We would like to welcome the May 27 West Buttress team to Alaska! We’re so excited to be along for the ride and don’t take lightly 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.
Lucy Rise and Corell Moore will be lead by a team lead and Mountain Trip part owner Bill Allen assisted by Steven Vansickle and David Lapidus.
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 Denali Fact: Throughout the season, the National Park Service staffs Ranger teams throughout the camps on Denali. As one team flies to base camp and moves up the mountain, each team moves up as well, and eventually whichever team was at Camp 3 (14,200′) or higher (High Camp is at 17,200′) will make their way off the mountain. Each team spends about 30 days on the mountain. Many Rangers will spend a total of 80 days on patrol in the Alaska Range. They are responsible for what most park rangers are responsible for; emergency services, resource protection, law enforcement, search and rescue, but in a much more extreme environment. Check out this NPS blog post about a retiring ranger here. This website also offers a great description of what it takes to be a ranger and what they do.
Have a good time out there team!
-The Mountain Trip Team