May 13 West Buttress Team – Exercising Patience

Mountain Trip Guide Karl Welter called in from 14,200′ (4330m).  The team took a hike today to a spot on the edge of the basin in which they are camped that afforded them some amazing views down into the Northeast Fork of the Kahiltna Glacier, a tributary glacier also known as “The Valley of Death.”  Known as “The Edge of the World,” they could scramble out on some granite outcrops and peer thousands of feet down into the deeply crevassed glacier and across at the neighboring West Kahiltna Peak, with its numerous bands of seracs poised to fall into the valley below.  It is a beautiful place to view from above!

The team is experiencing one of the hardest parts of expedition climbing, something often called the “hurry up and wait program.”  Temperatures up high have been very, very cold and gusty winds combine to make wildchills that are below the team’s risk tolerance at the moment.  As they still have plenty of time, they are going to monitor conditions above and try to time their push to High Camp to coincide with a lull in the wind.

Patience can be difficult at times, but it is the prudent course of action, given the extreme temperatures occurring on the upper mountain.  In the meantime, they had a lunch of pizza today, in what has to be one of the world’s highest pizza joints – Pablo’s Pizza Tent.

Here’s Karl:

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  1. Great to hear your voice, Karl. We’re thinking of you and your team daily and are buoyed by hearing other MT trips are having success and you have time for the right weather to come your way. Good pizza and high spirits on Top of the World! D&K

  2. Ahhh, wonderful to hear you are all doing well and hear the strong spirit in your voice, Karl! Thanks for the sweet shout-out to us. Sending positive thoughts your way for good weather and a safe ascent and descent. Love you to the top of the world and back, Mom

  3. Chris – thinking of you all Memorial Day Weekend while we were stomping around a muddy field high up in the Blue Ridge Mountains listening to Bluegrass. I checked the topo map and were were at a staggering 817 ft. I could feel the HAPE creeping in each time I lifted my ice cold Modelo. Fortunately the generator on the RV saved us and ran all weekend. Godspeed brother – can’t wait to see you and hear about this first hand.

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