This will be our 46th consecutive season guiding on Denali, and we are honored to welcome the June 17th team and all of the other climbers that have trusted us to help them test their fortitude on the highest mountain in North America.
At 20,310 feet (6190 m), Denali rises a full 18,000 feet 5486 m) above its surrounding landscape. It has the highest vertical rise of any mountain on earth, and due to its location so close to the Arctic Circle, conditions can often be very winter-like well into the summer months. Around the solstice, the Alaska Range experiences over 20 hours of daylight, and even in the depths of night the sun never truly sets. The West Buttress, the route the team will be taking, will lead them through heavily glaciated terrain from their current location at base camp on the Kahiltna Glacier at 7,200′, to Camp One at 7,800′, Camp Three at 11,200′, Camp Four at 14,200′, High Camp at 17,200′, to–conditions permitting–the 20,310′ summit.
Let’s meet the climbers!
David Wilde from the UK
Rawan Dakik from Tanzania
Brigitte Frost from Denmark
Lasse Gregersen from Denmark
Florian Ostra from Germany
The Mountain Trip guide team will be led by Kristin Arnold, who will be assisted by Chris Cullaz and Maddie Crowell.
It’s been a busy couple of days for the team, beginning with a team meeting the morning of June 17th followed by an equipment check and a last minute stop at the equipment store. The next morning, June 18th, the team headed up to Talkeetna where they checked in with the National Park Service and with Talkeetna Air Taxi, our air services provider. The weather was clear and the winds calm, and the team flew in to the Alaska Range, onto the Kahiltna glacier. The team set up at Base Camp and reviewed glacier travel skills. The plan for today, June 19th, is to move to Camp 1.
Please keep in mind the adage of “no news is good news” in terms of the updates from the team in the field. There are some days when 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.
Good luck to the climbers and guides!