The first test of a Himalayan expedition is the climb to Camp 1. This is
when you know if you trained hard enough, you are taking care of
yourself and what the mountain is saying.
Our climb to tag Camp 1 was successful on all counts. Everyone did well.
I was pleased with my own performance and felt that my endless summer of
climbing Colorado 14, cheap 000 foot mountains was a good investment.
We left Base Camp around 6:45 AM on September 11. The route was obvious
as other teams and Sherpas had already been to Camp 1 and in fact have
Camp 2 established. The glacier was extremely dry. The crevasses were
obvious. I was surprised at the depth of many of them, a constant
reminder that there are no “easy” 8000 meter mountains and we must
always remain aware and sharp.
We reached Crampon Point after an hour of steady walking on rock and
slabs. There we switched to snow travel. With crampons on and harnesses
attached to the thin nylon safety line, we moved higher. The slope was
kind never gaining more than 20 degrees but the final slope increased
slightly as did the altitude reminding us of where we were and this was
not a simple walk.
We carried sleeping bags or down suits on this trip and left them in a
tent at Camp 1. Our next trip will be to spend a night there and move on
to Camp 2 for at least one more night. Thus far the weather continues to
be predictable – low clouds all day with rain in the afternoon. But at
Camp 1 we were above the clouds providing some astonishing views.
I must admit, that the upper slopes of Manaslu look sharp and dangerous
with hanging seracs. Our route should avoid these dangers but the
avalanche of 2012 is a content reminder that climbing in these
conditions can be unpredictable. All this said, it is exhilarating and
feeds the mountaineer inside of me.
After our quick 5 hour round trip to Camp 1, the Altitude Junkies
Sherpas played the Himex Sherpas in a few games of volleyball. Yes,
Himex has a volleyball court setup in their camp, a one minute walk from
ours, complete with net and lines. A large group of spectators gathered
in the damp mist to watch Himex take the match in a convincing style.
Phil Crampton was our only Westerner to play while Russell Brice walked
through the crowd offering candy bars. All in all a lot of fun on a
Our team continues to do well with spirited conversation during meals,
shared anticipation of future climbs and an ever growing missing of
family and home. In this spirit, Paul wants to wish Kate a happy 13th
I’ll provide another update probably early next week after our Camp 2
Memories are Everything