Kirk Bauer called in from the team’s camp at 11,200′ with a very nice report from the basin camp at 11,200′.
The team split up a bit today, to give them more options and flexibility for getting everyone down this, the steepest part of their descent. Lead guide Drew Ludwig and guide Gabi Benel took off before the rest of the team to help Warfighter Sports team mate Steve Martin negotiate the tricky slopes below the 14,200′ camp. Steve had injured his stumps on Friday, when they pushed hard in deep, loose snow to move up to the ridge at 16,200′. Walking on his injuries is very challenging and painful, so they left first, in order to give him the time necessary to make the 3,000′ descent to their lower camp.
A few of the guides climbed up to a spot where they had cached some gear a week ago at 16,200′ and retrieved their kit, so as to leave no trace of their passage on the mountain. That evening, the guides and the other Warfighter Sports team members all descended together on cold, frozen slopes to join Steve, Drew and Beni.
Spirits are high, and it sounds like the climb down from 14,200′ in the middle of the night was a spectacular one, as the full moon passed through the alpenglow of the Alaskan nighttime.