PWSC Outdoor Leadership Capstone trip to Denali National Park and Preserve.

by Vicki Heisser  |   

planeHave you ever been inspired by Denali? PWSC alumnus Rafael Alfaro and student Evan Clupper will lead a capstone trip to Denali National Park and Preserve with Dr. Benjamin Rush, assistant professor of outdoor leadership. The group has been planning and training for months for this expedition and is excited to embark on this adventure.

The planning process is a crucial part of the trip, and Dr. Rush has taken great care to ensure that most items are in order. The team is attempting the West Buttress, the most common route traveled. They have studied the route and identified potential hazards, camps, and elevation gains. Denali was chosen because it presents a challenge but can be easily descended if the environment changes or the group has medical issues.

They have been training for months to prepare themselves physically and mentally for the journey. They are becoming more aware of mountaineering equipment such as ice axes and crampons. They have been hiking and camping in the nearby mountains, practicing glacier travel and crevasse rescue techniques.

The team knows they will face several challenges on their expedition. Denali is the highest peak in North America, with an elevation of 20,310 feet. The group will need to acclimatize to the high altitude and thin air. The weather in Denali can be unpredictable, with snow and storms occurring throughout the year. The team has to be prepared for sudden changes in weather conditions, which could affect their progress and safety.

glacierTo reach Denali, the team will fly to Talkeetna, Alaska, then take a smaller plane to the base camp on the Kahiltna Glacier. This will be their expedition's starting point; from there, they will climb higher elevations and set up camps.

Despite the challenges, Dr. Rush and his team are eager to face them and experience the breathtaking beauty of Denali National Park and Preserve. The trip will be an unforgettable experience that will test their skills, endurance, and teamwork. However, safety is a priority; if weather or student conditions deteriorate, they will descend.

Follow the team on MapShare: as they climb North America's tallest mountain.