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  Mt. Everest/Cho Oyu 2005: Martin Minarik:  A SOLO SUMMIT!! the first 8000 meter summit of the season, and it was SOLO


Update: Martin phoned from basecamp of Cho Oyu. He summited at 3 pm local time on the 16th. He was the only one on the mountain as the other group is not yet acclimatized. more coming soon!

Cho Oyu Copyright© Jason McMillan

Update 4/11/2005: The hell broke loose on the slopes of Cho Oyu and I think all dead bolsheviks blocked the mountain for their party, I do not know what else to say.

On April 7, 05 I left BC in the morning and made it easily to site of Camp 1, repacked and continued to the top of serac at 6900m.

I found the shelter even the wind started to blow. At about 2pm on April 8 (sun hits the slopes around 10am) I set off for approx. 7300m where people usually set up Camp 2. From there I was planning to walk to the top. The huge crevasses I was warned about are truly piece of cake - if you ever walked on Carbon glacier or the glaciers on Alaska.

I made it easily to 7300m and realized after about one hour of trying that something is wrong with my stove. I did not panic or anything, I even considered the option of leaving for the summit right away and climb the whole night with about half of my thermos left. Then I changed my plans and postponed the summit try for the next night, using the day for rest and fixing the problem with my stove.

The night was windy and in the morning, hell broke loose. I was confined inside my tent, without the chance of moving (up or down) and without a chance of making water. And the second night was nothing like the first one - second night was much worse. The sky cleared, it got much colder and the wind popped up to the scale unmeasured by sailors. In one minute intervals, wind was coming from all directions. All moisture turned into ice inside the tent and it was blown back to my face, there was no hiding spot. I could as well be outside it would make no difference.

Then hallucinations came, not because of altitude but because of complete lack of water. I changed my shirt and the fellow in this new shirt started to give my advice. Fortunately for me, most of this advise was sound. Towards the morning, I was licking the ice from the sides of my tent and I knew I had to get out right away because if I do not, I will not get the second chance.

I started right in the morning, the wind was even worse then in the night and the wind chill had to be 40 below or lower. The chance of frostbites were tremendous. My feet were cold inside the sleeping bag already. I managed well considering I did not drink for 48 hours. I was able to make the cave where I stored all the fuel, food etc. I quickly got to Camp 1 where I was just setting the stove. I found I am not alone on the mountain any longer. Friendly face of Ed Viesturs showed up and Ed gladly shared the water he had left. He and his two companions just carried the load to Camp 1.

These couple drinks made me walk back to BC. It is cold and very windy even here. Over night I retrieved the feel into my frostbitten fingertips and I am slowly getting power back into them ( when I came, I could not squeeze the lemon into my tea). I started to see without a problem again and it is nice to be able to go to pee after more then 24 hours.

There are couple more expeditions but I do not really mind. I am very well acclimatized and in a few days when the full strength is back and this "dead bolsheviks parade on the slopes of Cho Oyu" is over I will need only 2-3 days to make it to the top.

I know I will.

April 11, 05

Martin Minarik

Dispatches

 

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