The Fun Scale: Denali Type Fun

Most of us have heard of the Fun Scale – Type I, II, and III Fun. While on our climb, I started referring to certain situations that are very “Denali” to “Denali Type Fun”. Anyone who has attempted Denali, or something similar, knows exactly what I’m talking about… It’s traveling in whiteout conditions with an overweight pack with an unruly sled attached while hoping that the snow doesn’t fall so fast that it hides the navigation wands to your destination. It’s moving camp without any rest breaks because the cold and wind is too piercing to allow you to stop. It’s pooping in a bucket behind a snow wall only to stand up to see fellow climbers 2 feet away from you, and then the pleasure of carrying that bucket between camps. It’s two people trying to figure out how to dry/air out all of their belongings in a 7.5′ x 7′ space without making the other person gag (the answer is foot powder by the way!). It’s spending thousands of dollars to have the pleasure of participating in a month-long sufferfest. And the list could go on…

Heading down to Camp 1

Type Denali Fun: Heading down from 11k camp (Camp 2) to Camp 1 in a whiteout.

Sounds fun, huh?! Somehow, I still think so and would be back on the mountain in a heartbeat. I mean, I’ve had a shower and some real food, so it’s time to get back out there, right? Not sure anyone else on the team feels the same way considering I keep hearing talk of cragging in the sun, wearing sun dresses, and participating anything that doesn’t involve snow or cold weather. I on the other hand am hoping to get out in the PNW as much as I can while the snow is still in. Our shitty snow year has caused route conditions to be about 2 months ahead of schedule! Boo! So I guess the answer is yes, it is time to get back out there – at least to have some PNW Fun.

In retrospect, it might be more appropriate call it “Expedition Type Fun”, but since Denali is my only frame of reference at this point, I’ll stick to Denali Type Fun until I can tick another expedition off the list.

Revised Fun Scale:

Type I Fun – true fun, enjoyable while it’s happening.

Type II Fun – fun only in retrospect, hateful while it’s happening.

Type III Fun – not fun at all, not even in retrospect.

Type Denali Fun – not enjoyable at the time, not really in retrospect either, but not horrible enough to be considered Type III fun. Similar to Type II Fun, but only experienced in expedition climbing.

Kelly Cordes’ (one of my favorite climbers) take on the Fun Scale:

Beautiful day up the fix lines

Type I Fun: beautiful day just above the fixed lines

A Little Inspiration: First African-American team to Summit Denali

This is just an AmericanAscentawesome story. An American Ascent is a film about the first all African-American team, consisting of men and women, to climb and successfully summit Denali.

I came across this project a month or two ago when someone at the gym forwarded me the story through Kickstarter and thought it was pretty inspirational. Kickstarter is a place where people can raise money to fund creative projects, from films to apparel. This climbing team wanted to document their story so they used Kickstarter to help fund the cost of filming their climb. Pretty awesome project in my opinion.

I was reminded of the project today when another friend sent me the link to the film’s website. I didn’t realize the film was already complete, let alone starting screenings. I wish it was being screened somewhere near Seattle. If you’re near one of their screenings, you should definitely check it out!

Favorite quote from the trailer:

“This shit is going to be hard and you know it, so as soon as you get that in your head then you’re gonna be alright. You know, just don’t bullshit yourself.”

This is the attitude I’ve been taking while mentally preparing for the climb. It’s good to know it’s a constructive way to approach Denali.

Check out the trailer, it’s truly inspirational.

An American Ascent – Film Trailer from Distill Productions on Vimeo.