June 5 Denali West Buttress Expedition in Anchorage — Let’s meet the climbers!

Mountain Trip appreciates the trust and support of our climbers and another team of adventurers have chosen to join us in Anchorage today, to finalize their preparations to attempt the West Buttress route on North America’s highest peak – Denali, which soars to an elevation of 20,310 feet, a full 18,000′ above the surrounding landscape.

The climbers will attempt the summit via the classic West Buttress Route, which gains 13,000′ of elevation from Base Camp at 7,200′ to the summit. The route was first climbed over a century ago, and Mountain Trip has guided it countless times over the past 44 years with a high rate of success.

Currently, the team is meeting in Anchorage for the first time and guides helping each of the climbers review their personal equipment and finalize their packing for their expedition. Each climber will pack upwards of 20 pounds of their favorite snacks in addition to the rest of their gear.

From Anchorage, the team will load all of their group gear, food and supplies into a Mountain Trip van and head up to the small, end of the road climbing village of Talkeetna, where most expeditions in the Alaska Range begin, at the gateway to Denali National Park and Preserve. The team will receive an orientation from the National Park Service climbing rangers before they head to the glacier for the 22-day expedition. Then, they will load all their food and gear onto Talkeetna Air Taxi planes for the flight to the Southeast Fork of the Kahiltna Glacier, when the weather permits.

Let’s meet the climbers!
Ted Labedz, who lives in Anchorage and won’t have to travel far from home.
Tony Hogan, of Iowa, USA.
Robert Leskun, also from Iowa, USA.
Arturo Badia, who has joined us from the Southern Hemisphere– Santiago, Chile.
Jorge Decurgez, who also has traveled from Santiago, Chile.

They will be assisted by Mountain Trip lead guide Joe Butler, who calls Anchorage home, guide Fischer Hazen, a Telluride, Colorado native, and Dave Nesis, also of Telluride.

We would like to remind those at home that while we will do the best we can to post updates on the team every day, there might be a few lapses in communication. Although satellite phones are often great forms of communication, they sometimes experience difficulties above 14,000′ deep in the rugged Alaska Range. Please keep in mind the old adage “no news is good news,” and don’t be too alarmed if one, two or even three days pass without an audio update from the team.

For family members and friends at home who are following along at home, you are welcome and encouraged to post comments to your loved ones on the team, just know that they have no way of reading them until after they return to the non-glaciated world and relative civilization of Talkeetna.

Best of luck to the June 5 Team! The next update we post for them will come in audio form, likely from Denali Base Camp at 7,200′ on the Kahiltna Glacier.

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  1. Best wishes to all of you. Have a wonderful climb and tell Rob Leskun all of us at Pella Corp. are thinking of him and can’t wait to see that Summit picture!

  2. Arturo Badia y Jorge Decurgez mucho exito en la expedicion. Y mucho amor. Arturo y Cecilia

  3. Dad/Grandpa – Thinking of you and can’t wait to hear all about it. Much love and see you soon!

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