May 8 Ski Denali West Buttress Expedition – Meet the Team!

We would like to welcome our May 8 Ski West Buttress Team! We are thrilled to join the team on Denali and work alongside them as they toil up the frozen slopes of The Great One. This team will join many others as they climb Denali via the classic West Buttress Route which will climb over 13,000 feet from Basecamp on the South East Fork of the Kahiltna Glacier to the sky scraping 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 they are!

  • Patrick Rueben
  • Philipp Cottier
  • Daniel Schmutz

This lovely crew will be joined by lead guide Aaron Diamond assisted by Chris Dickson.

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. 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.

Good luck team!

-The Mountain Trip Team

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