Day 1 - Arrive on the Quintino Sella Glacier on the US/Canada border (the American airstrip), and travel to Camp 1 (Canadian Airstrip). Stop 2km short due to late time and cold, establish camp early. 8km, 300m climbed, 50m skied.
Day 2 - Continue past the Canadian airstrip, speak briefly with a team of four Canadians from Revelstoke, Nelson, and McBride. These folks brought enough food to fill several plastic trunk-bins - when we began to descend, they were digging into the plateau to wait out the storm and go for the summit. Another team nick-named them the "40-days, 40-nights" team for how much supplies they had. I think they likely succeeded. Cache 1/2 supplies at 2900m, continue to Camp 2 (King's Trench Camp) at 3250m. 8km, skied 150m, climbed 500m.
Rejoined "Team Quebec," three french-canadian climbers with a french-canadian guide, who become our neighbors and co-conspirators for the remainder of the climb.
Day 4 - Rest day. Introduce the team to cheesy bagels.
Day 5 - Carry 1/2 supplies to Camp 3 (King's Col Camp) at 4110m. 12km RT, 860m climbed and skied.
Day 6 - Move to C3. 6km, 860m climbed.
Day 7 - Rest day. Meet Hans Kammerlander and Marcus Neumair, two South Tyrolian climbers. Kammerlander has climbed all 14 8000 meter peaks, the 7 Summits, and then the 2nd 7 Summits, but accidentally climbed to the West Summit (12 meters lower) in 2010. When his mistake became news in the media, he had to come back and tag the true top, which he and Marcus succeeded on 23 May. They were looking fit and strong, and after digging up their cache continued down the mountain. They introduced themselves only as Hans and Marcus, and it wasn't until later that we learned we were speaking to Kammerlander (he kind of a big deal).
Day 8 - The weather is starting to deteriorate, but we are able to carry a load up to Camp 4 (Football Field) at 4840m. This, we realize, is the beginning of the "real climbing", with a route that wind's its way through two serac section and across one spooky series of crevasses. 6km RT, 730m climbed and skied.
Day 10 - Rest day. Met a team of 4 Swiss, who had flown in two days ahead of us. They reached the West Summit the same day the Tyrolians had climbed to the East Summit, and were happy enough for their accomplishment. They had enough of the cold and were moving strong.
Day 11 - Weather day. 30cm of snow and moderate winds made us stay in camp. A Polish team of four came wallowing down, looking pretty shattered, stomping along in their crampons while dragging skis on top of their sleds (we all wondered about that). They had attempted 3 times from a high camp on the plateau over the last 10 days, but were running out of food and were heading down. Wow.
Day 12 - Move to Camp 5 (High Camp) on the plateau at 5230m. We had hoped for a weather forecast of three days, but only had one for 2 or 2.5 days before another storm rolled in until the end of the week. We didn't have enough food to wait that long - doing so would put us 4-6 days overdue - so we decided to pack only three days food and fuel, and carry only what we needed for the next few nights. We climbed up through the weakening weather, crossed the col at 5540m, and then descended onto the plateau to establish camp. 4km, 700m climbed and 300m skied.
Day 14 - Rest day. We really, really needed it!
Day 15 - Descend to C3. Originally, we had hoped to make it to C2, but the weather picked up after we left camp and we found ourselves navigating with only 30-10m of visibility. Another Canadian team passed us, and we learned they had reached the summit from "Windy Camp", located at 5050 meters before the col. They were all on skis and quickly passed us and continued down. Reaching C3 requires gps all the way into camp. 3km, 730m skied.
Day 17 - The day is beautiful, and we're all excited that we may fly out. Its tempered by our knowledge that we're arriving late in the afternoon, and may stay there for another night. But still. It feels good to climb the last grade and know that's the last climb; to cross the last col, and to be able to see the airstrip ahead of us. We actually arrive earlier than planned - around 2pm, and after a few phone calls we hear Paul's plane at 5pm. 9km, 150m climbed, 300m skied.
Totals: 82 km traveled, 5480m climbed and skied.