Category Archives: News & Events
“Selected footage from Denali in 2008, captured to support the The Commemorative Climb that is development for 2013 with Daniel Hopkins and Climb For Life. Stay tuned for exciting announcements!
Video production by: Elia Saikaly and FindingLife Films”
Climb for Life and its supporters were able to raise CAD $16,000.00!!! So proud and happy for the children we can help… we have donated CAD $8,000.00 to Yukon Food for Learning and another CAD $ 8,000.00 to Food First Foundation!
Thanks evryone for your immense support!
Great news everyone… Dan called me last night at around 12:15 am and he is back at the Fireweed Station hotel in Talkeetna. They went out to dinner and a beer last night and today, they are going Salmon fishing!! …
Help “Climb for Life” raise funds by selling or buying our miniature mountains
Campaign extended until June 30, 2008
This June, a determined Ottawa adventurer will re-trace his famous ancestor’s footsteps by climbing the precarious slopes of “Denali” (Alaska’s Mount McKinley) to promote child nutrition and youth empowerment in Canada.
Pledging to scale the highest peak in North America (20,320 ft), self-styled climbing enthusiast Dan Hopkins hopes to raise awareness about the challenges that young people face in achieving their highest aspirations. Hopkins has partnered with a number of charitable organizations across the Yukon, NWT and Nunavut to raise funds for child nutrition programs across Canada’s north.
The climb is more than just a personal pursuit for Ottawa’s home-grown mountaineer. Hopkins plans to re-trace the ascent route pursued by his great-uncle, Hudson Stuck – the man who led the first successful expedition to the summit of Denali in 1913. Arguably the coldest mountain in the world, and rising four vertical miles from its base of frozen tundra, “The High One” is the coveted prize among hundreds of mountaineers each year.
The first documented ascent to the true summit of Mount McKinley was made in June 1913 by the Rev. Hudson Stuck, Episcopal archdeacon of the Yukon, accompanied by Walter Harper, Harry Karstens and Robert Tatum. The story of their achievement was colorfully recorded in Stuck’s book, The Ascent of Denali. Out of respect for the traditions of the Native people among whom he lived and worked, Stuck refused to refer to the mountain as McKinley, and devoted the latter part of his life to helping northern Aboriginal communities preserve their language and culture through education and public support.
Ninety-five years later, Hopkins will attempt a new ascent up Denali in an effort to preserve his great-uncle’s legacy of empowering Canada’s northern peoples. “Our children need to be provided with the support to succeed” says Hopkins about his efforts to promote child nutrition in schools. “This includes making sure that kids are fed and ready to learn when they enter the classroom each day.”
Statistics Canada reports that over a million children are living below the health line in Canada, and that tens of thousands of them are sent to school each day without any breakfast or lunch. “Every child deserves the opportunity to attend school and be ready to learn, without having to feel hungry”.
From Dan Hopkins & Simone to everyone
I really wanted to send out a quick hello to everyone to let you know how our post climb journey unfolded.
Simone and I are back in Ottawa. We arrived on Monday, July 7th, and have been on a hectic pace since. I am sure everyone can relate. To add to it all we have brought home our new puppy, a nine week old Akita, and we are getting her used to our lifestyle. During our travels through Alaska we agreed on naming her Denali. It was said on our journey that the mountain represented a very powerful and enthusiastic female energy spirit. A perfect fit for a big female mountain dog.
After leaving Brenton and Geri in Anchorage I picked up Simone and headed back to Talkeetna for the night. We stayed at the Fireweed then packed up all our camping gear and headed out on what we were calling ‘a mission from god!’, our journey to uncover more about Hudson Stuck and the first expedition to the top. Little did Simone know that I had a side task in trying to get her into Denali National Park to show her the mountain and pop the question. Stuck wrote that the nicest view was from the north-west and that meant a few backpacks, a camping permit, and prayers for nice weather. I asked the universe for two things before I left Ottawa. The first was for a clear day high on the mountain so we would have a shot at the top. The second was to have a clear day in the park so I could show her the mountain and ask her to marry me. Well we got both. We trucked into the park and found a nice hill to climb (1000’ single carry) and sat there for a good part of the day with the most fantastic view of Denali that we had ever witnessed. We talked about life and our love for one another. Everything around us was so green and alive. We could see the mountain in such good detail that I took her through Stuck’s journey to where the north route meets the south at Denali Pass. I showed her the Archdeacons Tower and how we cut across the summit ridge to the top. It was incredible. I popped the question and we both teared up in joy for 10 minutes, then for some reason we fell asleep for an hour in the grass. We woke up looking at each other like we had dreamt it all. On our way back to camp we watched two grizzlies wrestling for a good 15-20min’s. We saw caribou, wolves, and moose. It was like being in the jungle book.
We then proceeded north in an attempt to get as far up as Fort Yukon, where we believed Stuck was buried. I had a photo from the family and questions for everyone we met. When you get north on the dirt roads people are few and far between and they really want to know what you are up too. Very friendly and always up for a beverage or two. We finally got a guy from Quebec named ‘Frenchie’ (go figure) in Circle Hot Springs to fly us in. The Fort is not like it once was, but woth the trip out there. Upon our arrival families caught wind that I was a distant nephew and that I had just been on the mountain. We visited a few homes and heard wonderful stories of his passion to help. One family had and original copy of ‘Ascent of Denali’ and they got me to sign it. Apparently upon arriving he immediately set up a home for orphaned kids then went to work with a nurse on eliminating influenza in the village. We were taken to his gravesite by an elder and I buried a necklace that I had brought to the summit. I was going to leave my ice axe but it would not have lasted long. The elder spoke of a film crew that had been to the village recently in search of some information. They were from the BBC and were filming a documentary about mountaineering. Before we left we talked about Walter Harper and how the kids could benefit from knowing that he was of native descent, and the first to step on top of such a prized mountain. Not many people know this and we all felt the story needs to be told. If there is ever a time the kids are in need of someone to look up to it is now. We flew out that evening only because we had negotiated a round trip price. We said our goodbyes and promised we’d keep in touch.
On our way back south we visited people that were connected to Stuck and/or the heritage of the park lands. We visited the archives at the University of Alaska; we actually had gloves on reading the original hand written pages of his books. We met park rangers, guides, doctors, all sorts and each had their views. Each would say you have to meet this guy…and we would, even if we had to drive miles in the opposite direction.
The last person that we were told to visit used to guide for Todd at Alpine Ascents, Brian Mccullough. He’s worked with Discovery Channel and NGS on Denali projects. We met him back in Talkeetna over dinner with Tom and Hobb’s at the Fireweed. They just happened to be great friends, funny that. The King salmon were running when we were there so we borrowed some rods, got a 24hr permit, and hit the hot spot with a liter of wine. It was a good old fashioned shit show, great fun. We did not catch anything but everyone around us did so we got some nice pics. The wine was great.
We both flew out of there with big smiles and changed lives. I want to thank all of you for being such a big part of making our dreams come true. When life reaches out and grabs you like that it leaves an imprint in your soul forever. While cutting the grass yesterday I could not believe how wonderful it smelt.
From Alpine Ascents guide
Hello this is Jonathan Spitzer with Team Jell-O, Alp 7. I am proud to say that 100% of our climbers reached the summit of Denali today. We left at around 9:00 am and hit the summit just before 5:00 this evening under very clear skies and light wind. We strolled on back down to camp and got back around 9:00pm here so 12 hours round trip. We had some hot soup, a good meal and a lot of water and hydration, we have got some tired climbers. Tomorrow we are going to head on down back towards 14 (…transmission break…) and make our way back down to the airstrip. A lot of the climbers would like to thank their loved ones, family and friends for their support and are very excited to show them pictures of them standing on the summit. This is Jonathan signing out.