In eight days, Matt and the team did something pretty awesome - summiting three of the highest peaks in the US. First up was Denali on June 3rd. Denali, at 20,320 is the highest peak in the US and the North American continent. Then was Mt. Whitney on June 8th. Mt. Whitney, at 14,505 is the highest point in the lower 48 and the state of California. Last was Mt. Elbert on June 11th. At 14,443, Mt. Elbert is the second highest point in the lower 48 and the highest point in a state of high points, Colorado. In between these monsters, the team also summited Boundary Peak in Nevada, not a small feat in its own right.
The team was off to a roaring start completing four peaks in eight days.
Matt and his team summited Mt. McKinley, commonly referred to as Denali, in Alaska. The team landed on the mountain on 5/22 and took the West Buttress route. Denali is the highest peak in North America at 20,320 ft. Updates with photos and SPOT coordinates can be found on the Expedition Updates page.
The original plan was to ascend Mt. Ranier and Mt. Hood fresh off Denali. With all the glaciers, Ranier would've been like home after Denali. But the late season snow had other plans, so the team headed off to bag Boundary Peak, highest point in Nevada at 13,147 ft.
June 8 - Mt. Whitney, CA (14,505 ft)
After 14.5 hours of climbing (sometimes through thigh-high snow fields), Matt and his team summited Mt. Whitney, the highest point in the contigious United States. The was 22 miles round trip with a total elevation gain of 7,000 vertical feet. Guided teams can take up to four days, but since the team was fresh of of Denali, no acclimating was necessary.
Under cool skies, Matt and the team made it up Mt. Elbert, the second highest point in the contigious US, in about seven hours. The elevation gain on the eight mile round trip was 4,700 vertical feet on the North Mt. Elbert Trail. The team was joined by Joel Gratz, team meteorologist and expert in mountain weather. Joel has been huge asset on all the peaks however this was his first opportunity to climb with the team. Weather is the single greatest element that can affect a climb and Joelís accurate forecasting has been critical to the teamís success. In addition, the team has been receiving a crash course in meteorology! Also joining this climb were two of Mattís best friends, Sam Kirk and Cam Dudiak.