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The Storms of Denali
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The Storms of Denali

The Storms of Denali
by Nicholas O'Connell


Reaching 20,320 feet into and above the clouds, the peak of Denali is the highest and coldest summit in North America. In this novel of adventure, adversity, and ambition by renowned mountaineer and writer Nicholas O'Connell, four men set out to conquer it. Among the sharply drawn team members is narrator John Walker, a family man trying to choose between domestic stability and mountaineering’s uncertain glory. In the course of their ascent the group battles avalanches, fierce winds, and mind-numbing cold before their bond begins to splinter, leading inexorably to tragedy.

Throughout the book, the author's first-hand experience lends vivid reality to the formidable challenges of the mountain and to the bonds formed and broken in the pursuit of its summit. Beyond the physical tolls, O'Connell presents in stark relief the internal debate about the price of success—all the more urgent at the earth's extremes.


"An extraordinary novel. Through verisimilitude and candor rarely found in the nonfiction literature of North America's highest peak, O'Connell plumbs the motivations, risk, and nuances of an ordinary climber's life. The mounting tension, deft characterizations, and sun-burnt realism of The Storms of Denali transport the reader more vividly than any other book about the mountain." — Jonathan Waterman, author of In the Shadow of Denali and Running Dry

"...entertaining and engaging for readers even if they don’t know much about climbing." — David Guterson, author of Snow Falling on Cedars, Ed King

"...a great study for those who wish to climb high and a thriller for the 'armchair mountaineer.'" — Lou Whittaker, author of Memoirs of a Mountain Guide and Founder of Rainier Mountaineering, Inc.

"Nick O'Connell has portrayed the risks, joys, emotions, and hard labor experienced during the ascent of North America's most frigid mountain." — Fred Beckey, a legend in climbing circles, has made more first ascents in North America than anyone else. He's the author of Fred Beckey's 100 Favorite North American Climbs

"...a thrilling ride and danged satisfying read." — Charles Johnson is the author of the National Book Award-winning novel, Middle Passage

"There is a short list of memorable works of fiction about climbing. The Storms of Denali deserves to be among them." — Jim Wickwire was one of first two Americans to summit K2 and co-author of the memoir, Addicted to Danger

"The Storms of Denali will sweep you in like an avalanche on the south face of the mountain herself. O'Connell's novel teaches us what an adventure story is really about—attempting the top is only part of the game; finding one's way home is what makes the true hero." — Garth Stein, author of the bestseller, The Art of Racing in the Rain

"Whether you're an experienced climber or an armchair mountaineer, you're going to enjoy the read." — Phil Ershler of International Mountain Guides made the first American ascent of the north side of Everest and wrote Together on Top of the World

"Destined to become a classic in North American climbing fiction." — John Race, longtime Denali Guide and director of The Northwest Mountain School

Learn more about Nick at

About the Author

Nicholas O’Connell, M.F.A, Ph.D., is the author of The Storms of Denali, On Sacred Ground: The Spirit of Place in Pacific Northwest Literature, At the Field's End: Interviews with 22 Pacific Northwest Writers, Contemporary Ecofiction and Beyond Risk: Conversations with Climbers. He has contributed to Newsweek, Gourmet, Saveur, Outside, GO, National Geographic Adventure, Condé Nast Traveler, Food & Wine, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Sierra, The Wine Spectator, Commonweal, Image and many other places. He is the publisher/editor of The Writer's Workshop Review and the founder of the online and Seattle-based writing program,

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