Denali National Park Introduces New Sled Dog Pups

Denali National Park Sled Dog PupsOne of the great annual traditions at Denali National Park is the arrival of a new litter of sled dog pups. The park, which is located in Alaska‘s spectacular and remote wilderness, maintains its own sled dog team for use in patrolling the region throughout the long winter months. Without these teams much of Denali would not be accessible for portions of the year, which makes these trusty canines an important part of the park service team.

In order to maintain a strong and healthy sled dog team the onsite kennel breeds a single female each year. This year that lucky mom is a dog named Sultana, who gave birth to three pups a few weeks back. The names of those new pups hasn’t been announced yet, but they have been introduced to the world via the kennel’s live webcam.

When breeding huskies to be a part of the Denali sled dog team, the kennel is looking for strong dogs with long legs that can easily break trail in deep snow. They also prefer compact paws that can resist the build-up of snow and ice, as well as thick coats and puffy tails to keep the dogs warm in the Alaskan winters. It is too early yet to know if these new pups will exhibit all of those traits but considering their parents were hand picked it is likely they’ll join the team sometime in the future.

For now, the pups will stay in the kennel, and on webcam, until they are old enough to start their training. That means that throughout the summer we’ll be able to watch them grow up before our very eyes. Stop back whenever you need a quick dose of cute.

[Photo courtesy Denali National Park Facebook Page]

Teen mountaineer completes Seven Summits

Jordan Romero completes the Seven Summits15 year old mountaineer Jordan Romero has completed his quest to climb the Seven Summits, the tallest mountain on each of the seven continents, and in the process became the youngest person to achieve that feat. On Christmas Eve, Jordan, along with father Paul and stepmother Karen, reached the top of the 16,050-foot Mt. Vinson in Antarctica, the last of the mountains on his list.

Jordan first dreamed of climbing the Seven Summits after seeing a mural on the iconic peaks in his grade school. He was just ten years old at the time. Later that year, he would bag his first summit, climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro, the tallest peak in Africa. He would follow that up with successful climbs of Kosciuszko (Australia), Elbrus (Europe), Aconcagua (South America), Denali (North America), and Carstensz Pyramid (Oceania).

But it was his successful summit of Mt. Everest, the tallest mountain on the planet, that grabbed headlines around the globe. At the time, Jordan was just 13 years old, and his bold expedition sparked debate in the mountaineering community over how young is too young to climb the world’s biggest mountains.

The logistics and location of climbing in Antarctica forced Jordan to wait another year and a half to climb Mt. Vinson, but now he has claimed that summit too. Last Friday, the teenager, along with his parents, moved up to High Camp on that mountain, and on Saturday – Christmas Eve – they continued on to the summit itself. Weather conditions, as you would expect, were challenging, with high winds and sub-zero temperatures dogging them all the way. But int he end, they topped out at about 1 PM local time. They then safely descended back down the mountain and skied back to Base Camp, where they enjoyed Christmas dinner.

Congratulations to Jordan on completing his quest to climb the Seven Summits. Well done young man!

[Photo courtesy of Jordan Romero]

Teen climber Jordan Romero prepares for final Seven Summit

Jordan Romero will take on Mt. Vinson nextWhen we last checked in with teenage mountaineer Jordan Romero, he had just finished climbing Mt. Everest and in the process, setting a record for the youngest person to accomplish that feat. Jordan was 13 at the time, and razor focused on becoming the youngest person to reach the top of the highest mountain on each of the seven continents. Now, a year and a half later, with one mountain still on his list, he is preparing to achieve that goal as well.

Next week, Jordan, now age 15, will leave the U.S. for Antarctica, where he and his father Paul, along with step-mom Karen Lundgren, will attempt to climb Mt. Vinson, the highest peak on the continent. If all goes according to schedule, he’ll arrive in the Antarctic on December 16 and start the climb the following day. Over the following two weeks, Jordan and his team will face brutally cold temperatures, high winds, and the threat of avalanches, all for the chance to stand on the summit of the 16,050-foot mountain. If successful, Romero will become the youngest person to complete the Seven Summits.

Jordan first conceived of the idea of climbing the highest mountains on each of the continents when he saw a mural of the Seven Summits in his elementary school. That was back in 2005, when he was just nine years old. The following year he was off to Africa, where he trekked to the top of Kilimanjaro, which only fueled his desire to climb those mountains. In 2007 he checked Kosciuszko (Australia), Elbrus (Europe), and Aconcagua (South America) off of his list, and summitted Denali (North America) and Carstensz Pyramid (Oceania) in 2008 and 2009 respectively.

Last year, he gained recognition worldwide for his successful climb of Everest, igniting a debate in the mountaineering community in the process. Many climbers began to wonder just how young was too young, which later prompted Nepal and China to set strict age limits, requiring Everest climbers to be at least 18 years old. The move was applauded by many, although some felt that Jordan was proof that young climbers could do well on the world’s tallest mountains.

[Photo courtesy of Jordan Romero]

Video: skiing and snowboarding from the summit of Denali

What does it take to ski Denali, North America‘s’ tallest mountain? In addition to a large, metaphorical pair of cojones, which all of the men and women of this film possess, it takes sheer endurance and will to want to climb 20,320 feet just to ski right back down.

The Denali Experiment is a 15-minute film that follows a band of some of the world’s best skiers and snowboarders on their quest to ride the powder from the top of Alaska. But this is hardly a film full of hot dog moves. Director Renan Ozturk gives viewers a good sense of how difficult the trek to Denali’s summit can be, as well as shows us how fulfilling it can be to complete an adventure one once thought was impossible.

Denali sled dog pups on national park’s webcam

Sled dog pups in Denali National Park are adorableDenali National Park, located in the stunning wilds of Alaska, is amongst the more remote and beautiful destinations in the entire U.S. park system. It is well known for its array of wildlife, a single 91-mile scenic road, and as the location of Mt. McKinley, the tallest mountain in North America. What many visitors don’t know however, is that the park has its own dog kennel, which is home to a new litter of sled dog pups on an annual basis.

In late July, pups Tatum, Koven, and Carpe, named for peaks inside the park, joined the Denali pack after their mother, Pingo, gave birth to them. Since then, they have been growing very quickly, as pups are known to do, and after they turned three weeks old, the National Park Service installed a webcam into their kennel giving us the opportunity to peek in on them from time to time. To catch a glimpse of these energetic, feisty, and downright adorable pups, click here.

The Denali sled dogs are no doubt beautiful animals, and thousands of visitors stop by to see them each and every summer. But they also play a vitally important role in park operations during the very long Alaskan winters as well. Sled dog teams provide access to sections of the park that simply can’t be reached by any other means and without them rangers simply wouldn’t be able to patrol the park as effectively. It is for that reason that the park breeds a single litter each year, choosing two strong parents to bring new members into the pack.

Tatum, Koven, and Carpe won’t be pulling a sled anytime soon, but they will be on webcam until they are ready to join the adults and begin their training. Until then though, we’ll get to watch them grow up before our eyes.

[Photo courtesy NPS/Larissa Yocum]