Climber Jake Wheeler called in for the Mountain Trip May 22 Denali West Buttress expedition, who are currently camped out at 11-Camp, awaiting better weather along with several other Mountain Trip teams.
The team spent their day back carrying, or hiking back down the route to retrieve their cache of food and supplies buried beneath the snow at around 10,500′, and brought it all back up to camp. Back carrying is an important part of expedition-style climbing, as it allows teams to bring a great deal of gear and supplies without the strain of having to carry everything at once, and without the stress of having to make the summit in a short amount of time before their food runs out.
After returning to camp, the team took another short hike to get some additional practice with their crampons and ice axes, which will be essential tools on the route once they climb higher on the mountain. These skills will be essential for more exposed areas of the route above 14-Camp, including the section of fixed-lines and the summit ridge of “The Great One.”
Jake noted that most teams are currently camped at either 11-Camp or 14-Camp, and are waiting for better weather to push on higher up the mountain and hopefully make the summit. Snow, fog, and high winds continue to plague the mountain, especially at High Camp and above.
Tomorrow the team plans to hike up around the infamous Windy Corner, and to continue to wait for a weather window to progress up the route.
Here’s Jake with the update (and a shout out to family):