Sandra Samman and her cat Denali climb a multi-pitch route in Eldorado Canyon State Park. (photos courtesy Sandra Samman)

Denali is Sandra Samman’s partner for epic adventures

By Grant Frickey

Sandra Samman of Louisville has traversed mountains and conquered challenging rock climbing courses, and she knew that she needed a partner for these epic adventures. Samman had seen a fellow climber on a trek with an “adventure cat” and the idea of a feline fellow traveler appealed to her.

In June 2016, she met Denali at the Foothills Animal Shelter in Golden. She’d lost her 21-year-old cat two years earlier, the same year she’d adopted and lost another shelter cat. She knew that the two-month-old ball of fluff had adventure potential.

Denali lords over his realm on a downed tree in El Rito, New Mexico. (photo courtesy Sandra Samman)

Denali, named after the tallest mountain in North America, began his training with Samman by taking him everywhere and training him to get used to both a harness and leash. These days, he’s spotted either cozying up in his owner’s pack or checking out climbs. Denali has captured the public’s attention, with nearly 2,000 followers on Instagram. Denali’s exploits also caught the attention of a film crew and he will be featured in the documentary “The Cats That Rule the World.” The crew follows Samman and Denali on one of their adventures—climbing “The Edge of Time” in Rocky Mountain National Park. The documentary will air on Amazon Prime in 2019.

Samman says that Denali is one of the best things to happen to her. “I feel that everyone should adopt a shelter animal. They have just so many that need a good home, ones that don’t get adopted, and many that just need love and affection.” Follow Denali on Instagram: @denaligato.