Marlies Neefjes (I think!?) called in from our May 15th team. Her message is entirely in Dutch, so if anyone out there can help translate, “Help alstublieft!!”
The team took advantage of an absolutely perfect day to carry loads of supplies up the steepest part of the West Buttress route, caching their loads above what is often called, “The Headwall,” at an elevation of about 16,400′ (5000 m). Finally, the weather has become a bit more cooperative, so they shouldered their backpacks and hiked about an hour up above camp to reach The Headwall. The Headwall is a steep section of snow and ice that leads from 15,600′ to 16,200′ (4755 m to 4938 m). It has a steep start, as there is a sort of crevasse known as a bergschrund at it’s base.
The Headwall is affixed with ropes that are attached at semi-regular intervals with anchors buried deep in the ice. The climbers clip themselves into those fixed lines with an ascender, a fancy sort of clamp that will slide up the rope, but locks off when weighted. This provides an additional level of security when climbing the steep fixed lines.
Depositing their cache, they then dropped back to Camp 3 in the huge Genet Basin to spend another night at 14,200′ (4328 m).
Here is Marlies!