Asia | Nepal – Ice climbing

Asia | Nepal – Ice climbing

What can I say about my first real climbing day…
Novice, scared as hell – especially when I was clinging for all I was worth to the icefall, Jo above me, Charles below, both shouting encouragements, and no way to find any grip with my crampons. I thought I’d never make it to the top of the fall…
Thanks to Jo&Charles and Victor&Sonam on top and loads and loads of their patience, I DID make it! An unbelievable exhilarating feeling!
There’s a bit of a coming back down to earth feeling when you realise this is not the end of it and you’re meant to walk up further, over glaciers that sometimes are a lot steeper than you could have wished for…
On the glacierplateau below Mingbo La, we finally have a rest, while Victor&Sonam go up to fix the ropes upto the top of the pass, which is pretty steep! (45°, maybe even 50° at the top)
After our little picnic of tibetan bread, boiled egg, mars bar, cheese and lots of water, the three of us decide to give the wall up to the pass a closer look. A snowy wall, with a big crevasse at the bottom (the bergschrund – it’s the spot where the glacier broke off the snow on the wall), rises up above us, only interrupted by a huge light grey, mean looking rocky band about 1/3 up. Victor & Sonam do not seem to have any problem with it though and are back down in no time.

Going back proves to be easier but not any less tiring. That is, untill we reach the icefall again… If going up was not an easy feat, going down is maybe not more difficult, but definitely more scary! And I’ve already slipped once coming down the glacier as my crampons clog up with snow like mad – thank god for good ropework and some sturdy coclimbers.
Descending the icefall means me going first – HELP! At first facing outwards, but soon it gets too steep and I’m back with my face to the wall of ice, trying to get a hold with my ice axe and cramming my crampons in the ice as far as I can…
The last bit is almost like an abseil, hanging back on the rope, quickly walking down while only using my front crampons.
Definitely scary, but even more exhilarating!
Can’t wait to do this again and at the same time absolutely dread it… it sharpens all your senses and makes you feel vibrantly alive.
I must seem to talk gibberish to anybody sane, but then again, guess you need to experience this to understand…

Category : Asia | Nepal , Uncategorized