Date of Press Release: 03-24-2015
Lifelong Alaskan and author Andy Hall will make a presentation Friday, March 27 at 7 p.m. in the UAS Egan Library. Mr. Hall is the author of Denali’s Howl, The Deadliest Climbing Disaster on America's Wildest Peak, (2014) a non-fiction account of the tragic 1967 Wilcox Expedition. His presentation is part of the Sound and Motion series and the 25th Anniversary celebration of the Egan Library.
In 1967, twelve young men attempted to climb Alaska’s Mount McKinley—known to the locals as Denali—one of the most popular and deadly mountaineering destinations in the world. Only five survived. Mr. Hall, son of the park superintendent at the time, investigates the tragedy. He spent years tracking down survivors, lost documents, and recordings of radio communications.
In Denali’s Howl, Mr. Hall reveals the full story of an expedition facing conditions conclusively established here for the first time: At an elevation of nearly 20,000 feet, these young men endured an “arctic super blizzard,” with howling winds of up to 300 miles an hour and wind chill that freezes flesh solid in minutes. All this without the high-tech gear and equipment climbers use today.
As well as the story of the men caught inside the storm, Denali’s Howl is the story of those caught outside it trying to save them—Hall’s father among them. The book gives readers a detailed look at the culture of climbing then and now and raises uncomfortable questions about each player in this tragedy. Was enough done to rescue the climbers, or were their fates sealed when they ascended into the path of this unprecedented storm?
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
Andy Hall holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Alaska Anchorage, and has enjoyed a long career in Alaska as writer and editor, working at several small newspapers and for 16 years as editor and publisher of Alaska magazine and general manager of The Milepost. In addition to being an author, he is a commercial salmon fisherman in Cook Inlet and a ski coach at Chugiak High School. He lives in Chugiak Alaska with his wife, Melissa DeVaughn, and their two children, Roan and Reilly.Read more about Andy Hall in his Christian Science Monitor Interview.