Today the crew made a big push up the steepest part of the West Buttress route, carrying loads of equipment and supplies to a cache site 16,400′. They started out early, climbing moderate snow slopes for approximately 1,400′ above 14 Camp. At roughly 15,600′, they reached the Headwall, a steep ice and snow slope that hits 45 degrees and climbs up another 600′ to the crest of a spectacular ridge.
Today’s climb took them up a series of “fixed lines,” ropes affixed to anchors buried in the snow at semi-regular intervals. The climbers clipped themselves into the fixed lines with “ascenders,” mechanical rope clamps. The ascenders are attached to each climbers’ harness, which adds protection against a slip when climbing such steep terrain.
After caching their supplies, the team dropped back down the fixed lines to 14 Camp.
Here’s Kristin with today’s report: