Mountain Trip welcomes our May 27 West Buttress Expedition, to the West Buttress Route. Over the next 21 days, they will endeavor to reach the summit of the highest mountain in North America.
Joining us will be:
Jeff Williams, from Utah, USA.
Verena Linhart, who has traveled from Germany.
Jay Beaudoin, of Colorado, USA.
Klauspeter Behrendt, also from Germany.
Harris Wu, from Virginia, USA.
The trip will be guided by Brian Muller (lead), who will be assisted by Jesse Wright, and Nick Nason.
Denali, at 20,310 feet (6190 m), is often touted as the most difficult of the “Seven Summits,” with icy winds, persistent storms, sub-zero temperatures and finicky weather. It boasts more vertical relief from the arctic lowlands surrounding it than any mountain on earth. The West Buttress Route, the classic climb to reach the south summit, climbs a full 13,000 feet (3962 m) from Base Camp in the remote Southeast Fork of the Kahiltna Glacier.
Guide Brian Muller called in an audio update on Sunday, May 28, after the team made the strenuous trek from Base Camp on the Kahiltna Glacier, up to Camp 1 at 7,800′. After a scenic flight into the Alaska Range, flown by Talkeetna Air Taxi, the team unloaded all of their gear and supplies for the coming 21 days. Once at Base Camp, they spent some time reviewing some essential skills, including crevasse rescue, glacier travel, rope skills and rigging sleds.
The trek from Base Camp to Camp 1 is not particularly steep, but traverses a long section of the Kahiltna glacier, moving closer to the icy flanks of Denali itself. Brian noted that they enjoyed particularly good weather, but still had to break trail and do a bit of route finding with the new snow. They then set up camp and enjoyed dinner together at Camp 1 at 7,800′, below Ski Hill. They hope to cache above Ski Hill tomorrow, and within the coming days, weather permitting, to make their journey up to their next camp at 11,200′.
We will post updates as the team calls in from the field. Please understand that making a satellite phone call from deep in the rugged Alaska Range is not always easy or even possible, so there could well be gaps between updates. We encourage everyone to hold firmly to the age old, “No News Is Good News!” Lastly, we encourage you to append your comments to the team’s updates. While the climbers won’t see your comments until they are off the mountain, we have heard over and over again how much it means to them to read of your thoughts and good wishes.
Best of luck to the team as they make their journey towards the highest point in North America!
Here’s Brian with the update: