June 7 West Buttress Team – Tacos at Camp 2

With a belly full of pulled pork tacos, Stephane Mayer called in to give us a quick update from 11,200′ (3414m), the site of our June 7th team’s Camp 2.  They rested today and reviewed some skills that the team will need to have at the ready for the coming days. Stephane reports that the weather is beautiful, with just some light snow.

Yesterday, they climbed about 4.5 miles up the Kahiltna Glacier to the very start of the 40-mile long river of ice.  Camp was established in a stunning setting, with tents set up in a relatively small bowl, ringed by steep snow and ice cliffs on three sides, with the western aspect opening to afford views out across the tundra stretching to the horizon.

The team called in a report yesterday, but unfortunately it was too garbled to be intelligible.  At such far northern latitudes, satellite phones need a good view to the south to function well, and the team’s view southward is of massive seracs or ice cliffs.

Tomorrow, the plan is to carry loads up and around the infamous Windy Corner, a prominent feature of the West Buttress.  They will try to make a cache of supplies at about 13,500′ (4145m), by digging a deep hole in the snow and burying a portion of their supplies before returning to Camp 2.  This will enable them to ease into higher altitudes somewhat and also lessen their heavy loads by carrying roughly half of their kit at a go.  We often call this strategy “making a carry” or “double carrying.”

Here is Ste[phane:

recording

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