Everyone is back at Advanced Base Camp except for Jamie who wanted to stay at Camp 1 and monitor the snow conditions. Every other team has also returned to ABC. The snow and low cloud moved in on Sunday night and we have experienced light to moderate snow since then. So with our acclimatization climb complete to 7000 meters, we are ready for our summit bid but ....
The climbs to Camp 1 and 2 were excellent. We left Advanced Base Camp last Tuesday for the interim camp called Depot Camp. The nicest feature is it's location next to the glacier and the Penanenties marking the divide to Shisha Pangma. It took us an hour and a half to cross the glacier since the route was quite circuitous and involved some ice climbing and rappelling or down climbing. Actually is was quite fun but hot.
The climb to Camp 1 was straight forward but still tiring since the sun was very bright and it was difficult to stay hydrated. The slope went from gentle to about 20 degrees, nothing too bad but we climbed from 19,200ft to 21,000ft. Once we topped out onto a flat plateau there were two of our tents already set up and several others nearby for Jagged Globe. One by one we all arrived at our site and set up tents and started brewing hot drinks. The clouds moved in and it went from brutal hot to bone chilling cold in a matter of minutes.
We spent two nights at Camp 1 and them moved to a camp just below 7000 meters or 23,000ft. This climb was shorter but steeper and the sun was once again quite hot. Most everyone was tired arriving at C2 but in good spirits. The view was absolutely stunning. ShishaPangma was in clear view for the first time. I was very confused that it was still 1000m or 3000ft to the summit since it just didn't look that high. We could now see the route to Camp 3 on the ridge.
I climbed on to 7000m with a few teammates the next day and stayed behind to post an audio dispatch. The view was astounding. I looked out over the Tibetan Steps and a huge pair of lakes. Snow covered peaks surrounded me.
A French team tried three times to summit without success due to snow conditions. As we sit here in ABC, listening to the snow fall, we consider the climb ahead. The weather forecasts are coming in regularly and we are fortunate to have a lot of experience with us on ShishaPangma. Jamie has been here four times, Clive, one of my teammates, three times and Andrew Locke four times. So it becomes a matter of waiting for the right conditions to return up the mountain. Patience is required by everyone at this point.
Please remember: Memories are Eveything.