Climber Rob Leskun of the Mountain Trip June 5 West Buttress team called in from Camp One at 7,800′, with an update for those at home on their progress towards the summit of Denali.
After flying into the Alaska Range and touching down on the Kahiltna glacier several days ago, the team has made good progress up the West Buttress Route. Upon arrival, Mountain Trip guides review glacier travel skills, including showing everyone how to properly rig their sled to pull gear, how to walk in challenging terrain while on a rope team with other climbers, crevasse rescue and risk mitigation.
When the climbers set off from Base Camp, they travel in teams of three or four, roped together with all of their gear. For some, this is the most difficult part of the expedition, as everyone is carrying the most weight they will carry throughout the duration of the trip. They must move all of their food, supplies and gear for the next 21 days across several miles of glacier to Camp One at 7,800′.
Some mountaineering teams take on a night schedule at this point in the season on the lower parts of the glacier, choosing to travel when the ice is at its most solid.
At Camp One, the team has already seen the weather span from partially cloudy, to cold and overcast, to rain. The team spent yesterday carrying a cache of food and supplies for higher up on the route to lighten their load for the trek to Camp Two. Caching gear and retrieving it later on is the cornerstone of expedition-style ascents of big mountains.
The team anticipates heading up Ski Hill above camp once again today, to move up to Camp Two at 11,200′. This will be, as always, weather permitting.
Here’s the update from Rob!