Mountain Trip lead guide Adam Smith called in with an update on the May 19 Denali West Buttress Expedition, who took another weather day at 11-Camp. At least a foot of snow fell on the camp, and accompanied by high winds, drifted up to three or four feet high. The snow level nearly buried their tents, keeping them busy with a lot of shoveling to keep their camp clear.
The long storm that has kept teams immobile all along the route appears to finally be showing signs of breaking over the next couple of days. The cold spell and the snow are holding out, but at least the winds have begun to die down.
The team plans to move camp to 14,200′ and join four other Mountain Trip teams who are waiting to push for the summit. After reaching 14-Camp, they will likely take a day to acclimatize before heading up around Windy Corner to bury a cache of food and supplies.
The West Buttress Route becomes more difficult above 14-Camp, with steeper climbing, fixed lines and more exposed and committing sections. The weather over the next few days appears to improve, with a short high pressure system taking the place of the persistent storm, but winds will likely still continue, especially at higher elevation.
Adam noted that everyone is in good health and good spirits, and is ready and eager to head higher on the route.