Fall City family climbing team takes on Denali next month, highest peak in North America

What are you doing for vacation this year? Chances are you’re probably not doing what these local men are doing.

Next month a Fall City team of climbers will head to Alaska to climb Denali (AKA Mt. McKinley), which is the highest peak in North America at over 20,000 feet.

And this is no ordinary climbing team. This expedition – “Denali Family 2018” – will see Jon Corriveau heading back to the mountain he’s summited twice before with is two sons and nephew.

The very experienced family climbing team is led by Jon, who first climbed Denali in 1977 when he was just 16 years old. Joining him are sons Charlie (23) and George (19), nephew Joe Kinner (21), Aaron Peterson (23) – all Mount Si High School grads – and family friend Paul Cook.  The expedition is sponsored by Pro Ski Service in North Bend and Ocean Beauty Seafood in Seattle.

When Jon first climbed Denali he was the youngest to do it – and was even recognized by Sports Illustrated. He said if someone told him at that time that he’d being going back with his sons, he would’ve thought they were completely crazy.

He is going back, though, and sharing his love of mountain climbing with his sons and nephew.  But don’t start thinking the idea was his. That credit actually goes to his sons.

Jon commented, “My wife would kill me if I proposed the idea.” Wife Kathleen is apparently supportive, but not thrilled about next month’s climb. Charlie and George are the couple’s only two children.

Jon started climbing when he was just 12 years old, as he didn’t play any competitive sports. His sons picked it up after high school when they were done with competitive sports.

And to say Jon has climbed a lot might be an understatement.

He first climbed Mt. Rainier at age 13. He’s now climbed it 58 times using 17 different routes.  He’s also climbed Rainier with his boys three times, using three different routes.

Jon has climbed Denali twice – in 1977 and 1978, using two different routes. The mountain is the third highest summit of the Seven Summits, which refers to the highest summits on each continent.

Wait. Did we mention there’s also no guide involved in this expedition? Jon has done all of the planning himself, including all logistics and food preparations, for the entire team.

They’ve allotted 24 days for the expedition: May 5th through May 29th. If things went perfectly, realistically it would take 10-14 days, but they’ve given themselves 24 days due to possible weather conditions.

The trip just to reach the mountain will require a commercial plane, a van ride, a bush plane and then skis. They’ll land just outside of the National Park boundary and ski in about 15 miles to the mountain, each transporting about 150lbs of gear and food – half worn in a backpack and the rest towed in sleds.

Once at Denali’s base, the climbing begins. If it’s too steep for sleds, the gear will have to be double carried on their backs. The advance base camp will be located up the mountain at 14,400 ft (so as high as Mt. Rainier). The high base camp will be situated at 17,200 feet. From there they will attempt to reach the summit at 20, 320 feet. And if weather permits, skis will be carried to the summit so the descent can be done on skis.

Good luck to this adventured-filled team!  Look for a follow-up article to let you know how it went.


Paul Cook, Charlie Corriveau, Joe Kinner, George Corriveau, Jon Corriveau, Aaron Peterson


George Corriveau, Jon Corriveau, and Charlie Corriveau on the summit of Mt. Rainier on July 24, 2016


Jon Corriveau on the summit of Mt. McKinley on May 30th, 1977










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