May 22 West Buttress Team – Snowy Day at 14,200′ (4328m)

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!


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  1. Amy and the rest of the team,
    You guys are making such good progress, even with the bouts of stormy weather! It wouldn’t be the true Denali experience without that weather. It is interesting to think of you guys up on that beautiful yet unforgiving mountain, sleeping in tents, as i sit in the comfort of home and listen to your reports. It makes me want to get back to the mountains!! Keep up the good spirits and good work!

  2. Amy, good to hear your voice again. I also looked at the June 6 report but it will not open for comments so I am writing this on the 7th. Nice of the team to acknowledge D-Day at 70 years. Gary’s Dad was in the war then and he turned 99 on Monday! Looks like you are Miss Congeniality since so many comments are directed to you. I see Mark commented and that you Mom is following your ascent. And the boys are where???? Hope they are following you since they both were with you on Everest.

    Looks like the snow is now finally letting you move up to within striking distance of summiting. Will be following you with lots of good thoughts and encouragement.

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