Thursday, May 14, 2009
Leighan's group arrived at eh bottom of ski hill today. Today they did their heaviest day. They carried everything for their entire expedition with them today. That is just about 115 lbs. per person. For this move, where the terrain is relatively moderate they carry the majority of weight in the sleds (60%-65%) and the rest in their back packs. Going down heart break hill is often frustrating for most people. Dealing with the cumbersome sleds and rope tension between climbers can be hard at times. These guys spent an extra day in base camp going over all the techniques required to travel efficiently on the glaciers. Not to brag, but the AMS groups out there tend to have the least amount of trouble with all of this due to the attention to detail and the extra classes taught by the guides. We teach a few extra classes than most up there. It doesn't slow us down in doing so, if anything it speeds us up in the long run because all of our climbers end up being really dialed in.
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Here's the link to the SPOT message we got from them.
Here's a shot of some climbers on the 14K side of Windy Corner with Mt. Foraker and the lower mountain in clouds and weather. This is quite common, for the lower mountain and the upper mountain to have completely different weather.
This picture is the 11K side of Windy Corner in the Polo Field.
I'm fairly certain that Mark Postle's team has arrived at 14K. I received a SPOT message from them saying that all is well, but for some reason the Google Earth portion of the message is not coming through. I know they were packing up this morning to go.
Pictured here is a climber at the 17.2K lookout with an unsettled sky, taken by Brian Okonek.
Haven't heard from Pat or Melis. but that's not surprising at all. The move from 14 to 17 is pretty darn hard and long. Some people say it is harder than summit day. AND to top of the super long day as it is, as soon as you roll into camp, if you can't move into an already bomber camp, you have to start from scratch and build a snowy version of Fort Knox 'cause you never know when the weather is going to change. It is worth it every time to build huge walls before the storm shapes up than have to build walls while the storm is raging. I could tell you all sorts of storm stories from high camp, not to mention from all the other camps on this mountain.
They're most likely busy melting snow to re-hydrate everyone as well as fortifying camp.
12 day Mountaineering Course starts tomorrow. Advanced Mountaineering course just got back today. Nate and Kirk just flew out from their climbing trip. West Buttress Expedition packing as we speak and more starting the day after tomorow.