May 13 Denali West Buttress Team: Building walls and resting at 14,200′

Mountain Trip lead guide Dan Starr called in a quick update on the May 13 Denali West Buttress team, who, like three other Mountain Trip teams, are waiting for a weather window to move to High Camp and make their summit bid.

The team spent the day reinforcing their latrine, building snow walls to block the high wind gusts from battering their tents, keeping busy around camp, preparing food and likely catching up on their reading and journal writing.

The section of the route that the team will encounter after moving higher from 14-Camp includes fixed lines, demanding steep pitches and exposure. Moreover, when the weather is bad at 14-Camp, it is most often even worse, and even colder, at High Camp. Additionally, while the team is well-acclimated to 14,000′, time spent above 17,000′ can take a toll on the body.

Dan reports that the team is still in good spirits and good health, and is looking forward for a window of clear weather so that they can continue towards the summit. Keeping a sense of optimism and good humor is perhaps the key to success during storms on Denali.

While it appears the snow will begin to taper off by this Saturday, the winds are forecasted to steadily increase. To watch the weather on the mountain, click here.
Hopefully the storm will eventually give way to the high pressure the team needs to head for the top of North America!

Here’s Dan:

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