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Denali Expedition: Gately & Team Move to 17K Camp

Tuesday, May 28, 2019 - 6:09 PM PT We woke up early this morning. 5am to be exact. 14K Camp is full of eager climbers waiting, likely everybody else, for their shot at the summit. The problem with extended bad weather is that climbers stack up in the queue. Like a dam during spring runoff, eventually you have to open the flood gates to release the back up to prevent the dam from over flowing. Well, our theoretical opening of the flood gates manifests as a decent weather window for climbing. We braved the cold, got packed up, ate a quick breakfast and were on the move by 7:15am. Over two hours before the sun normally hits camp. About halfway up the fixed lines we started to receive a little filtered sun and fingers and toes began to finally thaw out. A quick glance back down the terrain we had just climbed confirmed our need for an early departure. The flood gates had opened. 50-75 people streamed out of camp in a solid single-file line. We felt pretty good about being so far ahead of the human onslaught. The West Buttress itself is easily the most aesthetic portion of the entire ascent. The buttress offers steep climbing, wild exposure and views of the Alaska Range and it's expansive blanket of tundra that unfolds to the East. The weather stayed quite pleasant for us as we ascended the ridge that would eventually lead us to our high camp at 17,000ft. Soon enough steep terrain and exposure led to the gentle slopes of the Upper Peters Glacier. We sauntered our way into camp. There is already a small village of erected tents hunkered down in a scoop of snow sculpted by the wind. We opted to travel a bit further and build camp where no one has yet. We've gotten quite efficient at the process and within a short time were all hunkered in warm sleeping bags as out of the elements. The weather at the moment is a bit cloudy with light snow showers and light winds. Not completely unpleasant but not perfect either. Tomorrow we will try and climb to the summit of Denali assuming that weather and conditions allow. The team is poised and ready, all we need now is to be allowed safe passage. We will wake up early again tomorrow morning, stick our heads out of the tent and hope we like what we see! Thanks for following along! RMI Guide Steve Gately

Comments (6)

James—Always the Eagle flies high!  Happy thoughts coming your way for this ultimate ‘touch of Denali’!  Smiles and hugs from Nana

Posted by: Pat Howell on

So happy to hear of good progress. Cheering for you from WI! Hoping for fair conditions in the days to come!

Posted by: Lauren Germann on

So exciting! Good luck! I hope the weather stays clear for you all and it’s smooth sailing to the Summit! We’re rooting for you!

Posted by: Kendall Snow on

So happy to hear that the weather is working in your favour! Wishing the whole team an amazing summit bid tomorrow!
And can’t wait to hear how the experience is Ashley?!?!?
Be awesome me!

Posted by: Kevin on

Good luck tomorrow everyone.  Eric we are rooting for you to have a safe, awesome and memorable summit tomorrow knocking off your 50th!!  Can’t wait to see the pics and hear the stories of this incredible adventure.

Posted by: Ian Kees on

Awesome day for all! Praying for good weather.  Thanks for the updates on the blog!

Posted by: Kathren Wills on

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