Asia | Nepal – The mountain’s ours!
We go up with the guys to our boots hideaway and wave them off with mixed feelings. Theyre going up to establish camp 1, fix the ropes and try to conquer this difficult mountain. We hope well see them back down in a few days having made the top!
In the meantime we get spoiled by our kitchen staff with proper chips! Thats enough off an encouragement to go washing myself and some socks and underwear in the freezing cold river!
At night we get on the radio to hear that the guys have established camp1.
We spend the next day trying to find camp 1 on Ama Dablam – clambering back over all the rocks to the yaktrail and then heading up the slope to the north. Not necessarily the best of routes – very steep and lots of loose scree… We get up to an abandoned campsite and not much further the Ama Dablam Advanced BaseCamp (or yakcamp). Nobody there right now, allthough 2 tents are waiting for people to come up.
Lots of beautiful flowers though, almost miniature sunflowers. Also small red flowers spring up between the rocks that are overgrown with moss in yellows, greens, purples, … its fascinating to see the diversity of the flore at 5000m
Going back down we meet with an American Ama Dablam expedition, 2 Japanese, 2 Frenchies and its great to speak to some new people again after all this time up in the mountains.
At 15 minutes from camp, I trip on an unstable rock and, off course, fall on my knee thats already hurting. It obligingly bursts open again. With me being a bit dizzy, Jo does the honours – cleaning thoroughly (does it has to be this thorougly? Ai!), put some betadine and protect it with a multi purpose Libresse bandage.
That evening we get news from camp 1: ropes are fixed upto about 6200m, about 150m under the top!
Next day we decide to go on a lake exploration trip.
We quite easily found the first 2 lakes, then scrambled upto a 3rd one (quite a scramble!) and came to the conclusion that the lake we were looking for was probably upstream from this one. It was.
Gorgeous. Awesome. Beautiful. Breathtaking.
A big crevassed glacier pours down in shades of blue and white into this frozen mountainlake.
No words to describe this, so youll have to do with the photos.
We climbed back upto the ridge again and saw Victor & Charles coming down the glacier in the distance. Decided to go down to our boothideaway and wait for them.
They didnt make it.
Too much wind and after a risky fall with both of them dangling on either side of the ridge they decided to call it a day and go down.
Great and funny afternoon in camp, with all of us dreaming up all kinds of Trivial Pursuit questions.
Very, very cold night.
We planned a 2nd attempt for the top, meaning we abandoned our plan to go over the 2 passes. As this would mean me not going upto Mingbo La, we worked out an emergency plan. When Victor & Charles were going back to camp 1, we would accompany them, I would climb Mingbo La and Victor would escort us back as far as the icefall…
Bit ambitious plan as it turned out to be: we left far too late, I couldnt keep up the with the speedy pace (partly because of my bl***y knee, that wasnt getting any better) and coming off the first bit of glacier I said so. A bit ashamed and embarrassed, but its a hard world in the mountains and you have to face your limits so youre not endangering the principal goal of the expedition.
It resulted in a marvelous day: it was about 12ish, so we decided to have lunch (not being in a rush anymore) just under the icefall. A magnificent spot on the glacier with a blueish grotto, frozen stalagtites and stalagmites all over the place and the most magic ice sculptures around.
We took our leave from Charles and Victor escorted us back over the glacier but via a new route – fascinating and exciting! Its like skiing off piste in undiscovered territory but with having more time to actually look around and enjoy the beauty all around!
Next day was spent watching Ombigaichan and trying to pick out the tiny dots that would be our climbers…we got a few sightings but no radiocontact – until 8pm when they were safely back in camp 1 and had made it! They climbed it!
As I had a plane to catch, needed to leave the next day before our team was back down, damned!
Weird to leave Jo behind at the yaktrail and go on alone… no fun at first. You feel tiny between all this display of beauty and power of nature. Here I was, walking on my own on a ridge down from Ama Dablam back to AD Basecamp. Tiny, but powerful at the same time, feeling theres nothing that you cannot do, invincible!
Took me 3 hours to BC, where they offered me some time and I waited some time for Sonam. Then decided to push on - and got slightly lost!
Must have taken a wrong turn some where because ended up on the landtong instead of the easy trail going down to the river & bridge… Wasnt too worried though: there was still plenty of daylight, I could see the river I knew I had to cross and could also see Pangboche on the other side.
Made it down but with some scary scrambling and sliding down!
After crossing the river climbed back up to Pangboche and was warmly welcomed in Camys house with lots of tea and smiles.