Tuesday, October 9, 2007, 11:32 PMWell, half of us have returned to Kathmandu while the rest of the team should be back later today. It was a tough season in Tibet for climbing this year. No one has summitted Shishapangma this year, and only 6 groups so far have summitted the more popular Cho Oyu (usually around 30-40 teams summit by now). After decending from Camp 1 my last time on the mountain, the hope was that there would be time to rest at ABC and catch a summit window later that week. Turned out the winds were terrible and continue to be really strong to date. The team did get a few climbers just below camp 3 and were planning on summitting on 10/5, but woke to bad winds and they, along with everyone else on the mountain retreated to ABC. After looking at the long range forecast, it was decided that we start breaking down camp and call it quits. Even with the weather situation and no summit attempt, I had a great time on the trip across Tibet and also on the mountain.
Just a quick note that the trip back from Shisha to Kathmandu was quite the experience. I can save that story for when I get back. Let's just say the Chinese are trying to fix the road down to Nepal which follows a very deep gorge. Prior to their work it was a very dicey road. Now it makes for a great ride at Disney without any safety precautions. You can ask me about that when I return.
I have also added a couple of night shots of the mountain while at ABC. You can see a very clear lenticular cloud over the summit in one of the photos. It was also very windy at ABC that night and very hard to keep the tripod steady. Though we did not always have visible clouds on the mountain, the wind was always present and visible on the mountain from ABC.
I may update this dispatch later, but that is about it from here. Hope everyone is well and I appreciate everyone who followed along and also left comments. With very limited access email, this was a great way to communicate back on the trip. Hope to see you all soon.
Wednesday, October 3, 2007, 11:35 AMJust returned from camp 1 again and the weather seems to have stabilized,
though still not great. The next week is supposed to be clear but very
windy and very cold. I am still not thrilled with the forecast and decided
to spend some time at ABC recovering while the sherpas get ready to go up
and fix some ropes for a possible summit attempt on 10/6. We have a few
really strong climbers already at camp 2 that would probably make up the
first summit team on the 6th. If they are successful and there is another
summit window prior to 10/11, I will make a decision on going for it after
the 6th, though I am probably 50-50 on that now. At this point, there has
still been no summit attempt on Shishapangma and we are one of the only
teams left with a real chance. No matter how things turn out, the
expedition has been great and the mountain is really spectacular. I'll post
another dispatch once we make our first summit attempt assuming I am not
back on the mountain. Getting close to the end and looking forward to some
warmer weather again. Till my next dispatch, take care.
Friday, September 28, 2007, 11:40 AM ( 26 views )Weather still looks bad so we are planning to go back up to camp1 to stay
acclimatized since we have spent so much time down at ABC. Will probably
not have another dispatch until I return probably in 3-4 days (assuming we
do not lose our internet connection again).
One other quick note, there have been no summits on Shishapangma so far this
season because of the weather. The more popular mountain in this region,
Cho Oyu, has seen only one summit so far which is very unusual. We'll see
how things go with us since we have a bit more time than most.
Take care and talk to you again when I return.
Wednesday, September 26, 2007, 03:25 PM ( 23 views )Now that we are all back at ABC, the weather has really turned for the worst. We have at least 1ft of snow here at ABC and there is much more on the mountain making it not suitable for climbing for a while. We hoped we would actually get a try in early October which would get us back home about week early, but it now seems like we will be here for the duration. Mentally it will be tough to spend up to 2 weeks here at ABC before we get a chance, but we need to make sure the mountain is safe and the jet stream is not running across the mountain before we try and go up high. Things will probably get a bit boring around here while we wait, but that is the nature of beast. When the clouds and weather do clear, we get tremendous views of the mountain. I have attached a few photos from our time on the mountain. Iíll keep posting any news as we get here and hope everything is going well back home.
Tuesday, September 25, 2007, 03:19 PMSo let me catch everyone up on what we have been doing the last five days.
9/18 - Depot camp at 19,300ft: We had already made one carry of gear to
this camp. Today we carried the rest of the gear we needed and spent
the night here. Depot camp is kind of a miserable place just off of the
glacier where you have to move a lot rocks to find a spot to pitch a tent.
Thankfully, only one night is spent at this camp.
9/19 - Camp 1 at 21,300ft: In order to get to camp 1 you need to cross what
is known as the penitentes. These are basically huge upside down icicles
that create a maze you have to get across. There was already a route set
through them, but according to the sherpas, it was one of poorest routes
through them. The climbing through was moderately technical made more so by
the altitude we were at. It required some moderate ice climbing and down
climbing to get through to the other side. Once through, you then had about
2000ft of climbing which in my case was done with around a 40lb pack (yes a
bit to much).
9/20 - Camp 1 at 21,300ft: This was just a rest day at camp 1 to help
acclimatize. Not much was done other than eat, sleep, and repeat (a dog's
9/21 - Camp 2 at 22,500ft: This was another tough day with the move to camp
2. I lightened my pack to around 30-35 lbs, but it was still really hard
wince we had about a foot and half of fresh snow that fell that night making
the route really soft.
9/22 - Camp 2 at 22,5000ft: Just a rest day here and took a light hike.
Otherwise, we had great views and did our best to stay healthy.
9/23 - Back to ABC: Long day from Camp 2 to ABC which took most of the day.
We are now back here which feels good, but the weather has really turned for
the worse. It is now a waiting game until we have another weather window.
9/24-9/25 - Long boring days waiting for the snow to stop. Internet is back
and now we just need some power to so we can keep communicating.
That's all I have for now and I hope to provide more info when we have a bit
more power. Might try and upload a few more pics if things work on the next
dispatch. Hope all is well there and I'll be in contact again soon.