The gear successfully cached at 13,300 ft on Tuesday, the team took a rest day on Wednesday at the 11,200 camp. Resting is a loose term – the team spent the day charging batteries using the intense sun, eating, playing cards, eating, drinking water, acclimating and, did I mention eating?
Today, the team carried all their gear from 13,300 to the 14,000 camp. It was a physcial day that was made a bit easier by some light cloud cover which broke some of the intense sun. When I spoke to the team this evening, it was lightly snowing. Mike mentioned that they were considerin carrying to 16,300 tomorrow then huddling up with an eye to the sky.
From here on out, the route gets shorter, but the vertical feet distance increases. So steeper but shorter. The team will continue to progess but acclimating time will be spent brushing up on their fixed line skills and clipping the rope through fixed protection. Mountain Trip (the guiding company) offered a great summary of what this means on their site…
“Fixed lines are put up by the National Park Service to safeguard a particular steep and icy slope, so the team will clip into the rope with ascenders which help safeguard any slips on the ascent or descent. Protection is gear placed in either rock, snow or ice that will allow the rope teams to move together but still stay connected to the mountain should someone take a fall. Learning to efficiently clip through the gear (we call it running pro) in a variety of conditions will help keep everyone safe, conserve movement and keep the move days to a reasonable amount of time.” (Thank you Mountain Trip!)
The team sounded positive, strong and happy to be at the next level.They are slightly ahead of schedule, but the Alaska weather might have different ideas. How can you help? Send your best good weather thoughts to Denali.