Friday 04.22: The weather
forecast for today was almost 100% humidity, which means snowing, but we are
going to work anyway. So far our experience is that in this weather we can
still move our gear to the storage camp which is located on the border moraine
and glacier. We have a big breakfast and then we prepare all our personal
stuff we need in the elevation camps. We had an agreement with 2 porters to be
available to day ( just as we had on Wednesday). They will carry loads of 2x
30 kg to be moved to the BBC. But since we were talking about the possibility
of snow, they didn't show up. Kasang will take their place and carry one bag.
We didn't want to torture him too much, so we took some of the load away and
distributed it among us. We leave BC in groups sequentially from 11 am till 1
pm. Each group leaves the comfortable BC when they are ready. Our goal today
is to get to BBC and spend the night. We are all in BBC at 5 pm, we cook some
dinner (Knorr's noodles in any flavor) and we get to sleep. The elevation
should not be a problem here as we are only 300m higher than BC.
Saturday 04.23: Everyone is
up around 7 am. We would rather get up when the sun is up, but that would take
a while, so we start to cook a breakfast. Often we have tea and soup. We put
tea into the thermos and we get out of the tents. 8:30 am we are already
checking our gear ( tents, cooking stuff, food, ropes and especially colored
flags to mark the route over the glacier). When the sun came up, it was much
easier to get ready since it warmed up. It is not hard to find the way under
the mt. face. One just has to look far ahead so as to not end up in a maze of
cracks which would cause us to retrace up to 0.5 km. The glacier is pretty
broken and there are lots of cracks. Most of the cracks are small and narrow,
but with spring advancing they might get bigger and more dangerous. It did not
seem like it, but we are finally getting some elevation now. We can see the
whole Japanese and Hornbein Couloir right in front of us. We can see in detail
each part of the ascent. And nothing will be easy (nobody counted on it but,
in the past, the face had offered climbers easier conditions than they are
now). To begin with we have to climb over a crack, before we even get to the
face. Then zigzag between rocks and pure ice all the way to the first
elevation camp. This part we will have to fix for sure, it seems it is about
500m elevation meters....
Because the clouds are
cumulating around us (the weather forecast was snowing today too), we build
tents in a secure place not far from the face. It is our camp"0" - we put all
our gear in and go back. It snows on our way back so we will be able to test
how well we marked the route. It seems our marking was not the best since we
loose direction in the bottom part of the route and we have to pass over
several small and large cracks. On our next trip, we will have to mark the
route better. We still have plenty of bamboo in BC and Pepino will put
stickers from Holba (is a brewery sponsoring Pepino) on them, this way we can
use them as markers. Coming back to the BBC, we see Kasang with the second
load. We take off our crampons and skelets (boots) and put on track boots and
light clothing. It is only 2-2.5 hours over the moraine back to the BC. Some
may feel the trip is tiring, but it is very important not to be on the snow,
get good food, sleep and gain new energy. Kumar, anticipating this, cooks like
a god to stuff us up. He made garlic soup, something like ravioli stuffed with
vegetables and tuna with sauce. On top of this everyone gets a slice of pizza.
Now that would be enough, but Kumar topped this with a baked cake made of
ladyfingers with lemon sauce. In the tents one could hear comments that
today's march was not as deadly as today's dinner. It seems we will have
plenty of energy for the next ascents.
Sunday 04.24: Today is the rest day. We sleep late and the sun wakes us up.
Sun shines on BC at 7:45 am so it is easy to get up. We have our common room
in BC. As soon as we built the kitchen tent, we have had the company of 2
chickens which have not hesitated to wake us up with clucking every day. We
get up and some wash themselves, others do laundry. We attend to some skin
cracks, sun burn, and simply try putting ourselves together. After lunch we
have a meeting to discuss how to split into teams, where to build elevation
camps and so no. We also need to solve what to do with our camp"0" and BBC
camp. We decide to make it just a storage camp and a place where we change our
shoes. We are getting ready for the next day, making a list of stuff we cannot
forget, but who knows what tomorrow will bring, since it is snowing like
Christmas time. We will see if the snow will be over so we can start to build
*** About "normal" time change for Nepalese to Chinese***
Everyone remembers from the school that there are time zones. And if you
arrive in a different time zone you change the time accordingly. It is mostly
based on the fact that the sun rises between 5-7 am based on the season. It is
similar with the sunset. It is different in Tibet. It all changed after the
Chinese occupation of Tibet. It is like a "Crazyland". If you set your time
here based on Chinese time, it is not based on local time but based on time in
Peking. China is huge and this doesn't correspond with local nature, since the
difference is about 2 time zones and maybe even more. The locals accepted
that, and they get up at 10am, start to work at 11am, having lunch at 3 pm and
then they are awake till midnight playing cards. This doesn't seem normal to
us one bit. We decided to use Nepalese time and why not, if half of the
mountain we are climbing is in Nepalese time. And since we depend on ourselves
it is ok. We will have to pay attention to this on our way back home and that
is far in future for now.
*** About our camps***
As we moved our gear under the mountain we have had to build several camps.
For easy orientation, we have named them. To make it clear for you, let us
simplify and explain.
*Camps (real elevation camps) in the Mt. face will be named C1, C2, and C3. We
have not built them yet.
*Chinese BC (where we spent a windy week), is a access station to the mountain
and we would rather not call it BC at all, but Chinese demand it. To explain,
it sounds better to tourists. Let's forget about that since it is far behind
us. Based on our measures it is at the elevation of 4950m.
*Our camp which we called ABC, is our BC and it is at 5250m. That is our home
*All other camps we have built between BC and the face are just temporary
storage camps. So the previously mentioned BBC is just a storage camp on the
moraine at 5550m - max 3 hours from BC. The tents under the face can be
counted as the starting point of camp"0". This camp is high, but not high
enough to be called an elevation camp (where we have to climb). C0 is about 3
hours away from storage camp on the moraine and is at 6000m.
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