Final Dispatch: June 1 Denali team

Hi guys! Assistant guide Aaron Diamond checking in with the final trip dispatch and a quick recap from the June 1 West Buttress trip.

After meeting in Anchorage the team of Nick, Tony, Allen, Kate, Honglin, and Neil made our way to Talkeetna on the 2nd for our flight to basecamp. After a day of waiting for the weather at basecamp to clear and practicing skills for the glacier we flew out of Talkeetna amist a rain and hail storm arriving at basecamp around 9:30 pm.

Early the next morning (or late that night, you’re never really sure) we left basecamp and began our climb. Things went smoothly as we traveled up the Kahiltna to 11. At 11 the team was faced with less than ideal weather with limited visibility and occasional snow and wind. Dispite the weather our team was able to travel upwards first putting a cache in above Windy corner and then moving to our camp at 14000ft the next day.

At 14 Jacob and Jason prepped the team for the upper mountain by reviewing ascending and descent in fixed lines as well as traveling with running protection. A high wind forecast kept us away from high camp for a day but when we awoke to clear skies and light winds on the day that was forecasted to be poor we decided to move up the same afternoon.

The climbing on the ridge was spectacular and the weather perfect as we moved to high camp in anticipation of our summit bid. The team moved well on the fixed lines before clipping gear on the scenic and technical terrain until arriving at high camp around 6pm.

The forecasted wind moved in that night and shook us all night long. The gusts blew snow walls over and kept us on our toes and in and out of the tents until the late morning. A rest day followed and the winds died raising our hopes for a summit bid the following day.

The next day broke with perfect weather; warm, windless, and clear. We left for the summit around 8:30 am and the team summited in just over 8 hours. With excellent views in all directions it’s a moment I’m sure none of us will forget anytime soon. We descended to high camp and the next morning began the long walk back to the airstrip at basecamp.

After long breaks and food at 14 and 11 the team walked through the night arriving at the runway at 7:45 am the next day under cloudy skies. Luckily a short break in the weather allowed us and our fellow mountain trippers to sneak out on a handful of TAT flights back to family, and friends and civilization.

I’d like to take a moment to say thank you to the team for making the trip the great experience it was and for choosing Mountain Trip. Jacob, Jason and I are all looking forward to climbing with you all again either here in Alaska or in other corners of the world. Until then, safe travels and climb on!

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