climbing so hard that I almost forgot to write...
Things are fine, could be
better but certainly could be much worse.
On September 25, 05 we left
for our first acclimatization trip. I already mentioned that this is very nice
Base Camp with sun from 8am till the very late afternoon. And the mountains
around us look very peaceful. There is no need to get us early because
everything is handy.
One of the mountain is called
Ice Tooth and reaches 6200m (about). There are no maps of Tibet and different
sources show different altitude of every mountain over here. We climbed ice
ridge under excellent conditions and spent the night on the ridge a short
distance from the col under the Ice Tooth. The night was OK (we all forgot
pain killers against headache) and the view was just gorgeous. Everest group
was blocked by Ice Tooth but all the great ranges to the west were like on our
The next morning, we quickly
reached the top of Ice Tooth. First surprised came as we descended back to the
col. Ravens ( whatever their local name is) got into our packs and without any
problem ate all eatable. More surprise came as we descended to our Base Camp.
They seriously damaged our tents, opened different containers (with medicine,
warm bags, tooth paste).
We prescribed to us only one
full day of rest before heading up again. This time, our goal was the ridge
(possibly summit) of Pungpa-Ri. Summit was not necessary the object, this was
just another acclimatization climb. There is not need to risk more than enough
and trash ourselves on just a ordinary training climb. Everything looks very
close in thin air - and everything is very far in the thin air. It took us
good 6 hours, fully loaded to the camp called Castle Camp which is at the very
end of moraine ridge under the face of Shishapangma and Pungpa-Ri. If this is
medieval castle, the residents would not survive one single attack. There are
couple spots for sleeping under the 30 meter rock which "roof" is covered by
free rocks. Nothing felt down the night we had to spend there.
I already mentioned that we
are not "early morning birds". After the previous day haul, we took long
breakfast and left no earlier than at noon. We were one hour late to reach the
ridge since in the fog we climbed directly up versus to the left. We were
awarded. 4 hours of chopping in 55% ice slope and the night spent on the ledge
barely enough to put the sleeping bag on. Radek and Miska managed to make the
ledge little bit bigger so they could erect the Bibler tent. I do not have to
deal with details of such a night. Those who know - they know and those who do
not know - they would not understand either. The most difficult part to get
from such a nest is the morning. Everything (including our bodies) has to be
tight to couple ice screws and anything what falls down is GONE.
Fortunately for us, the night
was calm and we were truly awarded by fantastic view of Jugal Himal, Ganesh
Himal, Manaslu and Annapurna group. Manaslu reminded personally of my very
first Himalayan adventure. Both sunset and sunrise were great, sunrise much
nicer since we knew the night is over :)
In the morning, we were not
sure "should I stay or should I go". The weather was changing and huge clouds
were forming over the south side of Himalaya along the whole range. We decided
to go down. It was not without effort, it is very slow job to climb down on
such a slope. Protection would make things even slower and the safest is if
each man takes good care of himself. Not less and not more. As MacIntyre says
in his book - a charity ends up with 5000m.
We reached Castle Camp around
noon, packed the huge loads and moved stuff closer to the South Face of
Shishapangma. This time, the place for camp surprised us nicely. Pretty
glacier lake, sandy beach with the million dollars view, a very inviting place
for lovers. We had little time to sort the gear and cover everything by the
rocks against our "communists friends" the ravens. if we did good job, we will
see in the few days.
It took us a bit more then
three ours to return to our Base Camp to good hands of our cooks - Sherpa
friends Temba and Phurba. We came just before dark and crashed another round
of Pilsner Urquell.
Are we ready yet or not. Who
knows. But the fresh memorial for Alex Lowe and others clearly says that we
are not under control of absolutely everything.
October 1, 04
Background: On September 17, 2004 a group of 4 climbers from
Czech Republic plans to arrive to Kathmandu and leave shortly for Nyalam. From
Nyalam, we intend to reach Base Camp under South-West Face and repeat British
Route ( Scott - MacIntyre).
List of climbers :
Digital Altimeter, Barometer, Compass and Thermometer. Time/Date/Alarms.
Chronograph with 24 hour working range. Timer with stop, repeat and up
function. Rotating Bezel. Leveling bubble. Carabiner latch. E.L. 3 second
backlight. Water resistant. 4" x 2-1/4" x 3/4" 2 oz. Requires 1 CR2032
See more here.