May 15 Denali West Buttress team returns to Base Camp

Climber Eric Greene called in with an emotional update on the May 15 Denali West Buttress Expedition, who spent 18 days ascending the route (many of those battling cold weather and high winds at 14-Camp).

They had made the physical and technical push from 14,200 up to High Camp at 17,200′, anticipating making a go at the summit. But, another storm system looked to be approaching the Alaska Range, and after being stuck for 8 days at a lower elevation and hearing the winds howling above them at High Camp, the team and guides collectively made the tough decision to head back down to Base Camp and avoid being stuck in a high elevation, advanced camp where the very worst of the weather hits.

While turning back when so close to the summit is undoubtedly a difficult call, sometimes it is the best call for the wellbeing of the team. 18 on a glacier through one of the worst storms the mountain has seen in years can certainly change your perspective.

Although they did not make the summit, we would like to congratulate the team not only on their immense effort and resilience on the mountain, but for their humility in their decision to turn around.

The team will catch a Talkeetna Air Taxi plane back to civilization as soon as the weather on the glacier permits them to safely do so. Many of the team members have flights back home, wherever home may be, in the coming week.

Here’s Eric with the dispatch for the team:

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  1. We’re so proud of you all! Praying the weather cooperates, so everyone can get home soon (especially that stud of a husband of mine, Josh Garner ;)!

  2. Hey Uncle Shaun! Praying for you guys as you descend the mountain. Miss you!
    Love, Jacob and Marykate

  3. Hi Uncle Shaun! We are so proud of you for how far you’ve gone. So thankful you’re safe. We’ll be praying for you as you come back down.
    Love you! -Mike & Abby

  4. Shaun, Eric and team members,
    We are so sorry and can only imagine your disappointment. You have been an example of incredible strength, endurance, and team work…and rich experience and friendship will come from this. We are so proud of all of you and praying you safely home.


  5. Morning you guys—Praise God for giving you such an adventure up there and keeping you all safe while you have been there. Can’t believe it’s been 18 days already. May you be encouraged by what you’ve accomplished and blessed with through the experience and with the memories you’ve made. Love you guys, Brian

  6. Eric and team,
    YOU are all heroes and did an amazing job – evidence you can scale any mountain in life with your fortitude and endurance. Praying for your safe return, with love and thankfulness.

  7. Words no doubt will never justify what all of you felt and have experienced both emotionally and physically as very few will have ever even come close to attempting what yous did. Congratulations on what was accomplished. God speed on your journeys home and let your memories be shared with others.

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