Will Devries called in after the team carried loads from Camp 1 to 18,000′, the site of their second camp above Plaza Argentina. Everyone did great and the team is in great spirits. Carrying loads or “making a carry,” in climber-speak achieves two ends – first, it helps enable teams to move the large quantity of supplies needed to spend an extended period of time on a mountain, and second – it helps climbers acclimatize.
By climbing to a higher elevation, but then returning to sleep at a lower elevation, climbers give their bodies a taste of a new altitude, provoking the body to start to respond in a manner that will help it acclimatize. Sleeping generally results in lower rates of respiration, which is the nemesis to acclimatization, so spending a night lower, after climbing high, lessens the risk that the body will essentially over react to the new altitude and tip into a form of altitude sickness (apologies to all with a deeper understanding of altitude physiology for that gross over simplification!). Climb high and sleep low is an age-old adage for high altitude climbers.
Tomorrow, they will pack up camp and head up to “Chopper Camp,” so named for the wreckage of a Llama helicopter that crashed above camp decades ago. It is a beautiful setting and the location opens up views to the north of peaks feeding the Gussfeldt Glacier, which borders the mountain.