Lead Guide Joe Butler called in after the team took an active rest day yesterday and a full rest day today. The team slept in yesterday, as there was no reason to awaken before the sun came around the mountain and warmed their tents. They had a big breakfast and dropped back to the uphill side of Windy Corner to retrieve the cache they had buried a couple days ago. About an hour of hiking saw them back at Camp 3, fully provisioned!
Today was a planned rest and acclimatization day. The 14,200′ elevation of Camp 3 is a good one for building acclimatization, so they plan to spend 4+ nights at this elevation. They practices some of the skills that they will need to use on the upper mountain, such as passing anchors while moving together on a rope (running belays) and how to efficiently ascend a fixed line. There is a bit over 600′ of rope affixed to the icy surface of the steepest section oft he West Buttress. Those “fixed lines” are attached at semi-regular intervals with anchors and climbers attach an “ascender,” a climber term for a rope clamp, to the fixed ropes to provide additional security against slippage.
The plan is to head up the fixed lines tomorrow, if weather permits. They will carry loads of supplies up onto a beautiful ridge that runs from 16,200′ to High Camp at 17,200′. This will help their acclimatization, ease their loads when they move high and give them a trial run on the actual fixed lines. The crew is pretty excited about heading up!
Here is Joe!