Mountain Trip climber Greg Johnson called in via satellite phone with an update on the June 5 Denali team’s progress on the mountain. Today, June 20, is the team’s 15th day on the West Buttress Route on their quest for the highest point in North America.
The team had a 10-hour day today moving up to High Camp, one of the steepest and most strenuous sections of the West Buttress. Climbers must ascend fixed lines and pay careful attention to their footing as the route becomes more exposed, all while carrying a heavy pack and dealing with the thinning air above 14-Camp.
Guide Karl Welter and client Dave Ladd turned back during the ascent, as Dave was showing potential symptoms of acute mountain sickness, brought on by the high altitude. They both are now in good condition at 14-Camp, and will wait for the rest of to descend back down from High Camp so that they can all depart together.
Lead guide Ben Adkison, Greg Johnson, Newall Hunter and John Ladd will take a well-deserved rest day tomorrow at High Camp, and hopefully make their bid for the summit on Wednesday, June 23.
Here’s Greg with the update: