Our June 19th West Buttress team hoped to fly onto the glacier yesterday, but was stymied by inclement weather. The team met in Anchorage on the morning of the 19th for a team meeting and a comprehensive gear check. It was a pretty busy day and they made the rounds of the local climbing shops to pick up some last-minute necessities.
Yesterday, we drove everyone up to the small, end of the road town of Talkeetna and they attended an orientation presented by the National Park Service. This is required of all climbers attempting Denali and consists of a PowerPoint presentation and a question and answer session.
Years ago, the orientation was in the form of a video that was so gruesome that it was not uncommon to have prospective climbers decide not to go onto the mountain after seeing it! The Park has toned down the images of frostbite and mangled limbs, but still does a very effective job of promoting communication amongst the team, which is one of our most valuable tools.
Following the team’s orientation registration with the NPS, they sorted their gear for the flight to the glacier. Unfortunately, the weather was not conducive to flying and they spent the afternoon waiting for a window in which to fly. The afternoon turned into evening and the group spent the night in Talkeetna.
They are hoping to fly this morning, but we have not heard that planes have launched as yet. We’ll keep you posted.
Here is the team:
David Wermuth from Arizona
Karl Pettijohn from California
Meerie Barkle from Australia
Michael Theologos from New York
Ray Aderholt from Alabama
Jacob Schmitz from Oregon (lead guide)
Greg Nappi from Alaska (guide)
Adam Smith from Alaska (guide)
Kelly Ryan from Colorado (guide)
James Gustafson from Alaska (guide)
This trip is one of three “Highly Supported” Denali climbs that Mountain Trip offered for this climbing season. We staff these trips at a 1:1 ratio and employ a variety of tactics that allow our climbers to ascend carrying only their personal gear. These have proven very popular amongst our guides and our climbers.