March 29, 2010
We had a great summit day! The route was in excellent condition and the weather was very good – a bit windy and cold, but mostly good.
The team departed high camp at 12,000 feet about an hour before sunrise. Unfortunately, one member elected to remain back in camp due to a knee injury. The rest of the team climbed well and we made good time up to Iceberg Lake just before dawn. We climbed up into the Mountaineers’ Gulley finding good firm conditions up to 35 degrees in angle. At the “Notch”, the top of the gulley at 14,000 feet, the team rested while the guides fixed the climbing ropes for the final thee rope lengths of steeper terrain. The first section included some rock scrambling, the second pitch was moderate snow and the third pitch was up to 55 degrees in steepness, but good step kicking in soft snow. The team all topped out by approximately 11:30 a.m. We all enjoyed the view up on top, rested and ate lunch, then were lowered by the guides back down to the notch. This was perhaps the busiest I have ever seen the route, it seems to be growing in popularity this time of year. As usual, the different climbing parties were friendly and worked together to minimize congestion. We did our part by assisting two individuals descend to the notch.
Conditions were as good as I have seen them on the route this year, snow conditions were generally excellent and the weather was perfect.
I head back up again on our climb starting April 1 and can’t wait.