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Scott Lehmann and Shayna Unger



On June 13, 2021 Scott Lehmann, Shayna Unger and
Chad Unger became the first all-deaf team to reach the
summit of North America’s tallest mountain, Denali.
Denali | Scott & Shayna

After climbing Mount Kilimanjaro and Aconcagua, Scott and Shayna set their eyes on Denali in Alaska. This was further motivated by Scott’s 50 High Points goal; the only remaining state was Denali in Alaska. As the duo began preparing for the climb, they learned that there had only been two other deaf people who did summit Denali (Kenneth Litherland, 1985 and Heidi Zimmer, 1991). Scott and Shayna decided to create a team that was fully led by deaf climbers. This would enable them to climb without communication barriers. Shayna’s brother, Chad Unger, joined them to film and document the journey. On June 13, 2021, after a 13-day expedition, they became the first deaf-led team to summit Denali. The climb also made Scott the 342nd person in the world and the very first deaf individual to summit all of the 50 states’ high points.

Teaming Up with CorpsTHAT

Scott, Shayna, and Chad also teamed up with the nonprofit CorpsTHAT to fund raises. CorpsTHAT was founded by a group of deaf individuals who wanted to bring deaf and hard of hearing youth to the outdoors through conservation corps. The group raised over $3,500, which went to CorpsTHAT programs: a one-week backpacking trip and a camping gear and equipment locker that deaf and hard of hearing youth could rent.

The High One x CorpsTHAT


Leading up to the Denali expedition, Shayna and Scott harnessed the power of social media by giving deaf and hard of hearing kids everywhere the opportunity to submit videos in ASL to ask about mountain climbing. It was thrilling to see deaf and hard of hearing kids’ eyes light up with understanding as the duo responded to the kids’ questions in ASL. 

Recounting the story of climbing Denali
Summit of Denali
Denali 17k Camp
The Climb to Denali's 14k Camp
Flying to Denali Base Camp
Denali Q&A | How do we go to bathroom on the mountain?
Denali Q&A | Are there many wild animals on the mountain?
Denali Q&A | How do you go to the bathroom on Denali without any trees?


Scott and Shayna did a #TimetoConnectWithNature giveaway via social media to encourage deaf, hard of hearing and child of deaf adults (CODA) youth to connect with nature during summer. To win a $50 REI gift card, young people took selfies of themselves in nature and shared the selfies with Scott and Shayna. Six gift cards were given to children across the nation.

Giving Back to the Community

In the months after the successful summit of Denali, Scott and Shayna continued to give back to the community by hosting interactive talks with students at deaf schools in different states, both in person and virtually. At each presentation, students had the opportunity to try out mountaineering gear and equipment, even pulling a 50-pound sled as if climbing Denali. 

Scott Lehmann and Shayna Unger