Friday, November 13, 2009

2009 Operation Denali: National Geographic's Best Adventure

Marc Hoffmeister, team leader of Operation Denali, was recently awarded Adventurer of the Year. This expedition had unique challenges with 4 of the 6 team members severely injured from the Iraq war. For example, Jon Kuniholm, who lost his arm to an IED, carried two extra prosthetic arms in case one broke. Matt Nyman, who lost his leg in a helicopter crash, hauled extra prosthetic legs in his sled. These guys prepared by taking an AMS mountaineering course in 2008 and made an inspiring video everyone should watch. Be warned, there are some graphic parts.
AMS took the responsibility of this expedition to heart and assigned senior Denali guide, Kirby Senden, plus two assistants, Todd Tumolo and Matt Montavon. Denali is hard for everyone; no one has ever said, "It was easy." And the mountain doesn't make concessions, period. That makes the success of this expedition that much more meaningful. Their story will be covered in National Geographic's Adventure magazine's Dec/Jan print edition and I urge you to vote for it in the Reader's Choice award.

Marc was also honored with the Alaska Governor's Veterans Advocacy Award, awarded to him on Wednesday, Veterans' Day.
Colby Coombs

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