Jonathan Sugarman called in from the beautiful basin camp at 11,200′. He made two attempts to call, but the steep walls of the basin to the south make it very difficult to get a satellite signal from their location. Our teams carry radios that enable them to communicate with other Mountain Trip teams on the mountain much more readily than they can using sat phones at this extreme northern latitude.
The team made a carry up and around Windy Corner today, which was the toughest day of their trip thus far. Jonathan sounded pretty chipper, so I suspect they had a good day, and enjoyed wearing crampons for the first time on their expedition. The day stated with a climb up Motorcycle Hill, which rises almost 1000′ right out of camp. A couple more hills provide engaging climbing, with stunning views of some massive rocky faces that drop off the West and Northwest Buttresses, to the climbers’ left.
A long, gently rising hike leads to another steep climb up to Windy Corner, which was probably more like “Calm Corner” when the crew passed it. Windy Corner is a steep ridge that drops off the West Buttress and tends to be a wind magnet for any breeze that passes near the south face of the mountain. Just past this feature, the team dug into the snow and buried their supplies that they will retrieve two days from now, weather permitting.
Placing this cache of gear provides a couple of benefits. It enables the climbers to move roughly half their total “stuff” up, rather than attempt to move it all at once, and it also helps their bodies ease into the thinner air of the next camp’s elevation, because they got a taste of it, yet dropped back down to 11,200′ to sleep for the night.
Here are two calls that Jonathan placed, neither of which is very intelligible, but I’ll leave them in the hopes that some of his friends or family will appreciate hearing even a snippet of his voice from high on that big, cold mountain.