A 75 lb. Pack & Other Strange Aspects of Climbing the Highest Peak in North America

Chris Eubanks
5 min readOct 1, 2022
Photo by Paul Van Lake on Unsplash

In 2017, I embarked on a once in a lifetime journey to climb the highest mountain in North America. Denali stands at 20,310 ft. (6,190 m) only 200 miles south of the Arctic Circle in Alaska. Due to the heavy pack weight and terrible weather, Denali is considered one of the most challenging climbs in the world. On our final week, our clear weather window to summit was closed by a blizzard that would have given us frostbite in 10 minutes. After 6 months of heavy pack training and spending a small fortune on courses and equipment, we were forced to turn around.

You Have to Train With a 75 lb. (34 kg) Pack for 6 Months Prior to the Expedition

On Denali, you carry a 75 lb. pack while pulling an 85 lb. sled up the mountain. The guides stress that this training needs to start no sooner than 6 months prior to the expedition. Depending on where you live around the world, there are different ways to accomplish this. Climbers in urban areas climb stairs.

Where I was in Australia, I filled a pack with 75 pounds of water jugs and took a tourist train down the mountain. Then I climbed back up the steep winding cliffs of the Blue Mountains carrying my pack. Once I reached the top, I took the train back down and…

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Chris Eubanks

Language learner. Rapidly learning the Finnish language. Follow me for specific knowledge that can't be found anywhere else on the Internet.