CONGRATULATIONS! The June 4th West Buttress team called from the tallest point of North America!
The team showed patience and it paid off – they are on the summit on a beautiful, warm day.
They departed this morning and climbed 1000′ (300m) up a fairly steep, rising traverse, known in the dark humor of Alaskan climbers as “The Autobahn” (so named for a party of Germans who slipped years ago…) They took break atop the Autobahn, just above the low point of Denali Pass, a saddle separating the (lower) North Summit of the mountain from the South Summit.
Above Denali Pass, the route steepens a bit, climbing up past some light grey rocks, laced with dark bands, known as Zebra Rocks. As they climbed, the terrain rolled upwar, undulating in a series of low, glaciated hills, until they crested a snow slope that looked across a flat expanse of glacier at 19,500′, known as the Football Field. Resting in preparation for the last push, they climbed up 500′ of moderately steep snow, called “Pig Hill” before arriving at the summit ridge, a 300′ slice of snow that is truly knife-edged in spots. Climbing the final stretch, with 1000′ of exposure to the climbers’ left and 9,000′ of exposure down the immense South Face to their right, they made the last steps to the top of North America!
Here’s the Team!!