Alan Arnette’s plans for summiting Denali came to an end over the weekend thanks to a suborn and persistent weather system that would not allow access to the top of the mountain. He and his team had been at High Camp, located at 17,500 ft (5334 meters) for seven days waiting for a weather window to open, but high winds and heavy snows continued to prevent them from mounting any kind of serious summit bids. As a result, they simply ran out of time, so Alan, along with the rest of his Mountain Trip team, are now heading home.
This Denali climb was the most recent in Alan’s bid to climb the Seven Summits to raise funds for Alzheimer’s research. After completing successful climbs on Mt. Vinson in Antarctica, Aconcagua in South America, and Everest in Asia, he seemed poised to stand atop Denali as well. Unfortunately, the weather didn’t cooperate with those plans, so this summit will have to wait for awhile.
Next up on the agenda is Elbrus, the highest mountain in Europe at 18,481 ft. (5643 meters). Alan will travel to the Caucasus Mountains in August to take on that climb, before heading to Tanzania in September for the 19,340 foot (5896 meter) Kilimanjaro.
Having a climb called off due to weather is part of the game when it comes to mountaineering. That doesn’t make it any easier or any less disappointing when it happens. According to his latest dispatch, Alan is now at Base Camp at 7800 ft on the mountain as he waits, along with about 45 other climbers, for extraction from Denali. The weather is much better at that altitude, and temperatures have risen high enough that they have to wait for the glacier to refreeze before a plane can come and retrieve them. if all goes well, the teams should be headed home today however.
I’m sure more than a few of them will be dreaming about Denali until next year, when they can return and give it another crack.
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