Mountain Trip guide Jason Denley called in with an update on the May 29 Denali West Buttress team, who have had a busy couple of days moving camp, and retrieving those caches.
For those at home who may not be familiar with the term, to hike back down to a cache (gear, food and supplies that will be used later on further up the route, which are left behind to lighten heavy loads) and retrieve it to bring it back up to camp is called a “back carry.” Back carries and caching are cornerstones of expedition-style climbing. They allow the team to bring a sufficient amount of gear and food to spend three weeks on the route living in relative luxury. Eating great meals of real food, cooked and served hot is a huge morale booster after a long, hard day out in the snow and the elements; same goes for having that fresh, clean base layer to change into that you left in your cache to lighten your load.
While teams have been struggling with cold temperatures, wind and snow for the past couple of weeks, it now seems that they’re battling against the sun. Although the temperatures only reach freezing or a bit above at the hottest point of the day, the glacier reflects light and a strenuous day in strong sun can be almost as exhausting as a long day in the cold.