Our guide Jesse Wright called in from 14,200 feet (4328 m), the site of their Camp 3. This is a camp at which they will spend a number of nights, so it is often viewed as the “Advanced Base Camp” on the West Buttress route.
The team departed Camp 2 at around noon, climbing up Motorcycle Hill and onward up the firm snow of Squirrel Hill for another several hundred feet. This put them right near the base of the West Buttress proper, which drops down to the climbing route in a series of steep couloirs (gullies) interlaced with dark granitic rocks. One such rocky prow drops down to the route and forms Windy Corner, which was not living up to it’s name today, thankfully. The route makes a hard 90 degree turn around the corner and then ascends alongside a short glacier, which starts in a broad basin and literally drops off a cliff into the Northeast Fork of the Kahiltna Glacier. Such glaciers are known as “hanging glaciers” and form rugged and steep ice cliffs that calf off chunks of ice.
The broad basin is known as Genet Basin and it is the site of the team’s Camp 3. They spent some additional time fortifying their camp, as this location is prone to being hammered by high winds on occasion. Jesse reports that it is very cold at Camp 3, so let’s think warm thoughts for our team!!