The May 11 West Buttress Team called in once again from 14-Camp on the route to the summit of Denali. They have been camped at 14,200′ for longer than any other Mountain Trip team–for two weeks now. This is the longest time that we at the office can recall, in recent Mountain Trip history, that a West Buttress team has spent at one camp. They are tied for time with the West Rib expedition, who has also been stopped from going higher due to weather.
While Denali is somewhat infamous for its fickle weather and frequent, persistent storms, this one is significantly more unrelenting than usual. The weather is showing signs of breaking, and the bitter cold that has gripped the upper mountain for the past several days is letting up, but the weather still is not clear enough for the team to make a call with certainty that they will continue up to High Camp.
The team had an open discussion about the weather and has decided to stay at 14-Camp rather than descend, and will be watching the weather constantly, hoping for a good window to move up to High Camp. This means that the team is packed and ready to mobilize on a moment’s notice to begin to climb. The weather appears to be constantly changing, and they have pushed back their down day tomorrow. If they do climb higher, they will likely do so as light as possible
If they don’t decide that the weather is appropriate for them to move higher today (5/30), they will head back down to Base Camp tomorrow.
We hope that their next dispatch will come in from High Camp!
Here’s the update: