We received some photos and a report from our Lead Guide Sebastian Grau, whose team spent a tough night at 14,200′ last night. Seba reported winds of 60-80 mph throughout the night, which destroyed a neighboring guided team’s kitchen tent and made for a rough night’s sleep.
Our team worked very hard yesterday, cutting 20-40 pound blocks of snow from the firm bed of the glacier and stacking them in a fashion to provide wind breaks for our tents. Good thing!! It is brutal work to cut hundreds of snow blocks, but our crew was happily sipping coffee this morning, while their neighbors were huddled in the vestibules of their tents, having lost their group sanctuary from the wind.
There are some reports of a couple teams that pushed up to high camp in the last day or so that appear to be having some difficulties. None of those are Mountain Trip groups, and the word we received is that they are not guided teams. We don’t have much information, but wanted to assure everyone that our teams are doing well. The weather on the upper mountain is really terrible at the moment, with tremendously strong winds buffeting the upper reaches of Denali.
They say that a picture can be worth a thousand words. I’m not sure the image below accurately conveys how grim the weather is at the 17,200′ high camp. high camp is on the snowy plateau in the center of the image below, situated a full 3000′ above the point where Seba shot the photo. The plumes of snow blowing off the ridge are probably a thousand feet long, if that helps provide some context…
We have not heard from our teams on the lower reaches of the mountain, but the bulk of the high wind has been on the upper levels of Denali. Seba’s team and our West Rib team of Seth, Pablo and Juliana are all tucked in at 14,200′ camp, watching the wind, eating well and preparing themselves for the next window of decent weather in which to move up the mountain.