I just returned from my 1st rotation to camp 1. It was super tiring.
It has been snowing every evening since we arrived in ABC and it
showed on the way up to camp 1. There was a 200m (vertical) section of
waist deep snow just before C1. Even as I tread gently over the snow,
each step I took had me sinking knee/waist deep into the snow and this
sucked all the energy out of me after the 6.5h climb to the snow area.
This was not made any better as we were carrying all our technical
equipment that we had to use above camp 1. Boots, crampons, harness,
ice axe, down suits, sleeping bags, food… My pack weighed almost
20+kg… It was not easy carrying the load from ABC (5550m) to C1
(6400m). There was a point that I was stuck in the snow and couldn’t
get out. My guide who was ahead of me had to come back down to get me.
Taking off my pack was such a relief and allowed me to travel further
up the snow ledge without sinking into it. It was such a relief
reaching camp 1 after abt 7.5h. It was snowing heavily by the time we
got there and we were mainly stuck in our tents for the whole
afternoon and night. We did not manage to get any good views of the
surroundings due to the snow. Sleeping at 6400m has been my personal
record so far and reaching this altitude has also matched my personal
altitude record between C2-C3 over at Mustagh Ata last month.
Waking up on my 27th birthday on the7th Sept and getting back down to
ABC was such a relief. Although I was not close to family and friends
to celebrate with, the climbing team and the sherpas made up for it.
They greeted me in the morning with hot milk tea and warm wishes
despite the snow. The terrain during the walk down was made more
slippery due to the heavy snowfall the night before but we made it
safely down. All of us here really hope that the weather holds out and
allows us to make a summit bid as opposed to last year where no one
made it to the summit due to heavy snowfall and avalanche danger.
The weather report predicts a low pressure zone entering our area and
we will be resting for the next few days in ABC while waiting for good
weather. Then, we will begin our 2nd rotation up to camp 2. As I
mentioned previously, all of us hope that the weather holds out for us
to make a summit attempt later this month.