A former Kodiak resident will return to his stomping grounds Friday and talk about his new book. Andy Hall worked at the Kodiak Daily Mirror in the late 1980s and early 90s and published his first book, Denali’s Howl, in June.
The book documents the true story of the worst climbing accident to ever occur on Mt. McKinley.
“It happened in 1967. And it was a 12 man expedition and seven of them died in a pretty horrific storm that rolled in without a lot of warning. It’s also a personal story because my dad was the superintendent of the park at the time. In those days it was Mount McKinley National Park.”
Hall said he decided to write the book years later, after his father passed away.
“There were a lot of unanswered questions. So I started on this, really in earnest, about 3.5 years ago – maybe four – and just started digging into the records and interviewing survivors and rescuers and that’s really the gist of it. I wanted to tell my dad’s story. Because I knew there were a lot of things – a lot of elements – to the incident that had never been reported on.”
The book has received quite a bit of publicity over the past few months, with reviews being written in The Wall Street Journal, National Geographic and Outside Magazine, in addition to newspapers throughout Alaska and the Northwest. While the feedback has been positive, Hall said the best response came from one of the rescuers featured in the book.
“And he called me after the book came out – I saw him at the book launch so I gave him a copy – and he called me like a day and a half later and he said I haven’t read a book from cover to cover in one sitting for about 20 years but I couldn’t put it down. Of course, he was part of the story, but he felt like I portrayed it accurately.”
Hall said the book features contemporary interviews and historical research, and took him a full year to write – plus an additional year of rewrites and edits.
On Friday, Hall will present his book and share copies with the community, during a presentation at the Kodiak Public Library starting at 5 p.m.