Top Photo: Brian Okonek's looking up toward 14K with the headwall on the left (sun shade line) and the rescue gully to the right of that.
Second Photo: Chef Melis serving up the last burrito for the night before she starts melting more snow for hot drinks and to fill all water bottles and pots to be ready for the morning routine.
Melis called down this evening. Melis's crew as well as the folks from the "F" team are all in 14K. Melis's group ended up taking a rest day at 11K instead of moving up when she had thought she would. They are all doing great she said. A few headaches but that's it. They were all shoveling and working really hard. They just need to drink a bit of water and they'll be just like new. As you all know I'm sure, all of the water that everyone drinks up there comes from melting snow. They pound as much water as they can in the morning, usually in the form of hot drinks, and they start the day off with two full liters of water in their packs. They need to make that water lasts all day, they also need to make sure that it doesn't freeze. The best way to do that is to pack it in your pack as close to the heat of your back as possible but not too close to the top of the load.
She says that they have had splitter (perfect) weather the whole time, she's a little nervous because of that. They are going to head out to the edge of the world tonight or tomorrow morning I think. They are going to make a carry tomorrow she said. I'm not sure exactly how that's going to work since I didn't hear her mention anything about picking up their cache that they made while they were at 11K. I'll find out about that soon if I remember to ask. It is cold up there right now, I know that.
She did say that the trail from the cache site at 13.5K was direct to 14K this season. And it is only taking an hour or less from there to 14K. I also heard that the conditions from 11K to 14K are perfect. Perfect neve. Great snow for cramponing. No sinking in and wasting energy post holing.
My buddy from the the "F" team, who came out this morning, said that the rest of his crew is super strong. I heard that they are constantly looking for things to do. When many people would just be relaxing or recovering, those guys are preparing for the next day, digging trenches, making bigger walls and still wanting more chores to do. Sometimes you have to be up there with no schedule or timeline and be willing to change plans frequently. You might go to bed with plans of meeting for hot drinks and breakfast at 0600 hrs only to be told that the weather is not conducive to doing anything and to go back to bed and wait for the weather to improve. People who are used to very difinitive timelines like more direction. Jason said that it was pretty funny how everyone was adapting. They are all having a good time and everyone is strong. I have not heard from them directly yet, so I'm just updating based on Melis's observations.
more when i know more.