Mountain Trip guide Brian Muller called in an update on the May 8th West Buttress team, who were able to move up to Camp 1 at 7,800′ with heavy loads of gear.
Their day of climbing began relatively clear with clouds still obscuring the majority of the mountains, but the weather grew increasingly overcast as the day went on. The team hasn’t had good visibility since they arrived, which is common on the lower mountain below the cloud layer that typically hangs at around 10,000′. Today (5/11). to cache at Kahiltna Pass at around 10,500′, which might put them above the clouds for a better view of the awe-inspiring terrain around them. The snow is forecasted to continue throughout the day.
The team will spend a good deal of their time on the mountain caching supplies on the route, which entails carrying gear that they will not use on the lower mountain (such as crampons, ice axes, heavy summit mittens, etc) and supplies (like food and fuel) and burying them in water-resistant bags deep in the snow, flagging them, and marking them with a waypoint on their GPS system to be retrieved later on in the expedition, enabling them to move from camp to camp without the full load of all of their equipment. Later on, the team will also have “back carry” days, where they will head back down from higher camps to retrieve these buried caches.
Here’s Brian with the update: