Archive for September, 2007

Summit bid tomorrow!

Wednesday, September 19th, 2007

we’re finally going for our summit cycle tomorrow! weather permitting, we’ll reach the summit on the 23rd and be back at advanced base on the 24th with a couple of rest days to ponder over the feasibility of a second summit run. pretty psyched right now, prepared and raring to go! i can’t wait to see how horrible navigating the rock band at 8000m is gonna be. wish us luck and i hope to be able to update happy news on the 24th! woohoooo! THIS IS IT!

Camp 1 & further!

Sunday, September 9th, 2007

hi all! email update doubling up as a blog entry to save on our very volatile solar power source. =) been away for almost a month now and the expedition life has pretty much gotten under my skin–literally. these days, the limits of my personal hygiene are restricted to the tolerance level of my tent mate. since we all have our personal tents at ABC, i’m getting away with lots of things, the best of which is getting up in the middle of the night and not having to go to the makeshift loo outside. instead, everyone’s peeing inside tents using this really nifty pee device. anyway, i’m digressing.

so we’ve been up at camp 1 and farther on to the first ice cliff en route to camp 2. we’ll be leaving ABC tomorrow for the final acclimatization cycle, where we’ll sleep at camp 1, sleep at camp 2, climb up to camp 3, sleep back down at camp 2 and then descend all the way back to ABC and all the way down to nyalam for a final rest before the summit push sometime in mid sept. this is totally exciting. by golly we’re actually doing it!

at this point of time, i’m trying to envision the good bits (i.e reaching camp) instead of the superhuman effort it’s been taking us to climb. i swear, clearing the stretch of vertical ice on that first ice cliff before camp 2 (with a second one to go) stretched me almost to the limits of my physical endurance. front-pointing at 6700m is seriously no joke, especially not with sub-zero temperatures, howling 70km/h winds and painful spindrifts. i’ve lost more weight already than i’m comfortable with and as is it, whatever leg muscles i used to have are getting dangerously shrivelled. my shoulder and mini biceps are also non-existent and my hip bones dig painfully into the ground when i sleep on my side. i love these rest days at ABC cuz it means i can eat as much fatty bacon and eggs as i want in some vain attempt to replenish said wasted muscles. i’m swallowing as much chocolate, chips, nuts and assorted high-calorie food as humanly possible, so i’m hoping body-breakdown doesn’t happen so fast.

cho oyu is seriously MASSIVE. it’s like, HUGE. i mean, what does one expect from an 8000er anyway. it’s gigantic. i can see the entire thing from ABC and there’s always a jetstream blowing from the summit. the last time we slept up at camp 1, a massive avalanche roared off above camp 3. i guess with cho oyu, this is seriously the big league. everyone here is experienced and raring to go. i’m like probably the youngest person in the entire place and looking around, my team is probably the youngest team around. i’m getting a kick out of us being the “kiddies” on the mountain, yet we’re also the fastest, having gone up higher than anyone else at ABC.

so ABC is turning into a UN congregation. there are climbers from countries all over. we’re sharing our camp site with an american team (with two cute leaders. haha. lack of personal grooming has not fogged my eyesight over), an austrian team and another singapore team. just around the corner lie the rest of the international teams. it’s pretty amazing. all the big names in mountaineering are here, since this is cho oyu season and it’s a veritable city out here at ABC. what i’m hoping to avoid is a population explosion higher up, especially at the ice cliffs, cuz a bottleneck at altitude would be horrible and potentially fatal.