For everyone, it’s been an unprecedented year, and we’re happy to be back in the Alaska Range after a year hiatus. We’d like to extend a warm welcome to the June 13 Denali West Buttress Team, currently making their way to Alaska! The team will meet in Anchorage today after a couple of days of travel. Today, the team will meet to go over logistics, check through everyone’s kits and pick up any last minute gear before heading north. They will pack snack lunches that will fuel them up the mountain for up to 22-days, and meet their guide team. Tomorrow, the team will drive several hours north to the small outpost hamlet of Talkeetna, the gateway to Denali National Park and the Alaska Range. There, they will have a briefing with the National Park Service climbing rangers, and load up all of their gear for a flight into the Alaska Range with our friends at Talkeetna Air Taxi.
The team will be taking on the West Buttress Route on Denali, perhaps the most classic mountaineering objective in North America, first pioneered by legendary climber Bradford Washburn. Denali is often the culmination of many years (or decades) spent climbing big mountains. Reaching the 20,310′ summit is certainly no easy undertaking: with intense storms coming in from the Arctic Circle, it’s northern latitude making the altitude more challenging, nearly 13,000′ of elevation gain from base camp to summit, not to mention likely the heaviest backpack of the climbers’ lives. But the team will be rewarded along the way with some of the most spectacular views on the planet, engaging climbing, great tent meals, supremely memorable experience, and if they’re lucky–the chance to stand at the highest point in North America.
Let’s meet the climbers!
The Mountain Trip guide team will be led by Logan DeMarcus, an Alaska native, for his second trip on the mountain this year, assisted by Gavin Hess, hailing from Jackson, WY and also on his second trip into the range for the season.
The team will have a satellite phone on hand and will do their best to call in a daily update as they make progress up the route. However, keep in mind that “no news is good news,” and that occasionally the team may be prevented from calling in an update due to storms or topography interfering with their reception, having nothing new to report (such as teams stuck in a storm for a period of time) or simply being too tired from a hard days’ work. Friends and family at home are encouraged to leave comments for the team, but keep in mind the climbers and guides won’t be able to see them until they return to dry land after the end of their expedition.
Best of luck to the team!