where does the name "polish" come from ? would be interesting to know the story from this page
Well, a Polish team made the first ascent of the Polish Route which goes up the left edge of the glacier and usually requires a camp on the high exposed ridge at the top.
The direct, first done by a commercial guided trip with Allen Steck as the leader, was a bail-out choice after the group had been pinned down for 5 days of 100 mph winds just below the foot of the glacier. The group was slowing decreased in number as climbers got sick from hanging out at 21,000' or just got sick of the ordeal. With just 4 (out of an original 12 or so) left on the last possible day to make a summit bid and stay on schedule to get back, 2 climbers woke up at 1am, melted water, fixed breakfast, loaded packs and woke Allan and the other climber (from Colorado -- lost the name)and helped them get off. The 2 remained behind to maintain the camp in the wind and to be the back-up if needed. The rest of the night, all the next day and well into the wee hours of the next night the back-up crew waited. One of them went out to pee about 3:00am and flashed his light up the hill--a flash came back. There was momentary joy but flash continued: short/short/short, long/long/long, short/short/short. It looked like the signal was coming from the tough spot just below the break through to the upper ridge. The two in reserve packed water, extra bivy bags, and food started up. The climbers--now with photographic proof that one of them was the summiteer!-- were OK but wasted and the summiteer had kind of freaked after Allen had slipped and taken a bit of a fall in an ice gully. They were tucked into the extra gear, fed and watered and left to come down to the high camp the next morning which they did -- making it a 36 hour summit bid.
People down below had no idea what was going on or whether there was success or disaster. Later that day, four climbers returned to base camp with the good news that the effort had been a sucess and the group (cause it's always group effort to put up a new line on a big hill) could claim its trophy. One of the big 7 by a new route variation.