute” nicknames (Chick with Picks? Glacier Girls? Climber Chicas?) resonated for us half as much as what we found ourselves calling each other, as we sought to get organized, get in shape, and get ready. We just were “the Denali Girls” (or in Jenn’s case, “My Denali Girls,”) so we went with it. We know (and hope!) we won’t be the only Denali Girls on the mountain this year, but we had to call ourselves something.
We hope this blog will be instructive for other women preparing for a similar or comparable big expeditionary climb for the first time, and hope to make it something that sticks around, as a useful reference for our fellow chicks (and dudes!) with picks to use in the future.