In the face of yet another day of tough, whiteout conditions, the team pushed up from their previous camp and have established themselves in a large basin at 14,200′. This camp is often bustling with other climbing teams and is also home to a large National Park Service presence. The Rangers maintain a camp here during the climbing season and staff it with medical personnel as well.
The team climbed 1000′ straight out of their camp, up a slope known as Motorcycle Hill. Cresting the hill, they then had two moderately steep slopes that drain off to the climbers’ right, eventually funneling any sliding objects off a thousands of feet high precipice an onto the Peter’s Glacier below. Climbers tread carefully up those slopes!
The route then made a long, gradually rising slope alongside the craggy rocky flutes of the West Buttress proper. Many snow chutes or “couloirs” in climbing parlance, wind their way through the rocks to the glacier below. After hiking a half mile along that slope, the route climbs up around one particularly steep and pronounced rocky ridge, which is known as Windy Corner, before ascending along another glacier (this one is a “hanging glacier, meaning it drops off a shear cliff at its terminus!) up into camp.
Tomorrow will be a relatively easy day. They will drop down from camp and retrieve the cache of supplies they buried a couple days ago. This will only require a couple of hours of work, leaving the team plenty of time to review skills that they will use on the upper mountain.
Here’s Sean McManamy with the update!