June 18 West Buttress Denali Expedition – Meet the Team!

Hello and a big welcome to Mountain Trip’s June 18 West Buttress Denali Team! We are so excited to bring this incredible group to North America’s highest peak to test their fortitude on its arctic slopes. We are honored to be chosen to join these folks on what may be a lifelong dream to touch the frozen reaches of Denali’s glaciated terrain, preceded by many months of training and years of time spent in the mountains. The team will be attempting the classic West Buttress route, the more common route attempted on Denali, which ascends over 13,000 feet from Base Camp on the South East Fork of the Kahiltna Glacier to the astounding 20,310-foot (6,190 meter) summit!

At 20,310 feet, majestic Denali rises a full 18,000 feet (5,486 meters) above its surrounding landscape. Thats 5,000 feet MORE than the elevation relief of Mt Everest! Due to its location so close to the Arctic Circle, conditions can often be very winter like well into the summer months. Around the Summer Solstice, the Alaska Range experiences over 20 hours of daylight, and even in the depths of night the sun never truly sets, making headlamps unnecessary and eye masks essential. The West Buttress will lead them through heavily glaciated terrain from Basecamp 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.

Here’s the crew!

  • Tatsuya Sato
  • Beck Gilliand
  • Casey Hubbard
  • Simon Wong
  • Constance Sophie Schaerer
  • Hugo Jean-Michael Lorentz

This awesome team will be lead by our our amazing guide team including lead guide Jesse Wright, assisted by Grant Perdue and Michael Mija Bustamente.

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.

Fun fact! Barbera Washburn (wife of Bradford Washburn who pioneered the West Buttress route in 1951) was the first woman to stand on top of Denali in 1947! Go Barbera! Check out this awesome blog by the NPS including quotes and photos of this inspiring woman here.

Have a great time out there squad!

-The Mountain Trip Team

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