This May, two APU community members, Terrell Moore and Nikolai Windahl, climbed Mt. McKinley, better known to Alaskans by its Athabaskan name of Denali, which means The Great One. Denali, which stands at 20,237 feet, is the tallest mountain in North America and is the tallest land mountain in the world from base to peak (Mount Everest sits atop the Tibetan Plateau). Only a few brave hikers dare to challenge the difficult and exhilarating climb up Denali each year.
Moore and Windahl began their climb on May 11th and summited on May 27th. Moore describes their experience as, “one of those journeys that brought us closer to the heavens and opened our minds to the pure potentiality of our life’s purpose.” She mentions that they paid a tribute to the memory of their dearest friend Dasan, who fell from Mt. Yukla on a January 18th hike with Windahl, by leaving a rock from Mt. Yukla at the summit of Denali in his honor. “His vast spirit always inspires creativity and love for all mountains,” Moore reminisces.
When asked about the difficulty of the climb and her expectations, Moore explains that, “I had always been a little nervous about hiking Denali. I thought it was going to be scary and intense because it is so big.” But she notes that not having too many expectations, and implementing the breathing practices she has learned from Yoga, helped a great deal on the hike. Even after it got harder to breathe above 14,000 feet, Moore remembers, “I took it one step at a time. I thought about how every step I took above 14,000 feet was the highest I’d ever climbed. It is truly amazing what the human body is capable of. ”
Summiting the highest peak in North America is truly an amazing achievement. We congratulate Moore and Windahl on their successful journey to the summit of the awe-inspiring Great One: Denali. Their successful climb is a beautiful reminder to all of us to never be afraid of achieving our dreams, no matter how big or scary they seem!