Max Djenohan, 32, climbed Alaska’s Denali in early June to snowboard off the summit. (Submitted photo)

Max Djenohan, 32, climbed Alaska’s Denali in early June to snowboard off the summit. (Submitted photo)

From steamy ‘Naked and Afraid’ to snowboarding down Denali

Max Djenohan spent the pandemic pursuing outdoor adventures, clothed and in the buff.

SEATTLE — After surviving 60 days naked in a buggy Louisiana swamp, he climbed 20,310-foot Denali in Alaska to snowboard from the summit.

What’s up with that?

Max Djenohan is one of those guys who makes you want to stay on the couch.

And watch.

You can stream him in pixelated splendor on Discovery Channel’s “Naked and Afraid XL.”

Djenohan, 32, is back in the buff for the fifth time on the survival reality TV show that puts participants in extreme settings with no food, water or clothes. The semi-pro Seattle snowboarder was raised in Shoreline and used to live in Edmonds.

He was profiled in The Herald in 2019 after his second nude stint in a Panama jungle. Two more stints followed, including 40 days in the Philippines. His latest and longest is the two-month “Naked and Afraid XL” filmed in the Louisiana bayou in late 2020. That series is airing now, with the finale on Sunday.

“The theme of the season is ‘legends,’” a Discovery spokeswoman said. “It’s basically the best of the best coming together, and Max is included in that group.”

Djenohan called it “the hardest one so far.”

He thrives on thrills.

“I went from one of the lowest places in the United States to the highest in the United States,” he said.

He spent the first half of 2021 training for his early June ascent of the most prominent peak in North America.

“I’ve been snowboarding for 20 years now. So it’s safer for me to snowboard down than it is for me to walk down,” Djenohan said of Denali.

Instead of film crews, he was joined by five adventurous friends on the 10-day trek on the Alaska mountain. This wasn’t for a TV show but rather a personal challenge and a statement to encourage other people of color.

As far as he knows, “I was the first Black man to snowboard off the summit,” he said. “It’s more of a testament to the inaccessibility and lack of equity when it comes to action sports in the outdoors. Any sort of alpine sports are very expensive. Snowboarding off the summit is not anything new. There has been such a disproportionate amount of white people who have been to the summit.”

Djenohan is a Crystal Mountain ambassador and assists with service programs to expand board sports for children of color.

“I have been able to have my sponsors give them resources and bindings and gear for the kids in the programs,” he said. “I have been trying to use my platform to shed light on equity and to create a more equitable space in the outdoors.”

He started snowboarding in middle school.

“My mom and I and siblings would go cross-country skiing up near Snoqualmie,” he said. “I’d see people going down the downhill and I was just intrigued. I was like, ‘This looks so much cooler than cross-country skiing.’”

He uses the money he earns from “Naked and Afraid” to fund his mountain ventures.

“I’ve snowboarded off a lot of summits,” he said.

So far, Denali is his only of the Seven Summits, the highest peaks of each continent.

“On the summit of Denali without windchill it was negative-20,” he said. “Two of my partners on the climb got frostbite on their toes.”

Max Djenohan climbed Alaska’s Denali in early June to snowboard off the summit. (Submitted photo)

Max Djenohan climbed Alaska’s Denali in early June to snowboard off the summit. (Submitted photo)

He returned to Seattle on June 6 from Alaska. Two days later, he climbed Mount Rainier.

“It was nothing for me to walk up there,” he said. “I felt really, really good. We got to ski from 13,000 feet all the way down to 4,000, so we got a 9,000-foot run. It’s pretty awesome.”

The latest “Naked and Afraid” series was during the pandemic. It took place in the U.S. due to COVID-19 travel restrictions.

“I was essentially quarantined to the swamp for two months,” Djenohan said. “It could have been worse. And I was getting paid for it, too.”

The pay was a “decent amount,” he said. “It allowed me to buy a new car and go climb Denali.”

The TV show also fits with his equity platform.

“You can legit count on one hand how many African-American contestants there have been,” he said. “To be in a position to show people like me that there are people like me in this space and that we belong in this space.”

Max Djenohan is on this season’s “Naked and Afraid XL.” (Discovery)

Max Djenohan is on this season’s “Naked and Afraid XL.” (Discovery)

Like most of us, he watches “Naked and Afraid” with awe.

“When I re-watch these episodes it seems like that’s a completely different Max out there,” he said. “That’s not the Max I know right now, a city slicker wearing all my clothing, and not having to starve for food or hunt or trap. It’s a different me out there.”

He said the 60-day stint in the mosquito-infested swamp was his last “Naked and Afraid.” He already has plans to be on a different survival show next year, but not in the buff.

“I want to be fully clothed from now on,” he said.

Andrea Brown:; 425-339-3443. Twitter @reporterbrown.

Talk to us

More in Local News

A SWAT team responds during an 8-hour standoff between police and a man brandishing a knife at a home in south Edmonds on Sunday night. (Edmonds Police Department)
9-hour Edmonds standoff with knife-wielding man ends in arrest

The man reportedly threatened to kill his family. Police spent hours trying to get him to come outside.

Security footage depicting an armed robbery at Buds Garage in Everett on Tuesday, Jan.18, 2022. (Contributed photo)
Everett pot shop robbed twice; others targeted in recent months

Armed robbers have hit Buds Garage off Everett Avenue twice since December.

Police: Everett man left family member with life-threatening injuries

An Everett man, 23, was in jail on $100,000 bail after being accused of confronting women and attacking a relative.

The Snow Goose Transit bus at one of it's stops outside of the Lincoln Hill Retirement Community on Thursday, Jan. 20, 2022 in Stanwood, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Catch a free bus between Camano, Stanwood, Smokey Point

Snow Goose Transit runs on weekdays, offering 15 stops and — for those with mobility issues — door-to-door service.

Cassandra Lopez-Shaw
Snohomish County judge accused of ‘needlessly’ exposing staff to COVID

Adam Cornell argues the incident reinforces a need to suspend jury trials, as omicron wreaks havoc.

Connie L. Bigelow at her store Miniatures & More in Edmonds on Tuesday. (Janice Podsada / The Herald)
Woman who lit her own Edmonds doll store on fire gets house arrest

Connie Bigelow, 54, was sentenced Friday in federal court for lighting her business on fire to collect insurance money.

The Washington National Guard arrived Friday at Providence Regional Medical Center Everett to help with a surge of COVID-19 cases at the hospital. (Providence) 20220121
State offers free home tests; National Guard arrives in Everett

Supply is limited at a new online portal, but Washingtonians can now order five free rapid COVID tests.

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.
‘To Kill A Mockingbird’ is no longer required reading in Mukilteo

The school board on Monday voted to remove it from the list for ninth-graders, at the urging of teachers and students.

A rendering of the Compass Health Broadway Campus Redevelopment looks southwest at the building. The facility is planned for 82,000 square feet with a behavioral health clinic with a 16-bed inpatient center and a 16-bed crisis triage center. (Ankrom Moisan Architects)
Demolition eyed in spring for Compass Health Broadway campus

The Everett-based behavioral health care provider wants to replace the 1920-built Bailey Center with a modern facility.

Most Read