May 22nd West Buttress Denali Expedition – Calling in from Camp 1!

After trekking 5 miles across the lower Kahiltna Glacier, the May 22nd West Buttress Denali Expedition has made it to Camp 1!

This team is one of our many “international expeditions” with team members hailing from all over the globe. Listen to the audio dispatch below to find out where everyone is from!

Audio Recording

denali kahiltna glacier

A Denali team trekking across the lower Kahiltna Glacier.

The challenge comes quickly on Denali as the first thing the climbers encounter along their route to Camp 1 is the long sloping downhill of Heartbreak Hill, which takes you down the Southeast Fork of the Kahiltna Glacier, where Basecamp is located, to the main arm of the Kahiltna Glacier.

Why is it called Heartbreak Hill, you ask? Well, since the West Buttress Route is an “out and back” route, everything you go down, you must later go back up. And at the very end of the expedition, after the long descent from the upper mountain, the never-ending gradual uphill climb of Heartbreak Hill is the last obstacle standing between your tired expedition team and the hot showers and cold beer of Talkeetna!

Heartbreak Hill’s gentle downslope can also convince climbers that “Hey, this sled isn’t that heavy!”, which eventually leads to heartbreak when they hit the flat stretches of the main Kahiltna and finally feel the full pull of 100lbs of food and gear on their backpack straps.

Climbers trekking across the Kahiltna Glacier.

Nice work on making your first big move of the trip, May 22nd Team! 

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  1. Hi! Sounds exciting. I hope you are all doing well. Keep going on and enjoying! Eva, thanks for the update, love you sis!

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