Saturday, September 20, 2008

Cho Oyu C1 Established

First and most importantly our entire team - staff and members - are safe and sound in one place or another on the hill. We have been having some technical challenges which are now resolved and we hope to have more detailed notes in the weeks ahead.

On the 20th all of our team ws in ABC enjoying an afternoon of cards, wilderness medicine classes, soups and hot drinks, except for Anthony and Sonam two camps below in CBC. Anthony had not been acclimatizing well at ABC and descended to CBC with Sonam for a few days and they are already headed back up and are expected on the 22nd.

We have had a great run on the hill after our arrival on the 15th. To arrive required spending the 12th and 13th acclimatizing at Chinese BC (4700m) with a great day walk to 5400m, an easy 4- 5 hr road walk to Intermediate BC (5200m) on the 14th, and finally a much more demanding 5-6hr morraine climb to our home for the next 23 days.

After a rest day on the 16th Lyngve, Guy H,Justin, John, Guy L, Italo,Tsering, Lhakpa and Ian took a load carry to C1 at 6400m and returned with tales of steep scree slopes and slippery morraines. Ben, Erik, Kit and Stu made their load carries on the 17th and cinfirmed the beauty of the climb and the treacherously icy walk back.

Lyngve, italo and Justin spent a horrible night at C1 on the 18th with winds which destroyed tents for a few teams and left us making repairs of our own. We kindly refer to one of our tents now as frankenstein!
After waiting out the wind for a day we are now returning to the hill with Kit, John, Stu, Ben, Guy H and Guy L headed up today (21st) and most of the rest tomorrow. Antonin will have to see how he feels when he gets back and make a plan then. Erik has a bit of a cold and may delay coming up by a day. We hope to all have 2-3 nights in C1 and one night in C2 (7200m) before returning to ABC for a 2-4 day rest before our first summit bids. With luck we'll be on top around the 30th Sept.

Rob and Ryan are on a similar shedule for tye moment and will be spending 21st-23rd in C1 and C2 getting ready for their push on the south face.

Our ABC camp, which sits high above an enormous bleached white glacier and faces opposite the sweeping and storied Nangpa-la, gives us a perfect view of the entire mass of Cho Oyu to our left - and an all to clear view of the entire route wewill need to follow! Our physical plant consists of 16 yellow VE 25s sleeping tents, two giant bright-blue house-shaped tarp tents (one for our chef Ratna and his staff Siddhi and Sonam and the second for our team to eat and gather in), a well used red outhouse tent and a highly prized burgundy shower tent.

I take the time to mention these colors as they are the only breaks for the pallette of the upward-looking eye save the startling blue sky rejgning over the black, white and grey of the rock, ice, snow, scree, morraines and glaciers which make up our world here at 5700m. At our feet we are treated to an entirely varied world as the geologic story unfolds with every step in a language marvelling but escaping most of us. Metamorphic, igneous, sedimentary rocks abound with fossil, crystals, semiprecious stones everywhere tempting one to collect unreasonable amounts of souvenirs to bring home! Nearly everyone of us wishes we had taken geology classes to open up the stories locked up before us.

Our journey to this time has been quite remarkable and when we return to Kathmandu we hope to be able to enliven our notes with a long report and loads of images.

We spend much of our time talking about home and we send our love to family and friends. We miss you all very much!

Signing off for a few days and look to report in again on 24th or 25th.

Cheers from the sunny beaches of um, that is from the remote and austere himalaya!


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