In his preface, Dr. Peter Hackett writes of Jonathan Waterman's motivations for writing Surviving Denali. The motivation for writing this book is to dispel the myth of Denali as a cakewalk, and to help climbers prepare adequately for polar, high-altitude survival. By learning from the past, climbers can avoid similar problems; this is the goal of Surviving Denali. Waterman presents an in-depth analysis of altitude medical problems, frostbite, avalanche and fall injuries, and deaths on the mountain in order to point out the mistakes that may have been made and methods that might have been used to prevent them. In further chapters Waterman also covers how to prepare properly for Denali.