One of the great pleasures of guiding Denali is having the opportunity to work with some amazing guides. Jim Williams is one such guide, a long time high altitude guide who has mentored many of the younger guides working on big, cold mountains today.
Mountain Trip is thrilled to have Jim working as part of our staff this season, bringing his tremendous knowledge of the profession to Denali and sharing it with two climbers and one of our returning guides. On the 10th of June, Roger Gregory and Steve Slaughter joined Jim and IFMGA Certified Guide Gary Falk in Anchorage to finalize the preparations for an attempt of the West Buttress route on Denali.
The team drove two hours north to the end of the road village of Talkeetna, Alaska today, where they were treated to an orientation provided by the climbing rangers of our National Park Service. Following the briefing, they sorted and weighed the small mountain of duffel bags and backpacks they will take with them, in preparation for a 40 minute flight into Denali’s Base Camp.
The weather is pretty rough at the moment, and the team is on a weather hold for flying. We need to have good weather to even attempt to fly into the tall, rugged peaks of the Alaska Range, and in recent days, it has been snowing a lot in the mountains, and raining at the lower elevations.
As soon as possible, they will load up on a ski-equipped Islander or DeHavilland Beaver and fly into the Range, landing at 7,200′ on the Southeast Fork of the Kahiltna Glacier. They will them proceed up the main body of the Kahiltna and on to the West Buttress route of North America’s tallest mountain. The expedition will take between two and three weeks in total, and we wish them the best for every step of their collective journey.