Weather Woes

15 Sep

Just returned from my 2nd rotation up on the mountain. The plan was
to be just behind the chinese rope fixing team and follow them up to
camp 2 and back down to camp 1. While we were at the 1st ice cliff
from C1 to C2 at 6700m, our IMG sherpas went ahead and said that the
ropes and the fixed lines were not secured properly. We were abt to
turn back when our western guide thought that the rotation would not
be complete and decided fix proper ropes by our own efforts up the 1st
ice cliff. We made it up the vertical 1st ice cliff with front
pointing techniques and jumars and were left totally exhausted at abt
6750m (my highest altitude reached). We made it down the moutain there

The reason why the chinese rope fixing team seemed to not have done a
good job was not due to their inexperience but due to the weather. It
has been snowing every afternoon and new powdered snow seems to litter
the paths everyday. The chinese team could not get a good anchor on
the ice pickets while setting the fixed lines on the ice cliff. We
were also warned of avalanche danger above the ice cliff towards C2
due to the torrential snow that has been building up everyday. The sun
has to pack the powdered snow down for abt 3-4 days before it is
considered safe and easy to be travelled on. This is also the time
when the fixed ropes will be considered safe to be used.
Unfortunately, there has not been a single day without snow and clouds
and the weather forcast for the next 7-10 days says that there is
going to be afternoon snow everyday.

Although we have been the 1st team up on the mountian, it has almost
been a month in Tibet and we have not even reached C2. 1st was the
chinese rope fixing team, and now, it is the weather. Sometimes we can
hear avalanches occuring in the far distance as we sleep in our tents,
reminding us of the dangers due to the unstable weather up on the
mountains. I’m starting to feel mentally and physically exhausted
thinking that we’ve another rotation up to C2 (to sleep there, due to
our failed previous rotation) and due to the weather. My last
expedition on mustagh ata was folied due to the weather and its
looking bleak for this expediion was well. All i can do now is to
focus on the task ahead and pray for good weather towards the end of
the month. The expected summit window is from the 25th to the 30th if
the weather holds.

Today, we had practise on our oxygen systems and mask fitting. We’ll
start using oxygen form camp3 (7500m) onwards. I am very grateful that
i have been safe and well thus far but i also pray that we will have a
chance to use the oxygen up in the high camps and give the summit a
shot before we’re told to turn back due to bad weather and avalanche
hazards. We will leave for our 3rd rotation to sleep at C2 on the

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Posted by on September 15, 2011 in Uncategorized


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