Mountain Trip guide Robert “Durney” Durnell called in with an update on the June 16 West Buttress Expedition, who have moved to High Camp on Denali!
Since the steep, exposed section of the route on the Headwall requires crampons instead of snowshoes, so the team had to break trail in waist to chest deep snow. Breaking trail for hours uphill with a heavy pack is incredibly taxing. The recent low-pressure system on the mountain has stranded teams and brought low visibility and several feet of snow to the route, making for slow, strenuous travel. But, the team was rewarded for their tremendous efforts, and has made camp at 17,200′, the High Camp on the West Buttress Route.
Durney is joined by Mountain Trip guide Chip Crawley from the June 24 Denali team, and one climber from his original June 16 team. The rest of the team flew off of the glacier, back to Talkeetna, Alaska yesterday evening (7/6) with their second guide Brian Kramp.
Durney said that the team will go for the summit today (7/7), if the snow and winds cooperate. He hopes to call in via satellite phone to those back home from the summit, 20,310′, the highest point in North America! We wish the team the best of luck and hope that the weather clears and that they can successfully make it to the top.
Listen in for Durney’s audio update: