To prepare for Denali, I am traveling to several locations in Europe and the US. The trips test my fitness, skills, and preparation for the expedition.


A Group Acclimatizes in the Distance

The Nimbostratus clouds of the previous day slowly clear around 3 am in the morning. A half moon and several stars compete against lingering Stratus clouds as the sky slowly starts to clear. Read more

Hiking Up to High Camp

The Trail to High Camp

I wake to strange sounds at 4:00 am in the morning. I hear a soft swaying and a gentle rustling in the dark. There is stifled movement coming from the volleyball court in front of the canteen. The sounds are too muffled for a pre-dawn volleyball match. Read more

Rolling with the Stones

Wild Horses on the Aerodrome

A luchador deftly slides behind my back. His arms are around my neck before I can react. He applies a sleeper hold. I start to feel groggy. My arms fail to move. They are stuck in place at my side. Read more

Clutch Moments

Prielbrusye National Park, Russia

The smell of burnt transmission fluid lingers in the air as our minibus pulls off the road. We are in the Prielbrusye National Park a few hundred meters from a bridge that crosses the Malka River. We are uncertain whether the minibus or its driver refuse to go any farther. Read more

Pilgrimage in Piatygorsk

City of Piatygorsk (Пятигорск or Five Mountains), Russia

Xavier and I quietly enter the reconstructed Cathedral of Christ the Savior. Like many other places of Orthodox worship, the Soviets blew up the original church building in 1936. The building we enter was consecrated and reopened in December 2012.
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Sleepless in Sheremetyevo

Moscow Sheremetyevo (SVO) Airport

I stand motionless as his eyes slowly close and his forehead tips slightly forward. I stare forward trying to remain calm. Read more