Guide to Climbing Denali

Page Type Page Type: Trip Report
Location Lat/Lon: 76.01686°S / 1.05844°W
Date Date Climbed/Hiked: Jun 3, 2010
Activities Activities: Mountaineering
Seasons Season: Summer

Guide to Climbing Denali

First Paragraph best read while listening to Oh Fortuna By: Carl Orff)

How exactly must one prepare himself to climb the most massive of all North America’s wondrous peaks? How does one assemble enough cardio, muscle and mental strength to conquer one of the world’s most chilling and dangerous mountains? Prior to my June 2010 expedition I trained at least 5 days a week, sometimes twice a day, to have the sheer physical power to pull myself, sled and massive pack up the slopes of Mt McKinley. I saturated my mind and soul with literature dating back to the very first successful summit led by Hudson Stuck in 1913. I studied the very route that Bradford Washburn himself pioneered in the early 1950s. I trained in cold weather to help realize the feeling of the mountain’s frozen breathe as it's exhalations grow more frigid the higher in elevation we trudge. I felt like I was more than prepared mentally and physical to successfully triumph this year long goal of standing at 20,320 ft.
Shortly after arriving at base camp I began to realize where my training was lacking and what could have used more attention. In the following paragraphs I am handing you the secret to successfully summitting the crown jewel of North America. Follow closely, for the next few paragraphs may be the deciding factor between success and failure.

You can begin this new type of training by preparing your home and surrounding area for like conditions. The initial preparation for your training may be the most important step in creating a more worthy YOU. (Note: Your best training will be done in the winter)

Step 1: Obtain a Small Pot or Tupperware and Line it with a Plastic Bag.

•This new device you have created is for practicing taking a shit everywhere on the mountain but 14,000ft Camp. This step is best practiced in a public setting. Places best for practicing this technique may be a park, a grocery store, or even the local movie theater. You first want to train using your new toilet by hovering over the pot to ensure your ass cheeks do not come in contact with the rim. At this point in your training you definitely don’t want to be walking around with a circle of shit on the outer reaches of your ass cheeks. In subsequent weeks you need to begin to sit on the rim of your pot and really start to enjoy having shit just mere inches from your brown eye. Be sure to use just enough toilet paper to leave a little shit in your ass to marinate and begin to burn later on in the day. The duck walk that begins to occur after a burning asshole ensues also helps for training in walking in your snow shoes. It is also very important to practice this technique in the hottest place imaginable. It may be harder for some of you North Westerners but you can seek out a local BBQ joint, most of those places have massive smokers that may reach the temperatures found on a sunny day. The BBQ joint will be perfect when you can’t decide between training or going to dinner. When you have filled your plastic bag completely to the brim with shit, tie the top of it in a knot making sure you get a tiny bit of the shit on your fingertips, just 2 or 3 fingers will work perfectly! Throw the full bag into a drinking well or the neighbor’s pool. Some of the cold weather techniques outlined in the following paragraph MUST be added in the weeks approaching your climb.

Step 2: Dig a 1ft Diameter Hole in Your Front Yard and Mark it with Some Sort of Stick with a Flag on it. Best utilized 6 weeks before you leave for your expedition.

•This hole is your new shitter. It is very vital to build some sort of barrier around your hole that doesn’t hide anything but your feet. It is also crucial to only have your barrier up at random times; make sure you are shitting in the wide open air most times. You will only shit in this hole twice a day and you can only shit when your neighbors are outside watching. Pick a time of the day when the kids are walking home from school, your next door neighbor is outside washing his car, or when Miss Smith is taking the boys to soccer practice. It is very important when squatting to not fall into the hole. Your leg muscles need to be strong enough to hike 2000 vertical feet then squat at a 90 degree angle without shitting in your underwear that are currently wrapped around your ankles. Also a superb technique is to gently rest your nut sack on a baggy of ice (a bag of frozen peas work as well) and then turn on a fan and point it directly in front of your “setup,” this technique best mimics the frigid temperatures and draftiness that occurs high on the mountain.

Step 3: Take Your Favorite Cup or Bottle and with a Permanent Marker Draw a Big “P” on the Top and Sides.

•This bottle is pretty self explanatory; this is where you will be pissing for the remainder of your training in the months before your expedition. The most crucial detail of this exercise is when you have to take a piss, you must lay in your bed while doing so. There are a few techniques to master while doing this, it is best to have a friend lay in the bed next to you and turn his head when you begin to urinate. Also, remember to use no hands for support at anytime during this exercise. You need to continue pissing in your “P” bottle until you fill it to the top, no sooner. It is also good practice to leave any spilt urine in your bed in any case that some hits your blankets. Some people take this exercise a step further by throwing extra bottles in the bed with your “P” bottle and playing a bit of Russian roulette. The way you do this is by taking a sip from the first bottle you grab, no matter what. Not my favorite part of training, but will get you used to piss inside your mouth when your 5 senses start to diminish at 17,000ft camp and above.

Step 4: Stop Taking any Kind of Showers and Seize All Washing of Hands. (Note: May affect social life)

•This is going to be one of the hardest steps in your new training regimen. Loss of friends, girlfriend, and job may occur… which could be a good thing, more time to train! At no point in your training do you wash your body. You may purchase baby ass wipes and wipe your armpits every few days. When your aroma begins to be too much even for yourself to smell, you are on the right track. When you wake up in the middle of the night to have your friend turn his head so you can piss, you want to almost vomit at the sheer ferociousness of the air that is expelled from your sheets. There are a few other small factors that tie indirectly into this step. When you begin to have an urge to fart you can do one of two things. First, get a jar or sandwich bag and release your inner ass into one of these and quickly shove your face into it, ensuring that you receive every shit particle directly into your nostrils. This can also be practiced with sniffing your friends bag or jar as well. Second, instead of using the tried and true bag/jar method you can do the classic “Dutch Oven” technique. This is very simple, when you feel the urge, jump into bed and tightly pull the covers over your head creating a seal to ensure sufficient suckage with each and every subsequent inhalation. Another important thing to practice in cleanliness is eating. Day one of training you need to pick your favorite bowl and spoon or fork and ONLY use these two items during the remainder of your training. At no point during training do you wash these items. You can chip away at old food stuck in your bowl but at NO time do you actually give these a good cleaning. It is very important to get your pallet used to eating a multitude of old food mixed together in your 48th bowl of oatmeal or grits.

A Few More Things...

There are a few more things you MUST remember to practice before you leave for your expedition. These are all VERY important in your success but don’t deserve their own step like the ones above. Be sure to be constantly pulling something when walking around your house or out on the town. You want to make sure that your lower back is constantly strained and never 100%. I would suggest something like a shopping cart with no wheels, be sure to toss a ton of bricks in there to simulate group gear weight on the mountain. When you do decide to hit the gym, which I wouldn’t necessarily recommend unless you have done all these steps beforehand, make sure you get on the stair mill with a great deal of weight and climb on this machine for 11 hours straight, no less. When you are done be sure to go home and sit directly on your tile floor for 10 hrs, only moving to piss in your bed or shit in your hole.

Additional Thoughts:

•Eat the same exact food for months, don’t stray and have any fresh food.
•Ask random people to hear their life stories.
•Brush your teeth when you feel like it, you have no one to impress.
•Break your iPod day 3 of training.
•Drain all camera batteries but leave 1/4 charge in one.
•Do not change your underwear until your shit stain is visible when pissing.
•Put enough clothes on so your frozen bits can barely make it out the zipper when pissing.
•Swear off alcohol
•Begin to learn the Metric system so foreigners don’t think you are a stupid American any more than they already do.
•Every few days grind your feet with sand paper.
•Read books that you would never read at any point in your life, 3x a book.

Now that you know the secret to climbing Denali I will personally GUARANTEE you a summit on your next expedition. Good luck to all of those that try and others, you can mimic this training for fun or to switch up your current training regimen.

You’re Welcome!



Post a Comment
Viewing: 1-6 of 6

AdamsKerr - Sep 21, 2010 5:47 pm - Hasn't voted

thumbs up

you silly SOB.

This almost made me burst out with laughter in the middle of my art history lecture.

For those of you who have not been on Denali.... he IS right. i second everything here.


JimWallace - Feb 27, 2012 9:36 pm - Hasn't voted

best advice

I love it..Best advice I've been given so far


ClimbingPirate - Apr 17, 2012 8:31 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: best advice

Jim, if you are headed there this year, with this advice, you will slay that beast! Good Luck!


Basham - Jul 10, 2016 9:39 pm - Voted 10/10

Thank you

Now I will be able to pretend that I know what I am getting into.


Salmoneer - May 29, 2017 8:16 pm - Voted 10/10

What a Gem

This is seriously the best piece of literature I have consumed in recent memory. You are amazing Adam.


ClimbingPirate - May 29, 2017 8:26 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: What a Gem

Start training now, it's never too early.

Viewing: 1-6 of 6



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