In climbing, sometimes you have those days, those days where you “walk the line” between turning tail and running down, and digging in and pushing forward. Today was one of those days. Our weather forecast we recieved last night was not a good one. A storm was on the way, a big one this time, that would effectively close down climbing on the mountain for a few days. After settling into Camp1 for the night, we deliberated what to do, and all agreed that if it started up overnight, we would be up at 1st light and head downhill. We woke up this morning to a light dusting of snow on the tent and a looming sky. As we all agreed it was worth it to “go up and take a look”, we headed out of camp with the intention of trying to “touch” camp2 at just over 20,000ft (6,000m).
We knew that breaking that barrier would put us in good shape for the next cycle up the hill to then sleep at camp2 and continue getting used to the ever thinning air.
The weather however, had other plans. First the winds came, then that transported what is called sugar snow. Imagine if you will a jar of sugar, now give that jar a tilt so the sugar inside sits at about a 45-55 degree angle, now imagine, at 18-20,000ft, in freezing winds, walking up that sugar. Thats exactly what we were faced with.
Lapka, Katrina and I often talked about the ego associated with climbing. For myself being back with Outward Bound these past few years has showed me a different perspective on this. We always say, “challenge yourself, and change your world”. But I would add to that, there are times, days not unlike this one, where you have to become the animal that proper society tells you not to. You must in your heart believe you can do things that other people think are crazy, and you must believe you can do them well, for this is how you survive sometimes up here. Ego? Hardly. Simply a belief that you have more in you than you know.
Despite the rolling waves of poor weather, we continued upward, with an eye towards avalanche danger, and by 11.15am we were at camp2.
At this point a big thank you needs to go out to Fabrizio and our HAP’s (High Altitude Porters) for doing such an amazing job fixing line for the route. There are few people on this planet that can match these guys strength, and for that we are greatful. We rested, re fueled, and “hustled” back to camp1 and then to basecamp in time for a 2pm late lunch. Katrina is feeling strong, and we are all satisfied that this rotation up the hill went better than expected. So let the storm come! For now, we are content to be faced with a few rest days, and a newfound belief in whats possible.
Luis headed to c2
Katrina headed to c2
Lapka and Tshering at c2