Listening to this recording really warmed my heart. It is so nice to hear the wild rounds of laughter coming from a team cook tent. Everyone here is sitting on snow benches, probably wearing their down booties and down jackets. Not what your typically comfortable dinner looks like, but it is easy to tell the camaraderie on this team is of serious quality. Regardless of having a big day on the mountain, the moral is clearly still high, and I hope this team enjoys their rest day a little extra.
Alright back to our usual programming. Yesterday this team climbed up a somewhat steeper slope known fondly as the Bunny Hill. At the top of this hill, at roughly 15,000′ (4572m) they arrived at the bottom of the fixed lines. These are two 600′ ropes, one for ascending and one for descending, permanently anchored into the snow. They are anchored at the top, and every several meters along the whole length of the rope. Each climber has an ascender tied to the belay loop on their harness. This ascender is then attached to the fixed line. An ascender is progress capture device that allows climbers to move up the rope, but when pulled down unexpectedly its teeth with deploy into the rope and prevent a fall. It takes a couple of hours to navigate the length of these ropes. At the top, the team found themselves on the ridge at 16,200′ (4937m) surrounded by some astounding views. They ascended a little higher to their cache site at 16,800′ (5120m).
A 2021 team at the top of the fixed lines
Here’s Josh and the crew!