Lead guide Ty calls in to update us all from Camp 2 at 11,200′ (3413m) last night. Leaving Camp 2 the West Buttress route starts to get a bit more fun! The terrain becomes steeper and a little more demanding. It requires that teams ditch their snowshoes and don their crampons, with ice ax in hand. First they will climb up Motorcycle Hill which rises about a mile above Camp 2. Once they top out here, they will climb up Squirrel Hill–named for the rabid Denali squirrels that scamper about here. Just kidding, there’s no squirrels on the glacier. At the top of Squirrel Hill they find themselves on the Polo Field, an upsloping expanse of the glacier leading to Windy Corner. One last hill to climb lands the team at the base of Windy Corner, where the granite wall of the west buttresses rises prominently on climbers left. The namesake of this spot comes from the way the wind whips around this granite wall through the route as it continues below. Just pass Windy Corner is a flat area of the glacier where teams can put in their cache, chipping into the wind buffed snow.
Ty reports a glorious day for putting in the cache with not even a whisper of wind. The team enjoyed some glacier style ice cream, where fresh snow is whipped with some cream and sugar into a refreshing concoction that makes Baskin Robins reconsider their recipes.
A 2021 team rounding Windy Corner