Day 6 or 7
“Only God Knows Why” censored version Kid Rock, the why nots are growing from Plaza de Mulas in tent 10 p.m.
Last night was terrible. When the sun sets, it drops into the 20s quickly. The only heat is inside of your sleeping bag. I got cold with two lightweight tops on. I had a lot of work to get done before I could get in my bag. When I finished, I was getting hypothermia and got into my bag before midnight with all of my clothes on and fell asleep quickly. Roy came back to the tent and I was out. I woke at 1:30 a.m. sweating, and had to undress and hang all of my clothes to dry at twenty degrees I will have to wait till sun hits our tent. I fell back to sleep at 2 a.m., and from 2 a.m. until 6 a.m. I wasn’t able to sleep over fifteen minutes at a time. I dropped into REM sleep and I would wake short of breath struggling for air.
Max and doctor said apnea is a part of acclimatization. At our briefing, he gave us a tentative schedule and stressed the importance of being on time at summit day. If you delay and people are outside for 15 minutes waiting, they could be in danger of losing toes. That and the fact that I couldn’t sleep, I was up four hours before departure time feeling like crap.
Our day was the first carry to high Camp 1, Camp Canada 5050 meters or 16,900 ft. This is where we start our summit attempt and things get harder. We have only dehydrated food from this camp up. We wait until 10:30 am for the seven hour round trip to Camp 1 and back. We have heavy bags with much of our summit gear, food, and bedding. It’s fairly steep but not too far. They talk more in altitude to describe the effort and this was a 700-meter climb to and from. The group starts, and I am fiddling with my music and forget my poles. I have to sprint maybe a hundred yards, get them, and catch back up. I caught the group as they start a steep section with my heart rate still screaming. It takes a long time at the back to recover therefore starting a long day off bad. Halfway up, we are hit with a snowstorm and have to speed up once we get to camp. Guides George and Edward have to set up a tent for us to drop our gear. We eat and start down lightly loaded. Our descent starts with a hard cold snowy wind. Luckily, I brought my goggles and they helped. I learned a rapid descent technique in Africa skiing on scree. You look for loose piles of these big rocks and bail into them like a ball pit at Chuck E Cheese. The only problem is when you hit something solid it hurts, which is something I did half way down. The alternative is to walk the zigzag path we climbed up, causing me more blisters and my knee and back to get pounded. I thought I cut it but nothing too bad. When I get close to the bottom, I feel my pants getting tight and know something wasn’t right. Luckily we are back to Plaza de Mulas where the doctor looked at my already badly swollen knee and said it would need to be drained. They wouldn’t do it on the mountain because of risk of infection. I had no pain and good mobility, but could feel it getting stiffer. She gives me a shot of diclofenac and dexa medicine, and wrapped it in a compression bandage, and said it should slow or stop the swelling. I need to keep it elevated. Luckily again, we have a rest day and group walks to a glacier and back, so I can repack and take it easy. I still think I can climb. Doctor comes by to check on me but I am already in my tent. We have a physical tomorrow before the push. I hope things go better.
It is a snowy night. I keep kicking the snow off the roof on our ten. Roi, comes in and brings my Thermos, water bottles filled with boiling water to go in my sleeping bag, my bag of electronics, and 1.5 liter pee bottle, all of which important tricks to sleeping in the cold. I think of Lisa wishing she could see some of these beautiful things, but she would not like this.
The last off day meant a lot of repacking laundry and I tried to send news with marginal email. If the storm stays until tomorrow I may not get this out unless I am pulled and told I can’t continue. If that happens, I will have plenty of time.
We will have some amazing footage from the Brazilian cameraman.
Why: Only God knows
Why not: Sleeping with pee bottles
May be a long mule ride out.