Cache and Carry!

Lots of activity on the mountain as good weather is holding! It looks like they will have a storm front moving in, but significant storms are not expected. If the weather is good, and the team is feeling good, they will continue to push forward! **Late update on 5/27–Looks like they will take a rest day tomorrow*

Yesterday (May 26th) PB+J retrieved their cache from 13,300 feet on their “active rest day”. While a rest day sounds nice, these active rest days usually consist of a lot of chores– the biggest being getting to the previous cache and carrying it back up.  Besides that, it is important to fortify their snow walls, eat lots of calories (which can be hard at high elevation) and melt pots of snow to use as drinking and cooking water.

Progress can be seen leading to the current cache point around 16,400 feet.

Today, because weather patterns were holding, they carried gear up to cache around 16,400 feet.  Wow. Thats a lot of gain! (Camp 3 is at 14,200 feet, meaning they did about 2,000 feet in gain). While up there, they did some exploring of the exposed ridge line.

To get to their caching point, they have to ascend a steep headwall that is at an angle of about 50 degrees, and spans 800 feet. This area has fixed lines, meaning there are permanent ropes set up for climbers to use.  This increases safety for the climb and might reduce the gear needed by teams.

Camp 3 has been cold, I have gotten reports from Jason of temperatures at 20 below zero when the sun set!  I would not want to be that cold. Brrr!

You can see the caching point between Camp 3 and the Summit. The ridge line is followed to 17,200 where High Camp is located.


3 Replies to “Cache and Carry!”

    1. They are making remarkable progress and following the dictate that when the weather is good you move because it will so change and you won’t be able to.
      That they have a cache at the top of the fixed lines is very good news only 8 days into their climb!
      In fact, if a storm forces a “rest” day now, it may be for the best as they’ll have time to acclimate a bit more in preparation for a push to the top.
      It will be interesting to see if the weather pattern re-establishes a more “normal” pattern of 1 -3 nice days followed by deterioration over 1 -2 days, then storms for 1 -3 days, then clearing the following day: wash, rinse, repeat.

  1. The climb from high camp to the summit is not technically difficult, but it can be exposed and once past Denali past the winds can really whip. The “technical” bit is getting to Denali pass, after that the slope decreases considerably and at one point (“the football field”) is nearly flat – just before the summit crown. Conditions must be close to perfect to proceed beyond Denali Pass for even if it isn’t terribly steep or technical, it is exposed. A party camped next to us in `05 got an early start and turned back at Denali pass due to the wind, whereas the day before we had none. Our round trip to the top and back from high camp was (if I remember correctly) 10+ hours. If the temps during the day are much below zero and there is even a little wind, that makes it pretty rough to hang out up high for too long as you can feel yourself deteriorating. Best of luck to them, but being safe is job #1. Can’t wait to see the photos and hear the stories.

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