Project Jukebox

Digital Branch of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Oral History Program

Diane Okonek

Diane Okonek

Originally from California, Diane is an avid outdoorswoman who hitchhiked to Alaska, following her adventurous heart and moving far from the crowds of the Lower 48. Diane settled in Talkeenta, Alaska and has climbed Denali many times, both as a climber and more recently as a guide. In 1983, Diane and her husband, Brian, co-founded Alaska-Denali Guiding, a mountaineering guide business in Talkeetna. Because of the Okonek's leadership, climbing expertise, and values they became one of the most respected guiding companies in Alaska. As a guide, Diane also was involved in rescue operations on Denali, as well as assisting with high altitude medical research projects. In 2000, the Okoneks sold their business to their employees, Caitlin Palmer and Colby Coombs, who incorporated it into their existing business, Alaska Mountaineering School. After retiring from guiding, Diane continued to pursue a variety of outdoor adventures around Alaska, including dog mushing and skijoring.

Diane Okonek appears in the following new Jukebox projects: