I’ve been into the phenomenal Alaska Range five times now, guiding for the American Alpine Institute on the West Buttress of Denali. This season I got to work with the Indonesian Seven Summits team for a couple of preparatory days around Kahiltna Basecamp and then climb the Buttress with this energetic bunch, a great guy from Dublin, an always upbeat woman from Poland, and two fantastic guides, Dan Otter and Aili Farquhar, both of Washington. We had clear and cold conditions–one morning it was -35F with windchill– but very little snowfall and tolerable winds. Our expedition’s timing happened to align really well with the weather patterns and we only suffered through one forced bad weather day while at Camp 3 (14,200′).
We summitted on May 15 at about 8PM (day 15 of the expedition) and proceeded to high-tail it off the mountain, flying out in the afternoon of May 17. This was incredibly fortunate for us since the airstrip at Basecamp shut down because of bad weather almost immediately after we flew out, leaving parties who descended slower to sit around waiting for flying weather for nearly a week. Other teams that got stuck at the 14,200′ and 11,200′ camps suffered through 60mph winds and feet of snowfall. Timing is everything in the Alaska Range!
Here is a highlight reel of my photos from the expedition.
I am available for private courses and ascents in the Alaska Range through the American Alpine Institute. Contact me for more information.