Our May 7 Private Team was gifted with their first 2 consecutive clear weather days and made the most of their window! They were able to achieve their move from Camp 2 11,000 ft (3353 m) to the cache site above Windy Corner 13,000 ft (3962 m). Graeme reported that after ascending steep snow on Motorcycle Hill and Squirrel Hill, they arrived at their destination which was not windy, at all. “Where do all these names come from?!” We will do some digging on the origins of this and share any findings in a future next report.
This strenuous section of the climb offered the team beautiful views but, was challenging and forced the team to evaluate their trip progress after losing 5 of 7 of their “reserve days” during last week’s storms. The calculus used to make a decision to not continue higher on an expedition is different for every climber.
Graeme lost so many days due to weather before getting to Windy Corner that his range of options for climbing higher narrowed considerably. The margins for safely navigating the unforgiving terrain of the upper mountain are considerably narrower when a team has plenty of time, food, and fuel. Graeme, unfortunately, lost about a week’s worth of these essential supplies before he was able to get above 13,000 ft (3962 m). His description of “gracefully” turning back says it all.
Strong work, Graeme!