Meet the May 18 Denali West Buttress Team!

This will be our 47th season guiding on Denali, and we’re excited to welcome our May 18th to help them test their fortitude on the highest mountain in North America. Four climbers are joining three Mountain Trip guides to climb the classic West Buttress route to the top of North America.

At 20,310 feet (6190 m), Denali rises a full 18,000 feet 5486 m) above its surrounding landscape.  This give it the highest vertical rise of any mountain on earth, and due to its location so close to the Arctic Circle, conditions can often be extreme at any time of year.  The combination of high altitude, challenging weather, and the fact that unlike all of the other Seven Summits, Denali requires every climber to carry all of his or her loads, makes an ascent of North America’s tallest mountain a serious undertaking. The West Buttress, the route the team will be taking, will lead them through heavily glaciated terrain from the time they depart Base Camp on the Southeast Fork of the Kahiltna Glacier at 7,200′, to Camp One at 7,800′, Camp Two at 11,000′, Camp Three at 14,200′, High Camp at 17,200′, to–conditions permitting–the 20,310′ summit.

Let’s meet the climbers!

Cameron Kenny

Colin Fairbank

Matt Zelasko

Don Lashley

The team will be led by Mountain Trip guide Karl Welter who will be assisted by Josh Jespersen and Brian Burger.

Throughout the team’s expedition, please keep in mind the adage of “no news is good news” in terms of the 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′, 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.

We wish the best of luck to the team!

** Apologies for the delay in posting this initial dispatch. We had some technical issues with our dispatch system over the course of the past few days, but have just resolved them. Fingers crossed!!

-Todd Rutledge, Guide and Director, Mountain Trip

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  1. Love getting the updates…Camo thinking of you every minute of every day…you are all awesome…Cam’s momma

  2. Go team May 18th!! Wishing all of you a successful trip and fingers crossed that the conditions on Denali are good for you during these few weeks 😀
    Take care!
    Greetings from Switzerland,

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