Julian calls in from Camp 1 to report that the May 8 team successfully cached at 9,800 feet yesterday. Caching is an expedition style of climbing that allows teams to lighten their loads as well as acclimatize to the altitude. The team choses food, fuel, and gear that they won’t need for a couple days and carries these lighter (lighter than 110 pounds of full gear) packs to a higher elevation usually positioned in between the camp they are currently at and the camp they will move to next. Once a team gets to a cache site, they will take turns digging a meter-deep hole into the glacier, where they will stash selected items and burry with a heaping mound of snow on top. Once this is done, the cache will be marked by GPS and a six-foot-tall wand with the teams identifying name on the wand. (Can you imagine losing your cache in a sea of white? Don’t do that). Wands with team names also allows the park service to monitor the caches in case any are accidentally left behind and need to be disposed of. Burying the cache deeply serves two purposes: one is to protect food from clever ravens who love to steal mountaineers snacks, and the second is to prevent the cache from melting out before you return, especially lower down on the glacier.
Caching is also a way for the team to “climb high and sleep low.” This is a great way to help the body to acclimate to higher altitudes, and recover at night at a lower elevation. Julian reports that the team has a fantastic guide team and everyone is developing strong bonds already! Glad to hear it team. Keep it up!
Here’s Julian: Recording