Adam Smith called in from high camp, following a long night of maintaining their tents under the relentless pressure of Mother Nature. It “snowed and blowed” last night and the team awoke at regular intervals to dig their tents out from the accumulating flakes. The sun came out in the morning, however, and they enjoyed a much more pleasant day at the 17,200′ elevation.
The route up from high camp crosses a short section of what is known as accumulation zone, at the very top edge of the Peter’s Glacier, before climbing somewhat steeply onto a long snowy face that is crossed via a rising traverse. Known in the dark humor of Alaskan climbing as “The Autobahn,” this stretch demands respect. The guides have assessed the newly fallen snow on that stretch as posing some degree of avalanche hazard, and so they are planning to give it at least another day to settle out, before venturing onto the Autobahn. They still have time left on their planned schedule and everyone is doing well, so they’ll just sit tight and let things mellow out a bit.
Here is Adam Smith, calling from 17,200′: