May 22 Team – Moved to 14,200′!

The May 22nd team called in from their new home at Camp 3, located in a huge basin at 14,200′ on Denali.  I believe Martin called in today’s post (please correct me if I am wrong!).

The team moved up today and Martin shared some insights about the joys of pulling sleds in gusty wind!  Sleds are like your best friend and worst enemy – they enable you to move a lot more kit than you could by only loading your backpack, but they tug at you and often try to pull you off your feet at times, especially on traverses, when they slide down along side you as you attempt to cross the side of a hill.

The route up from 11,200′ Camp climbs a 1000′ hill called Motorcycle Hill.  This is the first real big ascent of the West Buttress route, and generally the first time climbers don crampons for better purchase on the steep slope.

Motorcycle Hill

Above Motorcycle Hill, the climbers encountered another steep slope known as Squirrel Hill.  This stretch is often wind swept and so the surface is often very firm.  Crampons really help make it possible to negotiate such terrain.  Higher still, the route follows a long, gradual slope alongside a small glacier and right along the base of the West Buttress proper.  Steep rock ridges and white couloirs (snow gullies) drop down from thousands of feet above the climbers heads.  One such ridge is known as Windy Corner, as climbers must pass around it to gain access to the upper part of their route.  Winds passing a long the immense south face of the mountain scream around Windy Corner, at times making it virtually impassable.

The team jumped on a decent day to move their camp up to Camp 3.  14,200′ is a good elevation at which to build acclimatization for the upper mountain.  The team has been pushing hard for seven straight days, but now they will slow down a bit, letting their bodies adjust to the thin air and preparing for the even thinner air of the upper mountain.

8 Comments

  1. Great update Martin! Excited to hear from you. We are crossing our fingers as instructed! Glad to hear your charm has not been dulled by the altitude 😉 – Whitney and Silvia

  2. Was that you speaking Martin?
    You didnt introduce urself. Glad its going well and well meatballs sounds like a luxury.
    So ur 7 days in and now at 14,000. Thats great. How is Chris doing. I noticed you called the Chef Chris but in a female way.
    So two chris’s in the group? Well keep going buddy. I hope you have clear weather all the way.
    Best
    Sean

  3. Chris Hill, congratulation to you & your team members progress. Your text came through — Great to hear all is goin well. Continued good luck! R&B

  4. Nice to hear from you on the answering machine, Anne. Unfortunately your call never got through to me. But I’ll be listening for the next call.
    I’m glad that you and your team seem to be doing really well. It sounds terribly cold and windy up there, and the weather forecast I have access to is indicating about 2-3 ft of snow per day. Still you seem to be pushing on, and hopefully you’ll have a few better days so you can summit. I’m proud of you if you make it to the top- and equally proud if you don’t.

    Love,
    Peter

  5. Way to go team!!!! These updates are awesome and great to hear the voices from all the team members. Pretty sure I could hear Chris laughing in the background 😀 Miss you brother and so proud of you. Fingers crossed you all continue to have a phenomenal climb.

  6. Hei Anne, Vi følger med, og er veldig imponerte. Hyggelig å høre stemmen din. Godt å høre at dere holder planen. Stå på – lykke til videre! Take care.
    Klem fra Guri og guttene

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