As with any event you prepare for, the day before is full of doubt. This climb is unlike Kilimanjaro or Aconcagua because I go into it healthy and with no injury or sickness. It is 9 p.m. and we get ready to leave at 1 a.m. It will take an hour since we have to rig harnesses for the top, and we will be climbing with fixed ropes along a steep ridge. We are on the glacier all day. The picture sent yesterday at 5000 meters was not the same today.
We took a snowmobile up and it was a blizzard, with poor visibility because of hard blowing snow. Christian and Illian brought skis and skied down. I spent time to get a little more acclimatization in. It was a rest day, but the weather was making it hard to rest. We returned to camp. The group has been split into two 4-person climbing teams. Since we made 5000 meters within the time limit we were cleared to go first tonight. The bad part is that we will have to take snowmobiles to the start instead of the SnowCat, which will drop us at 4700 meters. 1000 feet lower and two hours more into an already hard day.
The four friends from everywhere go the next day in the SnowCat, and they are still sick except for Fred from Oman. He is not as conditioned and had problems on lower climbs, but the altitude hasn’t had the effect on him like the rest of his companions and he is doing well. He helps us get water today, which is a chore that no one likes. Most are too sick to help. He freezes his fingers while filling the bottles. The group is fun to watch. They are very smart, speak multiple languages, and constantly making fun of one another. Their friendship is a beautiful thing.
The plan tomorrow is to summit and get to the ski lift before 4 p.m. It will get me out of this can and home two days sooner. Hope for good weather.