May 17 West Buttress Team – Lightning/snow forced turn-around from summit attempt

Mountain Trip guide Aaron Diamond called in an update for the May 17 team, who made an attempt on the summit yesterday but were unfortunately turned around due to severe weather moving in on the upper mountain. The team set out for the summit from High Camp at around 9 am, after the sun warmed up the sub-zero temperatures. They made it about 1,000′ above camp before an intense snow-thunderstorm moved in, with quickly building clouds and intensifying snow, forcing the team to turn around for fear of lightning. They team has a couple of days left on their itinerary, and some climbers plan to wait it out at 17k in hopes of a better summit window materializing for them within the next few days. It’s always a tough call to turn around, especially when headed for the summit, but in this case it sounds like the right one. All is well with the team and they are still optimistic with their chances of making the summit in the coming days.

Some of the team may stay in High Camp, while others are leaning towards descending to Denali Base Camp to fly out to Talkeetna. We will update you on who decides to stay and make another attempt once we have more information, but all climbers are healthy and still in good spirits.

Here’s Aaron!

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  1. Fingers crossed for a window for those remaining. Epic adventure and super inspiring reading the exploits.

  2. Fantastic physical and mental feat that you all endured waiting at High Camp with such good spirits. That’s an amazing thing to be proud of too. The weather is the uncontrollable factor in the mix and you were all fit and ready to go up. WELL DONE.

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