A journalist observes life in the far north.
Climbers at 14,000 feet bartered for food and toilet paper Saturday as they pondered the fates of about 14 other climbers pinned in 100 mph winds at a camp 3,000 feet above.
Alec said the Alpine Ascents Team I is OK, but having some problems with food and with their cook stoves. The park service was unable to reach several other teams at high camp and launched a search for some Japanese climbers after their tents were discovered empty with a journal inside.
Later, all of the teams at high camp but the Japanese team were accounted for. The story in the Anchorage Daily News says the two climbers, in their 20s, have been on the mountain since Apr. 7 and were last seen on May 9. High winds have hampered the search.
Details about an emergency stash of food and survival gear were passed onto the remaining teams.
Alpine Ascents Team I summited, by the way. Team II was unable to get into a favorable position to make a summit bid. Weather allowing, the Snow Dogs will probably descend Sunday to base camp and catch a plane out, Alec said. But he didn’t think they would fly for a few days. The final decision is resting on the shoulders of one climber who has mixed feelings about leaving.
Alec said the winds had died down to 30 mph as Saturday evening progressed. The Snow Dogs’ camp is surrounded by 7-foot snow walls.
Winds at 14,000 feet are supposed to diminish Sunday, but winds at the summit are predicted to continue into next week, according to the weather report.