Women on Denali – the fastest, the toughest, the inspirational and of course, the first

From the first all female ascent of The Slovak route on the South Face, to 2 women veterans topping out, to a Mom and her son, its been a very active season for women on Denali.

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Perhaps one of last years feats is worth mentioning first –  Katie Bono’s impressive 21 hour ascent and descent of the West Buttress.

And if you are wondering, these records are set from all the way down at the Kahiltna Glacier airstrip at 7,200 feet. With 33 miles of skiing and climbing in the round-trip solo climb, the changeable weather and pure non-stop physical challenge she faced makes her interview well worth a read in Climbing Magazine.

This year, on the steep South Face of Denali, Chantel Astorga and Anne Gilbert Chase completed the first female ascent of one of Denali’s hardest routes, the Slovak Direct.

For a look at the Slovak Direct route, an earlier ascent was made and videoed by Andy Houseman and Nick Bullock in 2013.  The gripping video gives a real feel for the challenging environment, varied conditions and rather fearful exposure inherent on the remote South Face.

On the West Buttress, Veterens Katelyn Sheehan (Air Force) and Kirstie Ennis (Marine Corps) climbed Denali as a way to overcome previous trauma and as an inspiration to others. Their inspiring story is here.

And while the father-son teams are undoubtedly more common, for Canyon Tobin and his Mom Nora Miller, using a gap year before University to climb Denali together gave them a good chance to share ropes and tents together.

With a rapid 11 days to the summit, even after an aborted first summit attempt, Canyon reported, ‘there was never any big tension between us.’

And for a bit of light relief from 2014, and the experience climbing as a two woman independent team, eat great food and still summit in style, have a look at Angel Robledo’s ascent and video.

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The yogic approach to Denali. Angel Robledo acclimitising.

And let’s not forget the first woman to climb Denali, Barbara Washburn, here in a short clip about jumping up and down on the top to stay warm and her rather ‘pleasant’ stay at the top of North America.