Chirs Kuelling called in on behalf of our May 13th West Buttress team on Denali. The crew made a big push up the steepest part of the route today, carrying loads of supplies to an airy perch at about 16,200′, where they deposited their loads in a cache on the ridge leading to High Camp.
They started out early, climbing moderate snow slopes for 1,400′ up above their camp. At roughly 15,600′, they reached the Headwall, a steep ice and snow slope that hits 45 degrees and climbs up another 600′ to the crest of a spectacular ridge. The team will follow this ridge up another thousand feet when they make their move up to High Camp.
Today’s climb took them up a series of “fixed lines,” ropes affixed to anchors buried in the snow at semi-regular intervals. The climbers, still roped together with their climbing ropes, clipped themselves into the fixed lines with “ascenders,” mechanical rope clamps. The ascenders are attached to each climbers’ harness, which adds protection against a slip when climbing such steep terrain.
After caching their supplies, they dropped back down the fixed lines to camp in the broad basin at 14,200′.