I will start my account from Namche Bazaar as the trek into the rural village deserves it's very own account! It took the team three days to reach Base Camp which is situated on a rocky outcrop above a huge drop to the valley below. This is a two day trek from Namche traveling through small mountain villages. The path then takes us through majestic landscape and a hidden valley all the while keeping us in the shadows of the mountains on either side.
The team consisted of two English and Two Scotsmen. You can already imagine the beginning of a joke and the ongoing banter we had along the way.
Our Support group included eight sherpa and two climbing guides who hauled our gear day after day to our base camp.
It reminded me of the mountaineering book "ascent of Rum doodle" which makes fun of the support local people give to groups on mountain expeditions. Huge amount of porters hauling expedition gear up and down the mountain.
Because of the location of the mountain it was very quiet and apart from two german climbers we were the only ones there at that time. This gives the mountain a real expedition and exploratory feel which sometimes is missed when climbing some of Nepal's more popular peaks.
We decided to make our summit attempt from Advance base camp having spoken to a team who had summited from the same point earlier on in the year. It seemed like a long day but I was confident our team was strong enough to make it. Everyone had acclimatised really well and ha prepared themselves physically before departing. Advanced base camp is situated on a small outcrop just above the glacier leading to the gulley.
The morning of summit day takes you through the rocky gulley which can be challenging to tackle. Being careful not to twist our ankle or slip on ice covered rocks we made our way out of the gulley to climb a small traverse section up to the snowfield at the col.
After two hours we find ourselves working up the first section of fixed ropes. This turns out to be rocky terrain which is easily passed with the help of the fixed lines. It soon steepens and requires some upper body strength to get over the next outcrop.
Other fixed lines show up around us from previous expeditions. A good sign we are going the right way. Our two man Sherpa climbing team we’re starting to tire and it showed as we got closer to the summit. At an anchor Point high on the mountain we gathered together for a rest. At that moment one of the pegs holding the fixed rope into place came loose and we all jolted down the mountain. An ice axed came rushing down towards me along with a broken bit of rock. Luckily I managed to catch the axe but the rock hit me on my thigh however did not injure me. The other gear holding the anchor had stopped up from rolling down the mountain so we took extra care to examine further anchors along the route.
We eventually find ourselves using crampons to climb the snowfield leading to the summit of the peak. Unfortunately I look at my watch while the sherpa team organise the ropes and its nearly 1pm.
Making a tough decision the group turn around estimating it would have taken another hour to reach the summit. Everyone was completely drained and it was clear that our climbing Sherpa team were struggling to cope with the rigging of fixed lines in front of us. We decided to abseil down the lines and back to the safety of ground to attempt the mountain another day.
We hiked back the next day getting excited for some luxuries and tried to enjoy the expedition for what it was - an adventure not a guaranteed success.
Until next time Kyajo Ri!