Denali Expedition: Hahn & Team Carry Above fixed lines, Descend to 14,200 Camp
Saturday, July 3, 2021 - 9:15 pm PT
There was still a big cloud cap on Denali this morning, but at 6AM the winds didn’t seem too bad. There were clouds in every other direction as well, but we were mostly looking up at the West Buttress as we ate breakfast and pondered a carry. It seemed worth a shot. We pulled the trigger and left camp just after 8 AM. It was colder this morning than it had been… not extremely cold, but colder than we’ve yet experienced on the trip. Our tracks -and anyone else’s- from yesterday were gone, so we had the added challenge of trail breaking in a few inches of new snow. Even so, we made steady progress upward. But the cloud cap made steady progress downward, so we were bound to come together. We were in murk and light but cold winds by the base of the fixed ropes. Which all made for a cold intro to climbing the steep, icy rope section. Thankfully, the winds were blowing from behind us and so we stepped into much needed calm at our destination, which was just perfectly in the lee and sheltered by the crest of the West Buttress. It was wonderful to hit our 16,200 ft target, but the clouds hid the grand views. We quickly cached supplies and geared up for a descent facing into the cool wind. A careful descent got us to 14,200 ft camp just as the sun came out there at 2:30 PM. The afternoon and evening were calm and easy with occasional snow showers. The storm is definitely easing, but of course they are predicting that another will follow. We’ll rest tomorrow in any case.
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July 4, 2021