Grant Maughan called in today’s update from the beautiful 11,200′ camp. The team slept in a bit this morning, ate a hearty breakfast and then actually dropped downhill to start their work day.
A couple of days earlier, they had deposited a cache of supplies below this camp, when they made their first “double carry” of the expedition. Today, they descended to retrieve all that kit. It took them only about a half hour to reach the cache site, where they dug into the snow to uncover their supplies. Each climber then loaded his or her share of the kit into a backpack and onto a sled for the trip back up to Camp 2.
The hike back to camp took a bit over an hour, leaving the team plenty of time left to review some of the skills that they might need to have at the ready in the coming days.
Tomorrow, they will climb a 1000′ hill right out of camp. Motorcycle Hill is the first place that they will need to wear crampons, steel spikes that affix to each climber’s boots. These provide traction and security on steep, icy slopes. Often, the route immediately above Motorcycle Hill can be windswept and very firm. There are a couple of steep sections, that drop off towards the climbers’ left, culminating with a precipice dropping thousands of feet down to the Peters Glacier. Careful route selection and travel techniques help mitigate the chances of a climber sliding off the edge, but numerous water bottles will take the plunge over the course of the climbing season!
The goal for tomorrow will be to carry loads up and around a steep ridge line called Windy Corner, to a level bit of glacier at around 13,500′. It is a tough day, with big loads, so let’s keep our fingers crossed for good conditions.