Denali, “The Great One” as it was called by the Athabascans, is a mix of myth and reality. Located close to the Arctic circle and rising higher above the surrounding area than any other mountain on earth, the stories of huge backpacks, tremendous winds and epic storms are part of the fabric of North American climbing lore. The vast majority of its climbers attempt the mountain from its southern routes, including the West Buttress, the West Rib and the Cassin Ridge. A few venture in from the north via the long and committing Muldrow Glacier. Very, very few attempt the peak from it’s eastern or northwestern routes.
On May 3rd a team of climbers from the US will meet in Anchorage to finish their preparations to attempt the Northwest Buttress of Denali, a long and committing feature that rises 11,900′ to the North Summit of the mountain and another 600′ to the South (higher) Summit. First climbed in 1954 by the prolific first ascensionist Fred Beckey and friends, it did not see another attempt until 1982, when Mountain Trip founder Gary Bocarde led a team up for the route’s second ascent. Mountain Trip actually led the 3rd and 5th ascents in the 1980’s, but as of today, the route has seen less than 20 attempts, the last in 2003.
We have a long history of thinking outside the proverbial box and since we are climbers at heart, we have long wanted to return to the Northwest Buttress. This past winter a couple of climbers approached us looking for a challenging objective and the trip was born. We are thrilled that they will all have a chance to climb such a remote, challenging and committing objective, which embodies all that we hold dear about Alaskan climbing.
Let’s meet the team!
Brian Beatty from Atkins, Iowa
Richard Cochrane from Everett, WA
Wally Chambers from Manti, UT
Charles Miske from Orem, UT
Jared Vilhauer (guide) from Ophir, CO
Sean McManamy (guide) from Girdwood, AK