The storm has passed, but the mountain is still not giving climbers a good opportunity to move high. It was still very, very cold today, with morning temperatures of -25F inside the climbers’ tents. Winds still blew plumes of snow off the ridge above the 14,200′ camp, so the West Rib team sat tight in camp and discussed their options.
Given the amount of new snow on the West Rib and the extreme cold that has just not relinquished its hold on the mountain, the climbers decided to shift gears and set their sights on attempting the summit via the West Buttress route. There is another storm in the forecast, with high winds predicted to hit the upper mountain tonight and tomorrow, which further eats into the time, food and fuel that the climbers’ have left. Given all those factors, they have opted to try to sneak in a summit early next week.
Ben Nowak picked up a shovel today and began digging. It’s easy to go stir-crazy when you have been stuck in the same camp for a week, and climbers tend to get creative. Ben dug a deep pit in the firm snow and had a nice ice bouldering session!
Both Ben and Sebastian are on today’s update from 14,20” on Denali.