by Jason Kolaczkowski
CMC Denali Trip Leader
Camp 4 (14,200′)
Sorry that I forgot to turn of the GPS tracking device, everyone. But I can inform you all that we had a successful day.
We got up early (by Alaska standards, not Colorado) and were the first team on the fixed ropes heading up the standard Buttress route. We pushed all the way to high Camp 6 (17,200′) and placed two tents, two stoves, food, and fuel. Our camp for making the traverse of the summit is now set. We saw a view of the summit from Camp 6, in this photo.
The team was moving strongly with our two ropes of three people even passing a single climber on the headwall.
Tomorrow (Tuesday) we move to our ascent route high Camp 5 (16,300′). Wednesday is our summit attempt.
The weather forecast is still looking good for Wednesday, with 6 AM winds at 20mph, noon winds at 15-16mph, and 3 PM winds at 10-12mph at the summit. Also, winds are out of the north; so with our southwest aspect ascent, we will be protected until we crest the Rib and make it onto the “Football Field,” and by then the winds should be more mild. Ambient summit temp should be around -10F.
If the above all proves accurate, the challenge will be down to our bodies handling 4000′ vertical at altitude. But we will have plenty of time to ease into a pace. There is no need to rush with weather only improving as the day goes on.