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Denali's Howl: The Deadliest Climbing Disaster on America's Wildest Peak Hardcover – June 12, 2014


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Dutton (June 12, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0525954066
  • ISBN-13: 978-0525954064
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.1 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (90 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #58,114 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Praise for Denali’s Howl

"A page-turner that's as much about memory as it is about mountaineering." - San Francisco Bay Guardian

"A labor of love...an indelible portrait of the wilderness of [Denali] and the culture of 1960s mountaineering." - BookPage

"A great read about a grisly historical tragedy. I devoured it in one sitting." -- Yukon News

"A vivid revisitation of a historic Alaskan mountain climbing expedition." - Kirkus

"Skillful, heartrending" - Publishers Weekly

"A well-researched description of the deadliest summit expedition on Mount Denali...a vivid account of what the climbers endured, and who they were...a fitting tribute." - Anchorage Press

“In this straightforward, balanced account of the greatest mountaineering disaster in Alaskan history, Andy Hall allows the full tragedy of that episode to emerge. In resisting the facile urge to lay blame, his narrative captures with gripping immediacy the intersection of seemingly small human decisions with one of the most powerful storms ever to descend on Denali. As one who was climbing elsewhere in the Alaska Range at the time, I had long pondered just how the catastrophe came to pass. Thanks to Hall, I understand it better than ever before.”
 —David Roberts, author of The Mountain of My Fear and Alone on the Ice
 
“A haunting, meticulously-researched account of twelve men’s encounter with the awesome fury of nature.”
—Amanda Padoan, author of Buried in the Sky: The Extraordinary Story of the Sherpa Climbers on K’s Deadliest Day
 
“Twelve men went up the slopes of North America's highest mountain in the summer of 1967.  Only five made it back.  The ill-fated Wilcox expedition to Denali finds an able chronicler in Andy Hall's gripping account of mountain majesty, mountain gloom, and human doom.”
—Maurice Isserman, co-author of Fallen Giants:  Himalayan Mountaineering from the Age of Empire to the Age of Extremes
 
“One of those couldn’t-put-it-down books!  This harrowing story of a more than 40-year-old mountaineering tragedy is raw and immediate as it marches relentlessly towards the final, devastating end.”
—Bernadette McDonald, author of Freedom Climbers
 

About the Author

ANDY HALL grew up in the shadow of Denali. He is the former editor and publisher of Alaska magazine. He lives in Chugiak, Alaska.

Customer Reviews

A compelling, well written story.
David Atcheson
If you are really looking forward to reading the next chapter, it’s a good book to start the buzz with your friends about.
Jim Misko
I highly recommend "Denali's Howl", regardless of what genre the reader usually reads.
Cyn Premo

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It is hard to imagine another book being published about the Wilcox Tragedy on Denali, which happened 47 years ago. Four books have already been written about the disaster to date--the last came out in 2012--and was penned by me.

My brother Bill Babcock, was the leader of what would become the rescue team. He had invited me along for the ride the previous fall of '66. I was then living on the East coast and attending college in Maine. The Mountaineering Club of Alaska had asked Bill to lead an expedition (the 53rd), which by chance trailed a week behind the Wilcox team. Both teams used the standard Muldrow Glacier / Karstens Ridge approach on the North side of Mount McKinley. When the worst storm in Denali's history exploded on top, our team was positioned to assist the five survivors, and to search the upper slopes and hopefully find the 7 missing climbers. At 19, I was not only the youngest and least experienced member of our group. I was also terrified by what lay ahead for our group.

Andy Hall, whose father was Park Superintendent at the time has given us another version of this sad story, which he calls 'Denali's Howl.' Andy was five and living with his family in the park when the event took place in the summer of 1967. George Hall was Andy's father.

Andy's book offers readers a carefully researched and thoroughly engrossing account of one of North American mountaineering's most controversial and heart-rendering stories. HIs narrative offers many varied and personal accounts of what happened, and he paints a vivid picture of each of the men on the 12-man Wilcox team. As I read Andy's descriptions I found myself changing some of my impressions of the climbers I met so many years ago.
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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Cyn Premo on June 16, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book was recently the subject of an Anchorage Daily News article, which also provided a short excerpt. I downloaded a sample on my Kindle and was immediately mesmerized by the tragic story of twelve young men climbing Denali. The story is forceful and weighty, and other reviews describe its content well; I want to address the author's talent in his presentation of this horrific example of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Mr. Hall's unflinching account of Joe Wilcox's group of climbers was graphic, but never gratuitous, in its description. At the beginning of the expedition, I could almost SEE the testosterone leaking out the car windows and spilling into every discussion the group had. Despite this, there was so much compassion in the telling that I put aside any criticisms of the climbers' egos and questionable (at times) choices and just cared about the guys. Mr. Hall obviously curtailed any judgmental thoughts when he was
writing this, so I felt compelled to do the same, which made the story even more haunting. This is a tricky thing for an author to
accomplish, and Hall really nailed it. His descriptions of his father's part in the story showed a man who was obviously meant to do the job he was given. The storm, especially the wind, was a character in itself, totally indifferent to damage and death, just carrying on the way it has done for millions of years.
I loved this book and enjoyed the writing of this talented author. Each person was shown warts and all the way we all are as humans. I highly recommend "Denali's Howl", regardless of what genre the reader usually reads. Somehow, this book transcends genre, and I think that it will appeal to almost any reader. Money and time very well-spent. Thank you, Mr. Hall.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Erik Massie on June 15, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
For those that don't know, in the summer of 1967, a 12 man team attempted to climb Denali (Mt. McKinley), the tallest mountain in North America....only 5 came back. I'm astonished that more people don't know (or aren't aware) of this story. I know that when it comes to mountaineering disasters, most eyes turn to Everest, K2, and the rest of the Himalayas and many of the classic books written covering those related tales (Into Thin Air, The Savage Mountain, Annapurna, etc), but I'm hoping that more readers will come to know of this tragic story (it as afterall to this day, the deadliest mountaneering disaster in American history) through Andy Hall's newly written book covering this story.

There's been 4 other books written on this tradegy (two from actual survivors) and it was hard to imagine any more new details emerging, but the author went to great lengths to recover and unearth old documents, recordings, interviews, etc and it definitely shows, most notably the details surrounding the "super-storm" that attacked the mountain that summer. Few details were ever evident in previous books (from the scientific side), and it was mind boggling to finally read and absorb the actual detailed conditions the climbers were faced with high up near the summit.

It was also great to read some opinions and thoughts from other notable mountaineers and climbing guides on the subject, each giving their own insight to the mistakes, and problems the 12 man team faced while ascending the mountain, and relating it to their own experiences (some on the same mountain).
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More About the Author

ANDY HALL grew up in the shadow of Denali. He is the former editor and publisher of Alaska magazine. He lives in Anchorage.
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