Sunday, April 25, 2010

At Makalu ABC

We arrived at Makalu ABC after a gruelling climb up from Base Camp. It was a sad departure from Base Camp given that Ann, Jim, and Leslie were leaving us to head back to a warmer climate. They had trekked all the way up to 4650m with us and it we were all sad to see them depart. I know Jim and Leslie are anxiously awaiting the arrival of their nephew so hopefully it coincides with them having access to a phone or internet.

When I say it was a gruelling climb up to ABC, I mean it was steep, filled with boulders, and a lot of scree and glacial slopes to walk up and down. We gained almost 1000m in the trek over the course of about 5 hours. But we were rewarded with views of Lhotse star, Lhotse, and Everest as we went up the valley.

Yesterday we spent just chilliing, getting our facilitiies in order. We have an amazing double walled dining tent, but unfortunately our heater for it got damaged. So we are dining at ambient temperatures which is good training for higher on the mountain. We have a stone kitchen area with a tarp for a roof. It is always a great place to go to get a cup of tea and a little warmth. We have a shower tent set up, 2 toliet tents, and then we each have our own tent at base camp. I have mine set up with my Valandre Thor bag which is keeping me toasty at night, but unfortunately my sleeping mat has a hole in it and it keeps going flat during the night. Despite the best efforts of everyone we cannot find the leak.....

We started today with a Puja cermemony conducted by Chhiring Dorje. As Chhiring said himself, he is not a lama, but he knows the gods to pray to. So we sought the blessing of Makalu to tread safely upon her, and we were rewarded with a bird landing on our altar which is a sign of good luck and a blessinig. Then we spent the rest of the day getting gear ready to go up to the mountain. Keep in mind we had a total of 120 porters each carrying up to 50lbs of gear. So we have almost 6000lbs of equipment and food that needed to be sorted and tagged for the different camps. Chhiring has a great crew that was able to get it the group gear done quickly while the rest of us took some time during the day to get it done.

On Monday morning we will do a carry up to camp 1 at 6400 or 6800m depending on how we feel. Then return to Base camp for a rest day on Tuesday.

Climb Hard, Climb High, Come Home,

Chris Klinke, Makalu ABC