With a very detailed installment of “How The Mountain Turns,” Lead Guide Pablo Puruncajas called in with an update on the resourcefulness of our West Rib team, in the face of really tough weather and conditions.
Heavy snow and high winds caused the team to reevaluate their planned route. The approach to the Wets Rib climbs up the Northeast Fork of the Kahiltna Glacier, also known in the dark humor of Alaskan climbers as The Valley of Death. It is narrow, and under certain conditions, can have high avalanche hazard. The decision was made that conditions were too risky to warrant hiking up into the valley, so they have set their sights on attempting the West Buttress.
A challenge to this change of plan is that they had left a cache of food and supplies at the mouth of the Northeast Fork. Without that food and fuel, they did not have sufficient supplies to spend much time on their attempt of the West Buttress. Fortunately, the other Mountain Trip teams looked after Seth, Pablo and Juliana and gave them a large quantity of food and fuel, so they are now poised, waiting for the weather to clear, and sufficiently provisioned to give the summit a shot!
Here is Pablo with an account of the last days: