May 23 West Buttress Team – Out of the “ping pong ball”

The May 23 team finally is coming out of the “ping pong ball”–a term common to Alaskan mountaineering, when you find yourself in a disorienting whiteout for an extended period of time, making travel nearly impossible. They have spent a day hunkered down in their tents, getting some extra rest to prepare them for the rigors of the route as they continue higher.

The team took advantage of a short window of clear weather, and backcarried to retrieve their cache at 9,500′ near Kahiltna Pass, and returned back to camp to practice their crampon and ice axe skills. As they continue up Motorcycle and Squirrel Hill, they will trade in their poles and snowshoes for crampons and their ice axe, as the route becomes steeper and more serious.  If the clear weather prevails for them, today they will likely make their way up the route to cache around Windy Corner to prepare for their move to Camp Three at 14,200′.

We didn’t catch the name of the climber who called in this update, so you if you have any insight, let us know in the comments!

Have a listen here:


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