Mountain Trip guide Nicole Lawton called in from Camp 2 on Denali’s West Buttress route. She has reunited with the team, after making a quick lap to Base Camp yesterday, helping a climber catch a flight out of the Alaska Range. The team did a “backcarry” today, meaning they dropped down to the site of the previously cached supplies and carried the loads back up to Camp.
This was a pretty short day, as they had cached their supplies just 700′ (213 m) below Camp 2. The weather was a bit mixed, but they had some nice sun for part of the day. They capitalized on the good weather to review some of the mountaineering skills that each climber will need in the coming days. They slid downhill with their ice axes and performed “self arrests,” in which each climber used his or her axe to stop their slide. Nicole’s comment about no one getting hurt is regarding this practice session- sliding with an axe in hand can occasionally get crazy quick!
The team is doing great and they are eager to move higher on the route. Above Camp 2 is where the “real climbing” begins. They will don their crampons and climb a series of steep slopes, with ice axe in hand. The route to this point feels a bit more like the approach, and form now on, they will be climbing!