There was an earthquake that measured 6.8 on the ritcher scale, with
an epicentre at Sikkim (India) abt 300km east of kathmandu that
occured on the 18th of Sept at 6.29pm Nepal time that lasted for abt
20 seconds. The scary part of this whole thing was that myself and
part of the IMG team was on Camp 1 (6400m) of Cho Oyu for our 3rd
rotation when the earthquake occured.
Me and my sherpa (Kancha who was the youngest of the sherpas but not
forgetting an Everest summit record of 3 and 2 summits on Cho Oyu)
were getting ready to settle in for the night in out tent in Camp1. At
abt 6.29pm we felt out tent shaking. We thouight it was our neighbours
helping us shake the snow from our tents. This shaking continued and
the ground beneath us started shaking as well. At that point, I
thouight that there was an avalanche occuring. The snow beneath which
we were sleeping on gave way and suddenly sank by an inch or 2 and
both of us who were on either side of the tent started rolling towards
each other, towards the centre of the tent in our sleeping bags. This
was when we knew something more serious was happening. We heard the
shouts of ‘Earthquake’ coming from the sherpas and guides from our
neighbouring tents. I felt as though our tent was beginning to slide
towards the edge of the snow slope. At that time, i could not do any
thing else but pray that we would not slide off the mountain ridge.
The 20 sec the earthquake lasted seemed to be long. Very long indeed.
Both me and my sherpa were scared beyond words. All we could do was
stick our heads outside our tent hoping the worse would not happen.
The shaking stopped but then the avalanches started. The slopes of
snow all around camp 1 started sliding downhill. Huge avalanches we
could see for ourselves. It was scary and we were praying for the
safety of the ppl beneath lake camp and for ourselves as well. If the
slope leading from C1 to C2 gave way, we would have been swept off the
mountain as well. Our guide immediately started communicating with the
other group who had made it to C2 for the night to make sure they were
alright. The slope above C2 had the highest probability of giving way
and wiping out all the ppl in C2 who had settled there for the night.
It was really lucky that the slope held and there was no avalanche
above C2. For the next hour or so, there were abt 8-10 avalanches
occuring all ard C1. We were just hoping that none of the avalanches
would be our death call. Every time I heard something i would wake up
and pray that we’d be safe. Even Kancha had not experienced such a
scary phenomenon up in the mountain and both of us were extremely glad
that we were safe at the end of the whole ordeal.
Our 3rd roation the next day up to C2 was not confirmed due to the
heavy snowing and avalanche hazard. It was mentally challenging for us
to keep playing ard with the idea of going and then not going to C2.
The plan was that Craig (our IMG guide) would comms the ppl up at C2
and BC to check on the weather and snow conditions and would confirm
our departure early next morning. If the weather was bad, we’d stay in
C1 for another night and would have to call it an imperfect but
completed C2 rotation. 4.45am and Craig was waking us up and said we’d
be departing for C2. We had to mentally tune ourselves for the hard
climb ahead. The climb up to C2 from C1 was extremely tiring. So far,
this has been the most difficult climb of all the mountains i have
climbed (other than the summit day of Mt Kilimanjaro. That day is
still considered the most difficult climb for me thus far due to my
inexperience and lack of fitness climbing my 1st mountain). The 2 ice
cliffs took it all out of me and the endless knolls before hitting C2
was a mental torture. Finally after the 7.5h climb, i had reached C2
at 7000m. I had finally crossed the 7k m mental barrier without
supplemental oxygen. I was so exhausted upon reaching C2 that it took
the entire afternoon and evening for recooperation. The night was
spent tossing and turning without sleep. Its diffcult to sleep at 7km
above sea level where the oxygen content is less than half of what is
found at sea level. I was glad the night was over and we hurried down
from C2 the next day to ABC.
We will be resting here at ABC for the next few days. The chinese rope
fixing team is once again giving problems. They are saying that it is
too dangerous to fix ropes above C3 due to avalanche danger and they
have given an arbituary date of completion as 1st of Oct. This has
been unexceptable for all the other teams whom have been patiently
waiting for the chinese. The Koreans (who seem to be the most
impatient of us all) have taken the responsibility from the chinese
and have claimed that they will fix the ropes to the summit by the
23rd. Our team will be waiting in ABC till we hear the good news
before we begin our summit bid on the 24th (if everything goes well).