Melis called today from high camp. She was very reluctant to get outside of her tent to walk to the edge of the world where she gets better cell reception. She said her pony tail was freezing in the sun today. It is well below freezing up there right now. Temps are hovering around minus 30 and never getting above o degrees f., even in the sun. By the time she did get up and out walking around and check in here everyone in the crew was out building and fortifying walls. She said everybody is eating and sleeping very well and all are excited to get a good window to head toward the summit. Perhaps tomorrow, perhaps they'll wait a bit longer for the perfect day. They have plenty of time, food and fuel.
Mike Janes also called in about 5 minutes ago. They did a back carry today to the 9,800 foot area. They too are doing great. He said the temps have been "blazing" during the day and "cool" at night. They are hoping top carry to 13,500 tomorrow if the weather permits.
The carry day to 13.5K is the first day the expedition is "transitioning" from the lower mountain to the upper mountain. We think of the expedition as 3 separate stages, to some degree. It's a cool feeling for those folks on the mountain when they get their first glimpse of the upper mountain. It really does feel like a different phase of their journey when they roll into 14K. The entire expedition, the climbers put into use all of the training they have undergone all winter. 14K and above puts into play all that same training plus all of the new things everyone has learned up to the day they leave for high camp. By the time these climbers leave 14K, they have been taught everything they need to know for the rest of the expedition including the toughest and most technical days which are yet to come.
If you enlarge this photo you can see a line of climbers heading toward 11K. and if you look even closer you can see a cluster of tents at the actual 11K camp. Just above the cluster of tents is Motorcycle Hill. Up and right is the buttress that comes down to meet the glacier and forms Windy Corner.
Tomorrow is Mother's day and Mike gave me a list of mothers whom they are all thinking about. He was calling from a sat phone so he didn't have time to spell them all for me, so forgive me if I mess up: Abby, Rose, Jannet, Krista, Barb, Dee, Lyn, Michelle, Marlys, Beth, Anne, Marry Ellen, Pat and Prissy. Happy Mothers Day!