May 10 Denali Team Carries Around Windy Corner

Mountain Trip Guide Jesse Yon called in today from the beautiful basin on the southwestern flank of Denali that is the site of our May 10th team’s Camp 2. The crew shouldered their heavy packs this morning and carried loads of food, fuel, and personal kit about 2,500′ higher up the mountain. The route to this point was sort of the approach to the mountain, hiking up the vast Kahiltna Glacier with trekking poles, pulling sleds laden with supplies. But from 11,000′ on, the team will be wearing crampons (spiky metal things affixed to their boots to gain purchase in firm snow or ice) and holding ice axes at the ready to help prevent a slip from turning into a fall on the steeper terrain of the upper mountain.

Departing Camp, they first climbed up a 1000′ hill known as Motorcycle Hill, which rises immediately from the northeast side of the basin. After about an hour of climbing, they took a break at the top of that slope and at the start of a series of often icy slopes known collectively as Squirrel Hill. Care needs to be taken as they climb through this terrain, as anything that is dropped will often race down the ice and fly off an exposed edge to sail down towards the upper Peters Glacier, thousands of feet below and left of the climbers as they ascend.

Topping out Squirrel Hill, they hiked along the immense West Buttress of Denali. Steep granitic rock soar thousands of feet upwards, laced with steep gullies or “couloirs.” The team navigated a path out of the way of sloughing snow or falling rock, but also avoiding the many crevasses that cross the small glacier that led them to a sharp corner of the West Buttress around which the route turns sharply to the left and leads to a broad basin, the site of the bustling 14,200′ camp. This corner is known as Windy Corner and when the wind is howling, it can easily become impassable. The team didn’t encounter those conditions, fortunately, so they passed around the corner and not much farther dug a cache pit to bury their loads.

The climb to the 13,500′ cache site is a tough one, but the team did great! They then dropped back to camp 2,500′ lower for the night. The plan for tomorrow is to pack up camp, retrace their route to the cache site and then climb another 700′ to Genet Basin, where they will camp for 4+ nights.

Here’s Jesse!


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  1. Mac and cheese might be the one thing that would lure me up a mountain. Following your trip and can’t wait to hear all about it. As always, a treat to hear your voice.

  2. The reports/updates are great to hear. Looking forward to the summit report. Keep up the good work. We will feast when you get back. Cerberus’ smoked brisket mack & cheese mmm
    two Felix cats

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