A final dispatch from lead guide Adam Smith:
We climbed the breathtaking 16000-foot ridge towards high camp and passed the remaining climbers on their descent. Arriving to a deserted camp at 17,200 feet and watching the final groups round Windy Corner and out of sight, the isolation sunk in. It is a wild and special experience to be the last group on Denali. Throughout the previous two weeks, we had developed a strong team capable of caring for itself on the unforgiving peak and self-reliance was all we had.
The following morning presented a summit attempt and we took full advantage. Clouds were moving in and out while snow showers accompanied them throughout the day. Fortunately, only a light wind was present and the weather never became too threatening. Slowly we kept pushing higher up the mountain until we reached the summit. After fifteen days of hard work we stood on the top and celebrated the achievement briefly before refocusing on the long strenuous descent back to base camp. This took a mere 45 hours of constant work. We picked up our caches on the way down and then forged through the maze of crevasses that present themselves on the lower glacier in July. Moving through this complex terrain is a testament to the entire group and the team they built. Congratulations to everyone on the June 26 Mountain Trip West Buttress expedition.