June 5th Denali Team – Chillin’ at High Camp

Jason Woo gives us an update from High Camp on the West Buttress of Denali. The team spent today resting, eating, and apparently watching Netflix (!?!?!), all the while building some additional acclimatization ahead of an upcoming summit bid.

High Camp is located in and around a shallow depression in the accumulation zone of the very upper part of the Upper Peters Glacier. It’s located next to a stomach-churning drop off, which affords climbers the opportunity to look down a full 3,000 feet at their previous camp. If the term, “dramatic” is over used sometimes, it would be anything but in this case!

When the team makes their summit attempt, they will gear up in all their clothes, clip themselves into their climbing ropes and hike a few hundred yards over the start of a 1000′ rising traverse that climbs up and “climber’s left” from near High Camp to a saddle between Denali’s lower North Summit, and the goal of the expedition, the 20,310 foot South Summit. This traverse leading up to Denali Pass is known as The Autobahn. The name comes from the dark humor of Alaska climbing, reportedly in memory of a party of Germans who slipped many, many years ago (There’s another steep gully dropping down from near Denali’s summit that is called either the Orient Express or British Airways, depending on who you ask…).

Above Denali Pass, they will climb a bit of steep terrain and then follow rolling, gently rising slopes to a broad glacial expanse called the Football Field. Above that point, the climbing steepens and the exposure increases, culminating with a spectacular knife-edged ridge that leads to the top of North America.

Here’s Jason!


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