Heather called in to report some exciting news. The team was feeling so strong that they decided to move right up to Camp 2 from Camp 1! Typically, teams will move in what we call “expedition style”. Which is when a team moves to camp, then the next day they choose some gear and supplies that they won’t need for a few days, and move to a “cache site” somewhere below their next camp. Once they get to this site (in this case, it is at 10,200′ (3108m)), they dig a meter deep hole in the snow, toss in the goods, and bury it with a mound of snow on top. They will mark this cache with a 6 foot bamboo wand with their team tag on it as well as a GPS point. Then they return to camp. Move to the higher camp the next day, and then the day after that will go back to get their cache. This allows teams to “climb high, and sleep low”, helping them acclimate. It also helps them split up their 110lb load between a few trips.
Not this team though! Like superheroes they skipped their cache day and went straight on to Camp 2 at 11,200′ (3413m). Along the way, they did still stop to make their cache and drop some gear to lighten their load for the last 1,000′ to Camp 2. They started their morning ascending 1,200′ (365m) up Ski Hill onto the rolling hills of the glacier above Ski Hill, below Kahiltna Pass. Their route takes them past their cache site and jogs to the climbers right onto a glacial base below some awe inspiring seracs (a block of ice among crevasses on a glacier, often in an ice fall or below a “hanging” glacier) at the base of Motorcycle Hill where Camp 2 lies. The team traveled 4 miles today and ascended 3,400′ (1036m). They plan to retrieve their cache today from their site at 10,200′ (3108m) and may spend some time reviewing technical skills like ice ax and crampon use, as soon they will be stashing their snowshoes and trading in for crampons as they continue to ascend the mountain.
Heather for the report! (Don’t forget to water the plants!)