We’d like to welcome Hernan Leal to Alaska! Hernan is attempting the West Buttress of Denali, North America’s highest peak, and they will be led by Mountain Trip guide team Bill Allen, Ernesto Olivares, and Rene Welty. The West Buttress is a classic mountaineering challenge that climbs 13,000′ from the Southeast Fork of the Kahiltna Glacier to the summit of Denali. The team will climb the West Buttress route over the course of the next 2-3 weeks, pitting themselves against what can often be some of the most inhospitable weather and terrain on the planet. Fingers crossed, they’ll encounter windows of nice weather and will be able to make their way up to the summit of North America.
The expedition kicked off today at the Alaska Millennium Hotel, where the team conducted a team meeting/equipment check. This consisted of the guides double checking that Hernan brought all the necessary gear for the climb, and discussing some of the details of the trip. The rest of the day will be spent resting and relaxing. Tomorrow the team will leave Anchorage bright and early and headed north 2.5 hours, to Talkeetna, where they will check in with the National Park Service and participate in the NPS’s mandatory climber orientation. Next the team will weigh-in their equipment and supplies with our air services provider, and if the weather is favorable, the team will fly to the Southeast Fork of the Kahiltna Glacier.
We invite you to follow the team through posts and audio dispatches that the team will call in from the mountain. We try to post dispatches on a daily basis, but many factors can prevent that from occurring, so please be patient and remember the old adage, “No News is Good News!” Also, we encourage you to post comments, but please realize that we have no good way to pass each comment along to the team. Climbers do enjoy reading through your comments and good wishes, so please let them know you are thinking of them!