Greetings from sunny Anchorage!
It was a great pleasure to share the ropes with our team, who joined us from all over, and we had the relatively rare privilege of having two Anchorage locals along as well (Brent and Mike). We were a fairly large team, but everyone really bonded well and it was not long into our expedition that we truly became “A Team.”
We made good progress up the mountain until we encountered the Denali storm “Claude,” followed by more wind and winter storm condition warnings in rapid succession, which stalled our forward momentum and prevented us from making a reasonable summit attempt.
Despite the rough weather towards the end of our expedition, good views were to be had during our travels, and great stories were shared in our pyramid-like kitchen tent (aka “the mid”), along with a few riddles to exercise our altitude addled brains. I want to thank Mario, as I believe the brilliant “Pull Up Challenge” and his great commentating lifted a lot of climbers’ spirits at 14 Camp, taking their minds off of the poor outlook for the weather.
All of the climbers seemed to gracefully embrace the mountain experience and the nature of climbing a big Alaskan mountain that draws many climbers from around the world. The long journey to reach the summit and make it back safely in good health requires hard work, team work, patience, and a healthy a dose of luck. In return, climbers are rewarded by a sense of achievement, new friendship, knowledge, experience, growth as a person, and appreciation for the small pleasures in life we too often take for granted. This is what makes Denali attractive amongst other reasons that I’m sure also exist.
We concluded our trip with a fantastic BBQ at Brent’s backyard with fresh food, salmon, moose and so on, with our team and friends. A new skill of “How to Make and Eat S’mores” was shared and an education was passed along to our Italian member, Mario. We had expert S’mores makers around the fire that fine evening in Anchorage, surrounded by grass, flowers, great people, and good weather. Some of our team were making plans to get together for other adventures, activity, and fun in other parts of the world.
Again, it was a great way to kick start the season and I want to say, ” Great Job!” to everyone. It was a trip to be proud of. Jeff, Josh and I all look forward to staying in touch and crossing paths in the future.
Best regards on behalf of the Mountain Trip guide team,