This will be our 47th season guiding on Denali, and we’re honored to welcome the May 7 team and all of the other climbers that have trusted us to help them test their fortitude on the highest mountain in North America. The May 7 Denali West Buttress expedition will kick off the Denali season for us this year, and we couldn’t be more excited to get back to the Alaska Range after a year hiatus. Last year was the first season in 46 years that we have not led a team to the summit of Denali, and we spent the year feeling like something was missing. We’re glad to be back to say the least.
At 20,310 feet (6190 m), majestic Denali rises a full 18,000 feet 5486 m) above its surrounding landscape. It has the highest vertical rise of any mountain on earth, and due to its location so close to the Arctic Circle, conditions can often be very winter-like well into the summer months. The team will undoubtedly experience some cold temperatures with their early May departure, but have the benefit of (generally) less snowfall and fewer teams on the mountain. Around the solstice, the Alaska Range experiences over 20 hours of daylight, and even in the depths of night the sun never truly sets. The West Buttress, the route the team will be taking, will lead them through heavily glaciated terrain from their current location at base camp on the Kahiltna Glacier at 7,200′, to Camp One at 7,800′, Camp Two at 11,200′, Camp Three at 14,200′, High Camp at 17,200′, to–conditions permitting–the 20,310′ summit.
Let’s meet the climbers!
Throughout the team’s expedition, please keep in mind the adage of “no news is good news” in terms of the updates from the field. There are some days when certain circumstances, like poor satellite phone reception (this happens frequently at Camp 2 at 11,200′, as it is situated in a high-alpine basin with massive peaks on all sides), fatigue from a particularly long day, no change in their situation due to weather, etc., will prevent teams from calling in an update. Friends and family are encouraged to leave comments for their loved ones on this expedition, but keep in mind that they will not be able to see posts or comments until they return to Talkeetna after the end of their expedition, once they leave the glacier.
We wish the best of luck to the team!