West Rib Team Cached at 13,500′

Seba Grau called from the basin camp at 11,200′ this evening.  The team carried loads up another 2300′ and cached their supplies on the uphill side of a feature known as Windy Corner.  This is a steep ridge of rock that drops down to the glacier and can channel wind around in a fashion that can be a real show stopper.  The team had pretty good weather today, when they went around the Corner, and they were able to bury their cache just where they wanted it.

denali squirrel hill

A Mountain Trip team descends Squirrel Hill, with the West Buttress towering in the background.

The day started with a 1000′ climb up snow slopes at the eastern edge of the basin.  Known as Motorcycle Hill, this is the first “real climbing” on the route.  They used crampons and ice axes as the ascended the hill, which led them to a series of even steeper climbs, collectively known as Squirrel Hill.  Above those slopes, they traversed under the rocky crags of the West Buttress until they reached Windy Corner.  Making a hard left turn, they passed under the rocks at the Corner, traveling on a fairly steep side hill, until they reached the flat glacier on the far side.  They cached not too far past Windy Corner.

Tomorrow, they will load up their packs with all their camping gear and move up to a huge basin known as Genet Basin, the site of Advanced Base Camp for both the Upper West Rib and the West Buttress routes.  They will spend a number of nights at 14,200′, acclimatizing and stocking the upper camp of the West Rib, before making a decision as to how to proceed.

Here’s Seba!

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