Mountains have long drawn people together from around the world. The draw to wild places and huge spaces is universal. Here at Mountain Trip, we are fortunate to share the mountains of the Alaska Range with climbers from all parts of the globe. We are happy to welcome a team of climbers who have joined us from The Netherlands, to attempt the classic West Buttress route on Denali.
For the past nine months, we have worked with a Dutch guide service called Mountain Network to organize the expedition that will fly to the Southeast Fork of the Kahiltna Glacier later today. Joining us from across the proverbial pond are:
Melle van den Boorn
Fred de Jong
Peter de Jong
Our guides for the climb are:
Aaron Diamond from Jackson, WY
Fischer Hazen from Telluride, CO
Nicole Lawton from Ophir, CO
The group congregated yesterday in Anchorage, where our guide team met them and conducted a team meeting and overview of the expedition ahead of them at the Lakefront Hotel, where we host our climbers before they head into the mountains.
Following the meeting, the guides looked over each climber’s personal equipment and clothing for the climb. It is important that every climber heading up onto Denali have the right gear, but not too much, as grams add up to be kilograms and Denali is notorious for requiring climbers to carry monster loads of equipment. The trip could last up to 22 days, and a trip that long means lost of food! The Mountain Trip guides helped the Dutch climbers select and pack lunch snacks for the next three weeks following the equipment check. Lunch on Denali is sometimes a sit down affair with sandwiches, soup and warm food, but often, we are too busy working to cook, so we eat a variety of snacks as a sort of “lunch on the run.”
We provide many options for snacks and provide our climbers the guidance to pack enough, but not too much, for the coming weeks. This system enables each climber to have ownership of his or her snack choices. Some people prefer salty, crunchy snacks, while other take advantage of Denali’s reputation for burning calories to binge on candy bars!
Today, they drove north a couple hours to the small town of Talkeetna, Alaska. They will participate in another orientation, this one by provided by the National Park Service, before they load all their kit onto ski-equipped planes for the flight into the Alaska Range.
We will post updates as the climbers call in from the field. They do this via satellite phone, which is not a perfect communication system from the mountains of Alaska, as tall ridges often block the transmission or cut calls short. If they do not call in for a few days, they are probably just busy or their calls are not making it out. Keep in mind that, “No News is Good News!!” We encourage you to append comments to posts, because while the climbers won’t see them until they are off the mountain, they will really appreciate knowing that their friends and family have been holding them in their thoughts.