Post 6 High Camp 2 Nido de Condores (nest of the condores 18,300ft)
We have a rest day today at Camp 2. The summit push is on, but the forecast keeps changing. It looks like we have a window between storms on the 21st. Temperatures have warmed almost twenty degrees and it is now expected to be -9 on Summit Day, with winds around 35mph, which is great news. I am still suffering from apnea. Every time we jack up the altitude I have a bad night’s sleep with wild dreams, but after a day I am good. Max tells me the high respiration rate helps speed up acclimatization plus disgusting details, but I am filling a gallon canteen every night, which is also a good sign of acclimatization. I have gotten very good at getting up, taking on water going to the bathroom and back in my bag before I get cold.
My appetite is gone. I force down an eight-ounce cup of rice and beans for supper, and Max and guys fry fat bread for breakfast with tea and coffee. It will be that way for the rest of the push and I have 1200 calories of dehydrated meals left. Roi cooked a bag of macaroni and cheese and gave me half. It is 400 calories that I will save for breakfast and use to fuel the climb to our final high camp. I also have GU packs and chocolate for the summit push. I have my summit suit and heavy millet triple plastic boots I will use to get to high camp. With the warming weather, I may be overdressed, but I can unzip and cool off, a situation that is better than being underdressed.
At this altitude everything has to be done slowly; getting out of your bag, getting dressed, then getting up to your feet requires slow movements. If you stand too fast or bend over before your heart rate goes up, your brain is starved for oxygen and you get dizzy and have to drop to your knees and start over. I learned this the hard way, getting organized early, having the right stuff, and taking my time makes all the difference. My dreams are also as hard to control as my breathing at night. I don’t remember other mountains having had such bizarre nights. Maybe the negative communications I heard from the Communications Tent got into my dreams and expectations of failure keep me awake at night. I don’t know why, as I am already higher than most that got turned back and feel good. Once I wake, it takes a few minutes for me to convince myself things are okay and it was a dream.
I return here in two days to pick up my lighter boots and bibs. I will hire a porter to carry my summit gear back to base camp.