The May 13 Team waited out cold and windy conditions above 17,000 ft (m) today on what we hear was a very relaxing rest day! Our bodies have to work much harder to function at higher altitudes with less oxygen in our blood. Considering the team climbed 3,000 ft (m) yesterday with full packs this downtime is a welcome chance to recover before summit day!
When the weather is favorable, the team will get the opportunity to do what they came here to do all along, push for the summit! It is important to be patient on a big peak like Denali and guides will only try for the summit when the weather is good; meaning mostly clear and calm. The weather needs to be good and everyone attempting the summit must have demonstrated that they can reasonably give it a shot. This is often the most grueling day of the expedition (some climbers say of their lives!).
The round-trip climb will take eight to twelve hours or more. Usually, crews will depart camp early (7-10 a.m.), climb up to Denali Pass 18,000 ft (5486 m), and follow the route past Arch Deacon’s Tower and the Football Field to the slopes leading to the Summit Ridge. On this spectacular ridge, you can often see down into the Ruth Glacier with views of beautiful peaks such as the Moose’s Tooth, Mount Huntington and Mount Hunter.