From GREG KLEIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
The father-son climbing team Tim and Henry Horvath is on the way again to conquer Denali Mountain in Alaska in June.
The father and son team traveled to Alaska on Monday, June 7th.
“It was kind of my idea,” said Henry, 16, who had just finished his sophomore year at Middlesex School in Concord, Massachusetts.
“Kind of like? I’ve done this before. I didn’t have to do it again,” said Tim, laughing.
“Okay, that was my idea,” said Henry.
You should fly to Anchorage and then travel to Talkeentna, about 130 kilometers away, from where you can fly to the glacier hike of the highest mountain in the United States at about 20,000 feet.
With about 40 pounds of equipment, including two weeks of food, the Horvaths will attempt to climb Denali.
Fresh from another mountain hike, the duo will finish the Adirondack Winter Trail in March, which runs from Northville to Lake Placid in seven days and nine hours. The time was the fastest known time for an unassisted duo on the winter hiking trail.
“That’s actually one of the reasons we did the Northpoint to Lake Placid Trail,” said Henry. “We thought it would be a good trip to see if I could do Denali too.”
Tim is from Cherry Valley and the owner of Redpoint Design / Builders. He grew up loving nature. The habit of cycling turned into a habit of hiking, with the goal of reaching peaks and seeing views that most people don’t get, he said.
Horvath said he has undertaken 14 expeditions to the world’s highest peaks, including Denali in 1995 and 1999 and the Himalayas in Nepal.
In 1995 Horvath said the weather was not right for a summit to Denali and he and everyone else were knocked back by a storm that year. In 1999 he was luckier.
Neither Horvath seemed sure of climbing Denali this month, but both said they feel they have the skills when the conditions are right.
“Every year about 1,000 people try Denali and about 50% will reach the top,” said Tim.
Outdoor skills, winter survival skills, and hiking and climbing skills will help their mission, they said. They will carry backpacks, pull sleds with half their gear, and jump back and forth, doing each part of the climb twice as they acclimate to the altitude, they said.
And as if that wasn’t challenging enough, they’ll do it in 24-hour sunlight, a feature of Alaska’s northern location. “You have to wear sunglasses to sleep,” said Tim.
The Horvaths have booked a flight home for July 1st, but they said they could return home earlier if they see great success or failure.
Success brings you to the top, but failure could be much worse.
“It shouldn’t be underestimated, you’re crossing glaciers,” said Tim. “There are crevices and you are tied with ropes, if one of you falls you are anchored to the other person. It’s not safe, but there will be about 150 people with us doing the same thing at the same time. You are never more than five miles from safety.
“As a father, I wouldn’t make Henry do it if I didn’t think he could,” he said. “There are a few other places I wouldn’t take my 16-year-old son with me.”
To add to the challenge, Henry is raising money for Otsego Outdoors, a joint venture between Otsego 2000 and the Otsego Land Trust that aims to promote and maintain outdoor activities in Otsego County.
Donations are made through a tracker app, www.pledgeit.org/denali, and people can donate money for any level of advancement Henry successfully completes. He said he wanted to raise money for a group that celebrates and promotes nature in order to share his passion with other people.
“When I can give something back to a group that supports outdoor activities on site, that’s great,” said Henry. “It’s a good cause. All the money goes to her. “