May 26 West Buttress Denali Expedition – Meet the Team!

A big warm welcome to our May 26 West Buttress Denali team! We are so excited to bring this team to the arctic reaches of North America’s tallest summit, the furthest north of the seven highest summits in the world. Climbing Denali, for many, is often the culmination of several months of training and years of experience in the mountains. These efforts and dreams are not lost on us as we join folks on their Denali journey. The team will be attempting the classic West Buttress route, the more common route attempted on Denali (first pioneered in 1951 by Bradford Washburn), which ascends over 13,000 feet from Base Camp 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.

Here’s our super rad crew!

  • Rajendra Sura hailing from Australia
  • Morten Nielson of Norway
  • Cecilie Nesheim also joining from Norway
  • Rune Hana hailing from Norway!
  • Nathan Frederick Colorado, USA
  • Rhett Evans comes to us from Kansas, USA

These lovely folks will be led by one of our many stellar guide crews; lead guide Josh Jesperson, assisted by Robert Caldwell and Will McKay.

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.

Denali Factoid: Ever wonder what happens to all the trash and… other stuff? Well it all has to come out with you, I mean ALL of it. Since 2001 the Park Service has been using Clean Mountain Cans to assist climbers in bringing their excrements off the mountain. An essential action to preserve these frozen slopes which tend to preserve things in their place for decades. Read about it on the NPS blog here.

Have a good time out there, team!

-The Mountain Trip Team

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