Climber Daniel called in for the May 8 Team with the exciting news that after their first two days at Camp 3 14,200 ft (4328 m) the team successfully ascended the fixed lines on the Headwall yesterday. The Headwall refers to the section of the route with “fixed lines” running from 15,500 ft (4724 m) to 16,100 ft (4907 m). Climbing this with a heavy pack makes for one of the more strenuous days of the trip because of the steep terrain, heavy pack, and thinning air.
Our goal with this day is to cache supplies up on the ridge above us and return to down Camp 3 14,200 ft (4328 m). This aids the climbers in acclimatizing to the thinner air above so that when they do continue up the route they avoid altitude sickness. If you’ve ever experienced Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) or more extreme altitude-related illness you know it feels like the worst hangover of your life!
The only cure? Descending the route you’ve worked so hard to climb until you find a lower elevation at which your symptoms begin to subside. Therefore, guides and climbers on the West Buttress take every preventative measure possible on their way up. Work smarter, not harder, as they say!
The team managed this difficult day with ease, lots of stoke, and in high spirits. They safely returned to camp and will enjoy a well-deserved rest day tomorrow before making their move to Camp 4, weather permitting. Stay tuned!