The May 6th team called in to report that they had a great day carrying loads up Motorcycle Hill and Squirrel Hill the steepest sections of the route to date, and successfully cached them on the far side of the notorious Windy Corner. It was a warm day, with clear skies and HUGE views (hard not to say that in my head without a certain New York accent these days!)
The team awoke moderately early, so that they could climb the steep Motorcycle Hill in the shade. This was the first day that they climbed using crampons and ice axes, which makes it feel like a transition from the approach to the mountain, to actually climbing it. The route above Motorcycle Hill winds its way up a couple of steeper sections, and in and out of some rocks, which adds to the excitement.
Topping Squirrel Hill, above the rocky bits, the team made a long, gradual ascent along the base of the West Buttress proper. Steep rocky ridges and aretes sweep upwards for thousands of feet, bisected with equally steep snow gullies or couloirs. At the far end of the traverse, they passed around a prominent steep ridge that dropped down the the glacier known as Windy Corner. This is a section where wind passing across the entire south face of Denali picks up speed as it careens around the granite outcrop of the Corner. It can be so burly that climbers simply cannot get past it at times. Today, however, it was a pleasant hike in the hot sun, giving the team the opportunity to gaze up, up and up at the intricate threads of rock and snow that make Denali such a complex mountain.
OK, let’s play a game!
It’s called – Name That Voice!
Here is __________ calling in from 11,200′ on Denali. Please post comments to help me fill in the blank!