Meet the May 11 Denali West Buttress Team!

Mountain Trip is thrilled to welcome our second Denali team of the 2022 season, the May 11 team, to Alaska! The team will be meeting today for a final gear check and to discuss logistics before driving to Talkeetna where they will catch their flight (weather permitting) tomorrow to Base Camp on the Kahiltna Glacier and begin their journey on North America’s highest peak. We are honored to have been chosen to facilitate this experience, and acknowledge that for many, reaching the summit of Denali is a lifelong goal, and the culmination of many months of training, and years spent in the mountains. The team will be making an attempt at the classic West Buttress route, which ascends over 13,000 feet from Base Camp on the Kahiltna to the 20,310-foot (6,190-meter) summit.

Majestic Denali rises a full 18,000 feet (5,486 meters) above its surrounding landscape. It has the highest vertical rise of any mountain on Earth! Also, due to its location so close to the Arctic Circle, conditions can often be very winter-like well into the summer months. The team will undoubtedly experience some cold temperatures with their early May departure, but have the benefit of (generally) less snowfall and fewer teams on the mountain. The West Buttress route (first pioneered by Bradford Washburn and seven teammates in 1951) will lead them through heavily glaciated terrain from Base Camp at 7,200 feet, to Camp 1 at 7,800 feet, Camp 2 at 11,200 feet, Camp 3 at 14,200 feet, High Camp at 17,200 feet, to–conditions permitting–the 20,310-foot summit.

Let’s meet the team!

  • Craig Lenning
  • Jerry Walker
  • Nadia Khoso
  • James Well
  • Juan Pablo Alcalde
  • Flemming Oleson

Led by Denali lead guide Matt Park, who will be assisted by Jesse Yon, Jordan Cargill and Chloé Stack.

Throughout the team’s expedition, please keep in mind the adage of “no news is good news” when it comes to 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 feet, 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.

Fun Denali Fact: In 2015, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewel, endorsed by President Obama, issued a secretarial order that officially changed the mountain’s name from Mount McKinley to Denali. Jewell was granted the authority to make such changes in certain cases per the 1947 federal law that provides for the standardization of geographic names through the U.S. Board on Geographic Names. The name change will be reflected in all federal usage. Read more about the origin of the name on the NPS blog here.

We’re wishing the team an exciting journey on “The Great One”!
– The Mountain Trip Team


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