I was privileged to get to know father and son Marty and Denali Schmidt on our 2013 K2 expedition, before, tragically, they were killed in an avalanche at Camp 3 at 7300 metres on 27 July 2013, which aborted that year’s summit attempt.
Since then, their families have been in regular contact, particularly Denali’s mother Joanne (Schmidt) Munisteri and sister Sequoia. And it was both an honor and very humbling for Joanne to fly in especially for my presentation dinner ‘K2 – the Tragedy and the Triumph’ in Dubai on 15th October, my announcement of her to the packed audience bringing a huge round of applause and, so I learned after, leaving many in tears.
Aside from being a fine and very strong climber, Denali was a passionate artist and Joanne and Sequoia have set up a foundation, the Denali Foundation, whose mission statement is:
The Denali Foundation’s purpose is the preservation of the artwork of Denali Schmidt and the support for the expansion of minds of young artists.
I knew of and had corresponded with well-known Marty a number of times prior to K2 2013 but that expedition was the first I had met Denali. And although I only knew him for 5-6 weeks, one does get to know people quite intimately in the close confines of an expedition base camp. He was a damn nice guy, humble, very friendly, mature beyond his 25 years and with always time and a word for everyone. He will be painfully missed by those close to him.
Your support for the foundation is much appreciated: www.peakinspirations.com/the-foundation.html