Lead Guide Sebastian Grau called in after the West Rib team continued to build their foundation of acclimatization with a hike up to 17,200′. They packed up and took off out of the 14,200′ Camp, hiking up moderate snow slopes that led them to the Headwall, a 600 foot stretch of the West Buttress route that is the steepest section of the route. This slope is protected by the use of “fixed lines,” ropes that are affixed to the ice at semi-regular intervals. They used ascenders (one-directional clamps) to secure themselves to the lines for additional protection on their ascent.
The team made great time climbing up the lines and out the stunningly pretty ridge above. It took them only six hours round trip to make it to Hoigh Camp and back to the big 14,200′ camp. The weather up high was quite good, despite the forecast for a serious storm, the arrival of which seems to have delayed a bit. Back in camp, they continued to fortify their encampment. Three of the four on the team are engineers, so by all accounts, they have a heck of a well designed camp!