The May 19 Denali West Buttress has made the tough decision to descend from High Camp and abandon their summit attempt after being battered by high winds, blowing snow and all around challenging conditions at 17,200′. While this choice is never easy, in the May 19 team’s case, it was the right one to make. Guides have been noting that the weather has been significantly worse than the forecast, and the forecast has not been good.
Adam, Ryan, Aparna and Linda descended from High Camp to 14-Camp yesterday, battling low visibility and high winds down the ridge back down to slightly better conditions and less wind.
Summit or not, spending three weeks on the glaciated terrain of the Alaska Range, far from any semblance of civilization, forgoing showers, carrying tremendously heavy loads, eating countless candy bars, combating wind, snow, strong sun and extreme cold (sometimes all in one day) their expedition has been no small feat.
The weather at High Camp has continued to deteriorate since the team made their decision to descend. No matter how strong-willed a group of climbers may be, ultimately, the mountain dictates whether or not they will reach the 20,310′ summit. The “High One” certainly doesn’t have the reputation of being an easy climb.