Andrew updates us from 14,200′ (4328m) yesterday. The team moved from Camp 2 at 11,200′ (3413m) to Camp 3 at 14,200′ (4328m). Getting to Camp 3 is an exciting part of the expedition. Now the team is set up to plan their bid for the summit. They will backcarry today to grab their cache from Windy Corner. They will take a day to make another cache at the top of the fixed lines at 16,200′ (4937m). Then when they have the right window, usually of about 3 days at least of good weather, they can move to High Camp at 17,000′ (5191m) and attempt the summit from there. Teams want to avoid moving to High Camp unless they can be there for ideally just 2 nights with a summit bid in between, or less, it is not a comfortable place to hang out for very long. So that is why being at Camp 3 is so key, now they are poised and ready to mount their attack! It is possible for teams to hang here longer than other camps due to waiting for this “perfect” window.
Camp 3 also offers spectacular views of Mount Foraker and Mount Hunter. It sits in what is called Genet Basin below the Messner Couloir, Rescue Gully, and the Orient Express. Some huge couloirs, or rock gullies, descending down from the summit to Camp 3 below. The edge of this basin is known to climbers as “The Edge of the World” because of its sudden drop to the Northeast Fork of the Kahiltna Glacier (remember, this is where our team started their journey!). It drops of a dramatic 6,000′ (1828m) from 14,200′ (4328m) to the Northeast Fork below. The team will find much cooler temps up here and possibly higher winds than they did on the lower mountain. This time of year, camp can be shaded in the morning for a while before the sun finally pokes out from behind the West Buttress and warms the climbers below. This is also where the Park Rangers set up a medical station for emergencies.
A fabulous view of Camp 3 below, taken by a 2021 Mountain Trip team.