A summit and a descent from high camp

Markus, along with guides Karen Kingsley and Nick Shepherd, left high camp early this morning to attempt the summit, and I just received word that the rope team has made it safely back to high camp, having successfully summitted Denali!  They are all well and plan on descending the mountain to basecamp over the next few days.  Congratulations!!!

Joe Butler descended from high camp to 11,200′ camp today, and is bedding down for the night.  They are planning on moving to basecamp to fly to Talkeetna tomorrow.  The rest of the expedition came down with a sickness that sapped their summit ambitions, so Joe thought it prudent to move down to friendlier elevations.  The teams will rendezvous in basecamp or Talkeetna.

One of the unsung challenges of climbing big mountains is remaining healthy in an environment where pretty much everything is stacked up against you.  If a climber catches a bug while flying to Alaska (airplanes are a common place to pick up a respiratory infection), it can be very hard to heal as he or she ascends into the thin, dry, cold air of the upper regions of Denali.  When you add the depressed immune response caused by the effects of altitude, getting sick down low will really decrease a climber’s ability to go to the summit.  It is really unfortunate that such a bug made the rounds amongst the team…

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