Intrepid mountaineer and Wellbeing of Women International Ambassador, Heather Geluk, has braved severe conditions to climb North America’s tallest mountain, Denali, to raise money for women’s health.
Departing on June 10th, Heather from Ontario, Canada tackled the notoriously challenging west buttress route to reach the summit on June 28th.
Denali rises an icy 6,190m (20,310 feet) out of a sea of glaciers and other peaks that comprise the Alaska Range.
High altitude, sub-Arctic conditions, fickle weather, unpredictable storms, steep slopes, and deep crevasses combine to make Denali one of the most difficult and severe mountains in the world.
Support Heather and donate to her fundraising page here.
Heather said: “It was an absolutely epic expedition and definitely one of the most challenging mountains that I’ve ever climbed.
“The conditions were exceptionally harsh with heavy snowfall, extreme cold, huge pack and sled loads and the added benefit of an 8-day storm – the tail end of a cyclone – which had us trapped in a small tent for eight days fighting to keep the snow from burying our ‘home away from home’.
“When the storm finally relented we managed to make our way up to a higher camp at 14,000 ft where our small team joined a team of US-Navy Seals. This gave us some extra motivation and strength to continue on to the 20,000 ft summit which we reached on 28 June in a 17-hour summit push.”
The climb involved relaying hoards of equipment over 66 kilometers (41 miles) in three weeks.
“Climbing Denali is no different from any other challenges we aim to overcome in our lives
Heather carried a 60-pound pack and pull a 40-pound sled, loaded with gear to establish camps on the mountain as she prepared to summit.
Throughout this adventure Heather has supported the life-saving work of Women’s College Hospital (WCH) in Canada and Wellbeing of Women.
“Climbing Denali is no different from any other challenges we aim to overcome in our lives,” Heather explained.
“Whether starting a new job, mending a broken relationship or stepping outside of our comfort zone, we’re all climbing a mountain of sorts.
“These experiences require us to be stronger than we think we are, endure more than we think we can, and become more than we dreamed possible.
“By supporting the work of WCH and Wellbeing of Women I want to play a direct role in making those proverbial mountains easier to climb by helping to advance the health and wellbeing of women and creating solutions for the healthcare system that benefit all people – making everyone’s lives better and easier today and tomorrow,” she added.
We’re immensely proud of Heather and her heroic feat. It’s incredibly powerful how much can be achieved when women support women and we’re honoured she took on this challenge under the Wellbeing of Women banner.
#Repost @mountainclimbgrace with @get_repost ・・・ Denali Diaries Day 2: See more on my Story Tab or Story highlights. . . On June 12, 2018 @mountainclimbgrace, @hgeluk (and @prddraper and Wes Bunch (guide w/ @alaskamountaineeringschool) spent a couple of hours taking down camp, burying a food cache and loading/rigging sleds, rope and snowshoes for a solid day of crevasses glacier slogging from 7200ft to C1 at 7800ft. . . Lots of distance and not much elevation gain. All covered while tied together and lugging heavy loads in our packs and sleds. . We had a mix of ⛅ with our first taste of creepy low visibility which would always end up hitting us in the most crevassed terrain. But all was worth it when we pulled into C1 (AKA 7800ft Camp) and found ourselves in what was only the beginning of endless stunning terrain at the base of Ski Hill – the gateway to Day 3. . See my story tab for more. . . Can’t get enough or want a second perspective on this day? Follow @hgeluk and check out her daily recap story on her feed and Story Tab. #denalidiaries #climbing #mountaineering #alaska #denali #mckinley #girlswhoclimb #climbing_pictures_of_instagram #adventure #travelblogger @arcteryx @arcteryxtoronto #arcteryx @blackdiamond #blackdiamond @suuntonorthamerica #suunto @alaskamountaineeringschool @denalinps
Raising heights to raise money
For over 10 years, Heather has braved 25 significant expeditions to the highest mountains on earth, including Everest, Lhotse and Makalu, and has raised over $350,000 for charity.
On April 25 2015, during a record-breaking expedition to become the first woman in 23 years and second woman ever to climb Shishapangma and Cho Oyu, in the Nepal Himalaya, Heather was caught in the devastating magnitude 7.8 earthquake that killed over 9,000 people and injured over 25,000.
Fortunate to have survived, Heather stayed on in Nepal to provided humanitarian assistance to those thousands of men, women and children impacted by the earthquake.
Support Heather by donating to her fundraising page here