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It is May 1st and the first time we’ve left our little safe zone consisting of our massive tent and two bomb shelters. It’s been a super clear day at our basecamp for Mount Hayes, Alaska. The sun is doing an excellent job of warming us up as we put on our harnesses. Our down booties are swapped for cold stiff ski boots and puffy pants for shells. Looping a kiwi coil around and a couple butterfly knots in the glacier rope put on the finishing touches and we are off.
The foot or so of soft wintery snow that we landed on yesterday is now replaced with a nice breakable crust on the surface. We crunch our way a half mile or so up the glacier to the toe of our route to inspect the snowpack and get a closer look at our proposed route on Mount Hayes.
We are getting excited about tomorrow. It’s going to be a big climb of about 8,000 vertical feet, camp to camp, but everyone is fit. We will spend a good portion of today dialing in our packing and preparing for a fight the next day or two. The route looks insanely fun and exciting and I think we are ready, but this is the Alaska Range, so who really knows for sure. Mount Hayes will let us know tomorrow!
Jordan White is a strong alpinist who finished skiing all 54 Colorado 14,000 foot peaks in 2009. He guides, tends bar, and lives the all-around perfect life in Aspen.