Lead Guide Constantine Sevaris called in to report that he and the members of our May 28th Denali team pushed hard yesterday and climbed up to High Camp at 17,200 feet on the West Buttress of Denali!
It sounds like conditions were tough for part of the way, with wind and snow making travel challenging and giving everyone pause for reflection about how unforgiving Denali can be on it’s upper slopes. Fortunately, they climbed through the weather and were treated to sunshine for the arduous task of establishing camp at 17,200′.
High Camp is located on a small bit of fairly flat real estate, overlooking a 3000′ drop down to the basin of the previous camp. At the far western edge of the immense south face of Denali, winds can scream along the face and pour across the High Camp plateau. It is also situated just below the pass separating the two summits of Denali, and such passes tend to funnel wind as well.
All in all, it is a windswept place with little in the way of natural shelter. Therefore teams must cut blocks of snow from the find bed surface and stack them in a manner to make their own protection from the wind. It can easily take a hundred blocks or more to build a secure wall. Making snow walls after climbing up three thousand feet in the thin air of the Alaska Range is brutally hard work, even more so when doing it in a storm. Thankfully, our team was able to do their work in the sun!
Their plan is to rest on Sunday and then make a shot for the top on Monday. They need good weather in order to make their bid, so let’s all think warm thoughts in the coming days!!!
Here is Con!