It’s time once again for indomitable peakbaggers to gather in Waterville Valley for the 6th annual Denali Challenge. Beginning Friday, Aug. 9 and culminating on Sunday, Aug. 11, hikers are challenged to summit five peaks in and around Waterville Valley equaling 20,000 feet in elevation – equivalent to hiking Mt. Denali, the highest peak in North America.
An aside … I’m obsessed with extreme athletes, particularly mountaineers. I know, I know, I’m the last person you’d think would be into mountain climbing. I don’t actually want to do it. I just want to watch others do it. Last night I watched “Richard Parks – Conquering the World,“ a documentary series on Amazon Prime which followed the twists and turns, dramas and dangers of Richard Parks’ 737 Challenge – an epic 7-month race to climb the highest summit on each of the world’s 7 continents and stand on all 3 poles (The North Pole, South Pole and the summit of Everest). His climb of Mt. Denali was a nail biter. I don’t want to give anything away, but dangerous and potentially life-threatening crevasses come into play. Okay … go watch it. Then, come to Waterville Valley and participate in our version of the Denali Challenge. It’s tough, but not as frightening and potentially life threatening as Richard Parks’ adventures on Denali were.
Participants in the Denali Challenge can choose from the 13 peaks listed below to achieve 20,000 feet in elevation. Those who complete the challenge can claim the enviable title of “Alive After Five.”
Participation in the Denali Challenge is free. The hikes are not organized or guided. Hikers choose which peaks they wish to summit, then head out solo or with friends and family. Preregistration is recommended but not required (to register, email firstname.lastname@example.org). On Friday, Aug. 9, check-in at the Information Booth in Waterville Valley Town Square between 6-8 p.m. and receive a t-shirt and hiker card.
As you reach each summit, check it off on the card and turn the card in at the Info Booth on Sunday. Photos will be taken of those who have successfully completed the challenge and shared on social media so you can bask in the glory of being “Alive After Five.” Take your own pics and post on social, use the hashtags #denalichallenge2019 and #watervillevalley.
For those not inclined to peak bag, there will be free guided family-friendly hikes at 10 a.m. on Saturday to the Cascades, and 10 a.m. on Sunday to Goodrich Rock. Guided hikes meet in front of the Info Booth in Town Square.
Denali Challenge Peaks:
- Tecumseh (4,003)
- Welch (2,605)
- Dickey (2,734)
- Snow’s (2,800)
- North Peak Tripyramid (4,180)
- Middle Peak Tripyramid (4,140)
- South Peak Tripyramid (4,100)
- Mt. Osceola (4,340)
- Mt. Osceola East (4,156)
- The Scaur (2,200)
- Goodrich Rock (2,200)
- Noon Peak (2,976)
- Jennings Peak (3,460)