One of the famed Seven Summits, Denali is a challenging mountain, due to its combination of high elevation and arctic environment. Each year, about 1300 climbers attempt to climb to its summit and roughly half succeed. The most attempted route on the mountain is the West Buttress, first climbed by Bradford Washburn and company in 1951. The fairly protected camps of the West Buttress become veritable tent cities beginning in the middle of May, as the short climbing season begins to take off in earnest.
Climbers seeking a more wild experience in a true, wilderness setting have been climbing in the less traditional, early season of April. Mountain Trip has been offering such an experience for years and began offering mid-April expeditions in 2010. Our April 17th team will probably be the first climbing team of the season to attempt the mountain and will find those camps empty. The days will be a bit shorter, and the temperatures a bit colder, but the rewards of seeing Denali as a truly wild place are beyond expression.
Let’s meet the climbers:
Jacob Schmitz (lead guide)
Zach Johnson (guide)
Ben Adkinson (guide)
The team will meet in Anchorage, Alaska on the 17th of April for a team meeting and gear check. They will have a full day of preparing their personal kits for the glacier and picking up last minute items. The following morning, they will travel to the small town of Talkeetna to check in with the National Park Service and then fly to the Southeast Fork of the Kahiltna Glacier at an elevation of 7,200′.
Enjoy the dispatches and we encourage you to post comments and warm wishes (pun totally intended!) for your friends and family members as they make their way up to the summit of North America.