It’s time to say “Hello!!” to Mountain Trip’s 8th West Buttress team of the season! We’re so excited to be along for the ride and understand that touching the pearly white slopes of Denali is a life goal for many after several months of training and years spent on mountains locally and around the world. The team will be attempting the classic West Buttress route, the more common route attempted on Denali, which ascends over 13,000 feet from Basecamp on the South East Fork of the Kahiltna Glacier to the astounding 20,310 foot (6,190 meter) summit!
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 the team 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.
Our May 28 team is Grant Wentworth of New Jersey joined by our fearless Mountain Trip guides; lead guide Kurt Wedberg assisted by Harrison Lewis.
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! “On June 7, 1913, four men stood on the top of Denali for the first time. By achieving the summit of the highest peak in North America, Walter Harper, Harry Karstens, Hudson Stuck and Robert Tatum made history. One of the party, Harry Karstens, would continue to have an association with the mountain and the land around it by becoming the first superintendent of the fledgling Mount McKinley National Park, which would be renamed Denali National Park and Preserve in 1980.” Check out this log of oral histories of the first summit of Denali on the NPS blog here!
Have fun out there!
-The Mountain Trip Team