Amy started off the conversation from the basin at 14,200′, before passing the satellite phone off to Daniel and Rob. The team was pretty much snowed in today, although they tried to push up to the ridge above them at one point. The route above camp climbs about 1400′ of moderate snow slopes before it reaches the steepest section of the West Buttress, a stretch often referred to as “The Headwall,” or the fixed lines.
The latter term comes from the fact that the guide services and the NPS work in conjunction to maintain two lengths of rope that are each affixed to the icy headwall at semi-regular intervals. These lines are known in climbing parlance as fixed lines, and climbers clip into them with mechanical devices called ascenders, which Rob refers to. Ascenders are sort of clamps that can slide in one direction, while locking off when pulled in the other direction. Tethered to a climbing harness, they can be slid up the fixed line, providing a climber with some protection in the event of a slip, as they will lock off when weighted.
Here is the report!