I went to Nepal in 22 may 2009,
to climb Mt. Dhaulagiri from NE ridge, which is the 7th highest summit in the
world, at 8167 m. İ was to share the base camp facilities with some other
individuals such as Mr. David Fotjik and Mrs. Pavla Pilchova (both from Czech
Republic) and Mr. Mehdi Etemad Far (İran). Also sharing
the base camp with us was a Polish Tatra Rescuers team of 7 members. Dawa
Sherpa of Nepal, Solu, who is an 8 time Everest summiteer and a record holder
of Everest north- south traverse, was my partner as usual.
There were other teams in the BC, a strong
İndian Army team led by Lt. Colonel Chauhan and thety were very , very
friendly and Helpful, very warm people. Also A polish team and German DAV team
were there, and we exchanged good feelings with thenm as always.
From kathmandu, by Pokhara, we moved to the
base camp following the Myagdi Khola river; on the trekking we passed Beni
(800 m.), Babiyachaur (880 m.), Darbang (1000 m.), Naura Bhir (1100 m.), Juga
Pani (1500 m.), Bolgara (2300 m.), Dobang (2600 m.), Sallageri (3000 m.),
İtalian Base Camp (3700 m.) and by the Chonnbardan Glacier, the base camp of
Dhaulagiri (4750 m.). The trek was not so easy, and at parts it involved steep
terrain. For the poters it was worse, a very difficult road to go. İn the end
we just had 13 out of an original 89 porters, which ended up transporting all
The weather this season was not bad,
actually it was a dry year responsible of icy conditions up the mountain.
Dhaulagiri is, until camp 1 (5800 m.) quite dangerous for ice avalanches and
we needed to be very quick on the route always, not wasting time around. Also
the glacier was full of deep and hidden crevasses which needed us to go roped
always. The route was steep after camp 2, with nearly 500 metres of 55 degrees
black- blue ice.
We made 3 high camps on Dhaulagiri with
Dawa. Camp 1 (5800 m.) is at NE saddle, Camp 2 (6700 m.) is on a steep
shoulder near rocks in the northeast ridge we climbed and the temporary Camp 3
is at a rocky ledge in 7250 m. on the ridge itself.
On 3 trips, of which the last was for summit
itself, we spent a total of 7 days on the mountain, which afforded us good
So, we decided our summit bid when the wind
was lower, which seemed may 1st on our friend Jamie weather reports. We moved
from base camp to camp 2 directly 29th april and moved to put camp 3 in 30th.
April. Me and Dawa left the Camp 3 (7250 m.) in the early hours of May 1st,
around 02.00 at night. İt was quite windy, more than we have predicted for
sure, cold at around -25 degrees C.
David and Mehdi was ahead of us , maybe an
hour, along with a slow moving group of Korean Climbers. İn the dark, we
climbed a hard ice wall of around 200 metres high and 55 degrees incline on
fixed lines, up to the snow shoulder at 7500 metres. Then we climbed up the
easier snow incline (at dawn, and with many destroyed tent remains to be seen
around) up to approx. 7700 metres, where we traversed rightwards on big,
black colored rock ledges and easy ice inclines. By then it was light but
still very windy until an hour later. The thin fixed line ropes that we
carried and fixed commonly as a big group ended at around approx. 7770
metres altitude and we had to resort to solo climbing, ie. moving without
ropes over medium difficult icy terrain. David, me and Korean Kim made a
traversing path in deep snow, changing turns, to cross a big snow couloir
until a rocky ridge, then David and me traversed across the summit icefield
diagonally rightwards to gain the summit ice gully (which, until we neared we
could not identify as such- but knew to be there). The climbing was on 45-50
degree inclined blue granular ice, not so hard but necessitating care always
on your crampon work and ice axe.
After 12.30 hours, clouds, more wind and
whiteout made our climb increasingly difficult. I could see David ahead
making into the gully. We were very near to the top! 10 minutes after David, i
finished the summit ice gully in a heartbeat- which happened to be a quite
tiring job at above 8100 metres, not using supplementary oxygen- to appear on
the rocky, level summit ridge, to walk 3-5 minutes to a rocky hump 50-80 m.
away to the left (which is, i think the summit itself, no parayer flags or
markers) ( Note: around there, at the end of the gully in the ridge, a long
dead man, presumably a European climber, in a tattered suit and crampons, lies
in X position facing up). The strong electricity in the air and the very risk
of lightning, which threatened from south side of the mountain, necessitated a
fast retreat . I have taken some photos in whiteout conditions on the ridge.
No time and place to enjoy the top of Dhaulagiri- i felt the frightening
sizzle of electricity on my shoulders and hair, even under the down suit! İ
did not like the situation, this was really a big risk.
My summit time estimated is 14.30-14.45
afternoon. Me first, then David retreated down the gully, climbing downwards
on ice, facing it. Then, I saw Mehdi sitting on the rocks at the mouth of
the summit gully. I told him to come down with me but i think he wanted to
have a try at summit, once it was so near… İ could not wait for him, had to go
down- fast. This was the last time i saw him alive, and later David said he
thought he saw him fall down the summit gully on blue ice.
Back at the summit icefield now, and in an
imminent whiteout condition and a strong blizzard that covered my face and
eyes in ice, i was only able to get back to Dawa (who was waiting for me
patiently) with a compass bearing wisely taken beforehand. I saw David ski
down by our side fast. Because he had tour ski boots and thinner clothing, he
unfortunately had frostbite to his feet and hands and i hope he will be much
better in short time..
And by 19.50-20.15 hours, we had rappelled
many pitches on ice and we reached camp 3 in a calm moonlight… to settle down
for the night at 7250 m. With Dawa we spent resting the night in one sleeping
bag, not so uncomfortable. We have reached base camp by the afternoon next
day, may 2.
After us, the same day, the two Korean teams
including our friend Kim Hong Bin summitted by 18.30 or so, as far as i know.
And by 8th May, the İndian Army expedition summitted 6 man-strong. The Tatra
Polish rescuers team could not summit.
We left the mountain by the route of French
Col, Dhampus Pass and Marpha- Jomosom which proved to be a very long trip for
just a day!
14 May 2009
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