8 A.M. Good morning and good news. Report just in from Marisa, Connie, Jenn and Doc Susan, who spent a very cold night at base camp, huddled and cuddled in their tents. The rope teams started out at 30 minute intervals starting at 1:30 AM with the last team departing base camp at 3 AM. One climber remained at Hidden Valley nursing the affects of altitude and doing just fine. All others lightened their packs, strapped on their ice axes and crampons, put on their headlamps and headed up the West Face of the mountain. Everyone made it to at least 11,500 feet with one climber starting her descent as I write. Conditions are good – cold enough to give them a good kick in the ice and to motivate a strong, steady pace. The base camp gals can watch them with binoculars and can see one rope team at the crest of West Face - called the Saddle - about to make the turn toward Misery Hill. Dave Marchi, the guide of that team of 5 says they “are about to trade down parkas for sun screen” as they leave the shadows. The ‘dots’ of their sky blue Isis down parkas over their brick red shells are a reassuring sight to the crew following their ascent.
Stay tuned for posts as they come in.
Jeanne, Shannon and Jim drinking coffee in solidarity