May 14 Team Backcarries to Windy Corner

Brett called in last night to update us from 14,200′ (4328m). The team likely slept in a bit before carrying mostly empty backpacks down to the Windy Corner cache site at 13,200′ (4023m). Upon arrival they dug out their cache and packed up their bags to ascend back to camp. They spent the day resting as well as training on how to use the fixed lines and pickets. Tomorrow they hope to put in a cache at 16,200′ (4937m). To get to the ridge at 16,000′ the team will need to ascend the fixed lines. The fixed lines are 600′ ropes affixed to a roughly (it changes) 50* slope every several meters using deep ice and snow anchors. The team will use ascenders which capture their progress as the ascend, so they will glide up the rope, but it will bite into it and do not allow the ascender to slide down the rope. This ascender is attached to each climbers harness. After the team reaches the ridge and traverses across some ways, they will eventually come to a portion called the Autobahn (above High Camp) which uses snow pickets hammered into the snow to anchor for the team. This requires a “running belay” and it takes some practiced technique to learn how to efficiently pass your knot past each snow picket. It is an important technique to practice to minimize delays which helps keep the team warm and moving. It is always good for climbers to practice all these skills with big mittens on as well, as frequently that is the situation they find themselves in and it is in their best interest to protect those digits!

Brett here for our report:


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1 Comment

  1. Food for thought; keep the greatness coming!
    “There’s no glory in climbing a mountain if all you want to do is to get to the top. It’s experiencing the climb itself – in all its moments of revelation, heartbreak, and fatigue – that has to be the goal.” Karyn Kusama

    Lots of folks in lower latitudes are cheering for you!!

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