Saturday, July 5, 2008

All back to Base Camp, 'ready' for summit push

Everyone is back at base camp after our small acclimatization sortie up to 6700 meters. The climb from camp 1 up to camp 2 is really interesting. It starts with a 50° snow slope for about 60M, then a little traverse around a hanging glacier. About 125 vertical meters of rambling ice and snow later, the classic Banana Ridge starts. About 15 pitches of 55° to 75° ice/snow in a wonderful position. For anyone who's been to Ama Dablam, this is just like camp 3 to summit! Unreal!!!

Don't be fooled though, the top of the ridge isn't camp 2. Yet another false summit awaits and another grueling 75 vertical meter slog brings you right into camp 2 at 6500m. A tip for future G2 & G1 climbers: leave early and arrive at all camps before the sun hits, wear white clothing and bring a big hat or umbrella. Trust me.

Sadly, Mark has made the decision not to continue up the mountain. He has made this choice on his own due to a number of factors and I must say that I have a deep respect for his wisdom and lack of ego. After so much preperation and sacrifice, Mark has realized that his priorities don't lie at the top of an 8000m mountain. We all praise him for that.

The rest of the team is currently recharging and gearing up for the big push. Everyone is in excellent health and all that we need now is a 4-5 day window of good weather. Naucho is powering up the hill and has established his camp 2 right next to ours. He is currently resting at base with the rest of us.

We have been getting mixed weather data but in general the trend is leaning towards -20°c and high winds at 7000 meters by Thursday or Friday. This just happens to be the aproximate height of our camp 3 and with conditions like that, no one goes anywhere, very dangerous indeed.

Everyone is mindful of the realities of climbing the highest mountains on earth. Gasherbrum 2 will grant us permission to summit when she is ready. Until then we will wait and enjoy good times and great friends at base camp.

Peace out


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