Mountain Trip climber Eric Greene called in with an evening update on the May 15 Denali West Buttress Expedition, who, along with three other Mountain Trip teams, are holding strong at 14-Camp and doing their best to stay busy and stay out of the cold.
High winds and blowing snow, brought in by the southwest storm flow that typically hits the Alaska Range hard, have persisted on the mountain for the past five days. This has prevented teams from moving higher on the mountain, as the fixed lines and exposure on the route above 14,000′ demand good conditions and visibility. The Alaska Range knows no seasons, and snow storms with all of the fury of winter can arrive at any time of the year. Over a foot of snow has fallen since the start of the storm, and it’s likely that the wind has blown in ten times that amount.
To stave off the cold and get their legs moving, the team hiked down to 13,500′ to retrieve their cached gear, including extra food and supplies, and hiked it all back up to their camp. Once back in camp, they reinforced their latrine, and the snow walls that they’ve constructed to keep out the wind.
While it appears the snow will taper off by this Saturday, the winds are forecasted to steadily increase. To watch the weather on the mountain, <a href=”http://www.weather.gov/afg/denaliclimbing_forecast”>click here.</a>