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Denali, Alaska

Denali, one of Lara and Steve's Alaskan Malamutes, in Colorado

Lara and Steve are longtime adopters for POLARIS dogs and one of our foster families. They first adopted a dog from POLARIS over ten years ago; he was named "Denali." They also have a passion for mountaineering. It is fitting that this year as they climb Denali, in Alaska, Lara is interested in doing a fundraiser for POLARIS Alaskan Malamute Rescue, in Denali's Memory, to help other malamutes find new homes...

Background on the Denali Climb

Lara and Steve are not new to climbing. In pursuit of climbing the Seven Summits ( ), they have previously attempted to climb to the summit of Denali (formerly known as Mt. McKinley), but weather prevented them from reaching the top. For people who are new to mountaineering, the Denali Climb takes about three weeks from Base Camp to the Summit and an elevation gain of over 13,000 feet (see above map for the route that will be taken). Months of advanced training and specialized gear is required. Items to bring are specific as the climber has to carry many things in their 60 lbs. backpack & drag a sled. There is a team of climbers who participate, many complete world class mountain routes together.

Check out the following images that portray some of the experiences that are encountered on the Denali Climb... (Note: these images are from Lara & Steve's prior Denali Climb).

Required gear laid out for guides to check.

Arriving at Base Camp.

The team assembles.

The Team sets up tents, rests and grabs something to eat (remember they carry all food, cooking & living needs with them) as they adjust to the elevation.

Great backdrop for a snooze!

"Climb" cuisine at mealtime...

The Climb begins and the Team heads out to reach the next stopping point. Beautiful scenery and potentially dangerous crevasses in the snow and ice are encountered along the way. Safety is key!

Heading up the mountain.

Avoiding the crevasses.

Amazing vistas as Steve and Lara climb!

Months of advanced skill preparation is key to endure the strenuous activity over the duration of the Climb.

Incredible views reward the climbers.

Background on Alaskan Malamutes

The Alaskan Malamute evolved in the Arctic regions, shaped by the adverse climatic conditions. The breed's origin is unknown, but was first described living among the native Inuit people known as the Mahlemuts, who lived along Norton Sound on Alaska's northwest coast. The word "Mahlemut" comes from "Mahle", an Inuit tribe name, and "mut", meaning village. The dogs served as hunting partners for big game, and hauled the heavy loads back home. These dogs were, of necessity, large and strong rather than fast, enabling one dog to do the work of many smaller dogs.

Some malamutes were chosen to help Admiral Byrd in his 1933 trek to the South Pole. During World War II, the malamute was once again called into service, this time to serve as freight haulers, pack animals, and search-and-rescue dogs. In 1935, the breed was first recognized by AKC.

The Alaskan Malamute is powerful, independent, strong willed, and fun loving. Given the dog's history as a sled dog, the malamute loves activity and interaction with the family. Malamutes are family oriented, and as long as they are given daily exercise, they are well-mannered in the home. Without proper exercise, they can become frustrated and destructive. This dog is friendly and sociable toward people, but may be assertive and should be introduced carefully to new dogs, pets, or livestock. Some can be domineering, and tend to dig and howl. Credit:

Alaskan Malamute Rescue and Denali, of Colorado


Lara and Steve's first rescue dog from POLARIS was a handsome, playful guy named Denali. His first owners tied him in a garage for hours at a time during the day and later finally recognized that he needed a better life. Steve and Lara adopted him and provided him with the lengthy training and care he needed to overcome some challenging behaviors. He shared their home for over a decade, over which time additional POLARIS malamutes were adopted and were worked with to become better behaved and fit in with the family pack.

Helping Mals in Need...

POLARIS Alaskan Malamute Rescue is an affiliate of AMAL: Alaskan Malamute Assistance League, a national network of independently run Malamute rescues. POLARIS provides educational, surrender, rehabilitation and adoption services in Colorado and New Mexico.

POLARIS is also a 501C3 nonprofit charitable organization. They have no employees and have all volunteers who provide services that assist the public and new mal owners to understand the breed behaviors, take in dogs for rescue, provide rehabilitation as necessary and adopt to prequalified families who will offer safe and loving homes for these wonderful dogs.

Providing proper care for our mals includes safe containment in foster homes and appropriate boarding facilities. Rehabilitation and necessary vet work is done so dogs are up-to-date on shots and altering before being placed in new homes. -All of you dog owners know this takes time and money. Consider donating now to help out Lara's favorite breed!

Lara's fundraising goal is to have individual contributors collectively reach (a minimum) of $3,500. Each donor in advance and during the Denali Climb (June 22nd-July15th) will receive an email link to follow Lara as she and the Team head up the mountain. The Team will report regular Climb status (as weather allows) and share some experiences as the Team progresses to each stop during the three weeks, aiming to reach the Summit. Donors will also get a receipt for tax considerations, according to U.S. IRS requirements.

The collective funding goals are in conjunction with the Denali Climb Camp elevations:

  • Base Camp (6,600 ft.) = $500
  • Camp 1 (7,800 ft.) = $1,000
  • Camp 2 (11,000 ft.) = $1,500
  • Camp 3 (14,200 ft.) = $2,500
  • Camp 4 (17,200 ft.) = $3,000
  • Summit (20,310 ft.) = $3,500 - Total

If you have a place in your heart for Alaskan Malamutes (or rescue dogs in general), a passion for outdoor adventure, or just want to support Lara's cause, in memory of Denali - please make an affordable contribution and together we'll all "climb" the donation mountain!

DONATE: (PayPal or Credit/Debit Card).

Checks may be mailed to:
POLARIS Alaskan Malamute Rescue, Denali Climb 2021,
P.O. Box 7276, Golden, CO 80403

Some mals that POLARIS has placed in their "forever homes"

AMAL celebrates 20 years of rescue: . Note: Linked YouTube video on this site is a little less than 20 minutes length.

Hope to have you join in on the excitement and Climb news with Lara as the Team ascend to the summit of Denali while your contributions help other Malamutes through the memory of Denali, of Colorado!

Thank you in advance for your support of rescue...