Island Peak High Camp
We had dinner by candlelight last night, and our music was the wind, whipping all around us. Our cook Yubaraj treated us with pasta, roasted tomatoes, and cauliflower. Really not a bad way to dine at 16,500 ft. We talked for while about today, and our summit bid tonight. Can't believe it is finally here- this has been a two week long approach and it feels like it. Mostly, we are worried abut the middle-of-the-night cold and then that huge head wall. I am pretty excited about the headwall--- just hoping I have the stamina for it. The summit ridge is pretty exposed, dropping off on both sides, but we will have fixed line (anchored to the wall by ice screws) to help us from the base of the head wall to the summit.
I had a difficult night of sleep last night, woke up again with the "short lung syndrome." Bummer. Guess I should have taken some Diamox, but I forgot. At any rate, I got up, walked around, trying to move some air. It was very frustrating. Finally, I dove back into My sleeping bag and slept for a little while. My bag has felt a little shorter these past few days as I've been stuffing my cameras and electronics in the toe. Hopefully that will help battery longevity up here. In Chukkung, I spent $5 per hours for charging my iPad, and the battery power went from 47% to...47%. Last night I used some of the battery power I brought with me which worked pretty well.
It was soooo cold this morning- and Linden cautioned us about under eating...as that can make it difficult for us to keep warm. I laugh to think about Sasha's comment that, " We have to lose weight on this trip, don't you think?". Not with all the carbs and candy I've been eating trying to fuel the tank. Impressive.
We had a leisurely start today as we only had to hike an hour and a half up to "high camp"- a perch on the side of the hill. I could definitely feel the altitude today. The clouds came in, bumming us out because it may mean a cold and sunless climb tonight. We are keeping or fingers crossed. Soon after we arrived in high camp, the cooks came to the tent door with some hot Tang. A treat. The sun was shining and for a brief moment, all was well in the world.
We settled into our tents, which includes localizing the site of the toilet-du-jour. Today's version is tucked in behind some rocks, about 100ft below Lucy and Corell's tent. It'll make for difficult access in the night. But in "Leave No Trace" fashion, all solids waste should enter the bag so that it can be packed out. Do not envy the porter whose job that is!!
Yubaraj soon called us for lunch, and we dined with a view- on a mat under an awning attached to the cook tent. And we froze because the clouds had covered us. I forgot that it is Friday, and actually ate a piece of what looked like fried Spam- only because I'll need all the help I can tonight. Not to mention the porters going up to the glacier, cutting out huge chunks, and then carrying it down in their wicker baskets so that we Yubaraj could meIt it for drinking water. A lot goes on in support of climbers. It all wasn't as bad as I thought...which is saying something at 17,500 ft!!
Since lunch we've been in tents while Linden and Phura went upon the trail to check it out, and to stash some gear at "crampon point"- the point at which we will stop and put on our crampons before heading out onto the glacier. They will probably do this climb twice tonight, what with the assistance they'll be giving us. It has gotten colder and snow has begun to fall. Linden just suggested we do a snow dance to stop the snow.
Good news is that the route is in "pretty good shape"...
We have a couple more hours before our "summit talk" with Linden and then dinner. We plan to leave around 1 AM, with a summit around 8-9 am.
I'll be baaack...
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