After their successful push to the Roof of North America, the summit of the Great One at 20,310′, the triumphant June 5 West Buttress team is now making their way back down to Denali Base Camp at 7,200′.
Climber Ted Labedz called from 14,200′, noting that the team was still “riding yesterday’s high” — quite literally, as they descend from the highest point in North America.
The team plans to travel on a night schedule down the route, for less risky travel conditions on the lower glacier where the snow bridges may grow weak in the heat of the day. With a high pressure cycle over the Alaska Range, the afternoon sun can make 40 degrees Fahrenheit feel more like 90. With the summer solstice just a few days behind us, it never gets truly dark in the range, not even at 2 am, when the team will likely begin their descent from 14-Camp.
Another HUGE congratulations to the team! In one of the more difficult seasons we’ve seen yet, they endured through several storm cycles, a few days stuck in camp up high and the odds stacked against them with less than 30 percent of climbers making the summit this year.
Once the team is able to catch a ski plane out to Talkeetna, we will hopefully be able to update you all back home with some photos of them on the summit. For now, we wish them a smooth and fast descent down the West Buttress.