May 8 Team Carries Up The Headwall

Julian Howe called in a great dispatch with an Anniversary message to his wife. On behalf of the entire Mountain Trip Family – Happy Anniversary to the Howes!!! 

The team took advantage of amazing weather to carry loads up to the spectacular ridge that is the West Buttress. They climbed up moderate snow for about 1,400 feet to a point where the snow and glacier that form Genet Basin lull away from the much steeper and icier terrain leading to the ridge. There is a crevasse known as a bergschrund that delineates the point where the “accumulation zone” of the glacier transitions to the steeper ice that tends to slough snow off it and down into the basin.

There is about 600 feet of fixed line that drops from the crest of the ridge to below the bergschrund. Fixed line is rope that is affixed to the surface of the ice at semi-regular intervals with deeply buried anchors. The climbers clip ascenders (purpose built unidirectional rope clamps) onto the rope for security. Their ascenders are tethered to their climbing harnesses and slide easily up the fixed line. If a climber should slip, the ascender will bite into the line and not slide downward, effectively protecting each climber from the possibility of a fall.

The fixed lines are currently in great shape and the team made relatively short work of climbing up onto the ridge. They climbed a bit further up the ridge and made their last cache of their expedition, at an elevation of roughly 16,400 feet. They then descended the fixed lines and hiked back to camp for a well-earned dinner.

Here’s Julian!


climbers on denali headwall

Climbers from a Mountain Trip team in 2021 navigate the bergschrund and start op the fixed lines.

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1 Comment

  1. Woohoo. Fabulous message and to hear how well it’s going. Thank you for our shouts too! The boys did enjoy hearing their dad 😀

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