Taking advantage of good weather on Denali’s mid-mountain, the members of our June 17th West Buttress team climbed up the steepest part of the route to put a cache in on the ridge leading to High Camp. Departing Camp 3, they climbed up 1200′ of moderate snow slopes to reach the base of The Headwall, a 600′ stretch of steep snow and ice that tips back to 45 degrees in steepness.
This stretch is protected by ropes affixed to anchors buried in the ice, to which climbers attach themselves with ascenders, which are essentially clamps that will slide up the rope, but clamp down when weighted. Ascenders, tethered to climbers’ harnesses, afford them additional security in the event of a slip. Topping out above The Headwall, they climbed up another 200′ of rock and snow ridge before burying their cache of supplies.
Back down in Camp 3, they are now provisioned and ready to pit themselves against the upper mountain. In the coming days, they will retrace their climb up The Headwall, pass their cache and continue up to Denali’s High Camp at 17,200′, in preparation for their summit bid!