Saddleback student rock climber attempts one of the seven summits, Denali

David Kerner discovers failure in itself as motivation to climb Denali

David Kerner getting ready to climb at base camp in Denali, Alaska. Photo courtesy of David Kerner.

David Kerner, 20, is a geology student at Saddleback College who has been rock climbing since the age of 6. Beginning at an early age it was a love for being outdoors and exploring according to Kerner, and since then has continuously been pushing himself to new heights.

It began locally just behind his house were sheets of sandstone, his first experience at climbing any rocks. From there his love for the sport took off and began climbing areas such a Joshua Tree in San Bernardino, and Half Dome in Yosemite.

One of the biggest challenges he has faced in his climbing career has been the Denali summit, located in Alaska. With an elevation of 20,310 feet, Denali is the highest mountain peak in North America according to live science.  Climbers from around the world have attempted climbing to the top, many unsuccessful.  

With a climb like Denali are dangers such as avalanches. To be on a challenging climb such as Denali, one must be properly educated and trained to handle the unexpected. Rock climbers we’re not crazy, we’re not stupid, we understand the risks involved says Kerner.

            “At 11,000 feet I looked out my tent and saw chunks of ice and snow falling from thousands of feet above my head,” said Kerner. “But at the end of the day you just accept the risks and keep moving.”

Climbing to the top off Stately Pleasure Dome in Yosemite. Photo courtesy of David Kerner.

Denali has pushed his limits and has created motivation to one day make it successfully to the top. Failure is really just finding where your limits are says Kerner, and with each failure creates motivation for future climbs.

Rock climbing is a sport where one must accept failure. To be unsuccessful to reach the top of a summit is commonplace, and though discouraged, sees the mistakes made to try and try again.

“Failure to me is you weren’t ready at the time,” said Kerner. “Your skills weren’t there or that you didn’t have the knowledge.”

Since his last attempt, he plans to go back to Denali this summer to execute another attempt at climbing to the top of the summit.