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Denali - West Buttress Expedition

Mt. McKinley: Hahn & Team Stationary at 14K

Another day at 14,200 ft on Denali… waiting for the sun. For as ominous as things appeared when we turned in last night, things stayed relatively calm through morning.  We enjoyed a few hours of sunshine and the team made good use by cutting snow blocks and fortifying our dining tent.  Meanwhile, a couple of guides from each of three different teams (and three different guide companies) made forays onto the first hill en route to the fixed ropes.  Each made assessments of the snowpack independently, but then we compared notes and found all were in agreement… there were positive signs that stabilizing processes were ongoing, but these were still definitely outweighed by the signs that unstable conditions prevailed.  Too much chance of avalanche.  No climbing the West Buttress today.  Back together at 14 camp, Tim Hardin gave our assembled team a great lesson in snow science, explaining how a pit dug in suspect snow could reveal plenty about the layers within the pack and their ability to hold to one another… or slide.  The day turned cloudy as usual and light snow fell again.  There was some letup at dinner and we enjoyed views of the wind-sculpted cloud caps on Denali, Foraker and Hunter.  We were each challenged again to stay tough, patient and focused as we said goodbye to three more of the guided groups we’ve shared the hill with.  This once bustling and eager climbing camp is down to three guided teams and one small independent team.  We’re still getting good forecasts for the days ahead- of cloud and snow and more cloud, we are just hoping they turn out to be wrong. 

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

Comments (11)

Hoping your patience will be rewarded with good conditions soon and that you are not bored to tears :)

Posted by: Monica on

Mark:  I am following you from muggy AZ.  Now wouldn’t you prefer Kilimanjaro’s warm 14,000ft weather to yours?  Ha, ha.  You are trooper and I am proud of you.  The Wilson name of adventurers continues in you!
Love, Jan

Posted by: Jan on

Our thoughts are with you, hopefully the clouds will clear and give you all a clear path to the top.

Best wishes.

Posted by: Ritesh on

Greeting from Florida- trying to send some sunshine your way. Praying for a safe descent for all the teams when the time comes. Looking forward to seeing you in October.  Much love- Mark, Mindy, Michael, Mark T. and Katie

Posted by: Mindy on

Hi Richard
Remember Kilimanjaro.. when climbing mountains was still easy. You want me to beam you a snow shuffle.. .:)? I am following your trip from Switzerland. Take good care of yourself.. I cross my fingers for you reaching the summit soon.
Andy (Brother of Marcel)

Posted by: Andreas on

Mark:  Very hot still here in Denver. Wish I could package up some of the sun and send it your way. How about a group picture and are you taking care of your nose and lips.Missing you and love you, Mary

Posted by: Mary McDonald on

Hey Willis—-I know you are staying smooth and patient.  If your mates are getting bored, you can tell them about that time when we were in college and ............Stay safe, my friend!

Posted by: Darryl Schimeck on

As our good friend Ed V says…..summit is optional and the descent is mandatory.  Wishing you all safe and successful climbing.

Posted by: Mark Rickert on

Hope the clouds give way to lots of sun for your team today! We are enjoying the Purcell & Rocky Mtns. in B.C. at a distance & can’t even imagine what it would be like climbing them or where you are!

Posted by: Merl & Lynn on

Good to hear you are learning lots of new things and staying busy during this long pause. hoping for a positive change in weather patterns. Come on sun!!

Posted by: DO'C on

Hang in there team!  Hoping conditions improve for you. An uncrowded mountain will be your reward for all your patience.
Tim Jones
Team Hahn 07’ & 09’

Posted by: Tim Jones on

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