Post 7: I Get High With A Little Help From My Friends

Who sings it? We play games with each other testing our memory since most of us are around 60 we have a lot of fun with the old stuff. I did have to google, don’t laugh, the names of all telletubbies. Yes the altitude is getting to us.

Day 17 Crampon disaster: our first rotation up to high camps excited and feeling good. We will make 3 transitions the first will be 5 days 6700 meters to C1 and C2. We leave Base camp at 2am to make C1 by 9am. We walk about 30 minutes and get to crampon point when everyone throws on crampons for the ice to come. As I unpack my newly trimmed down bag I did away with my crampon holder and just strapped them to the outside of my pack. When I stopped I found only one crampon it has fallen out somewhere between crampon point and base camp. Time was getting late and main group had to continue without me. I felt silly if this would have happened higher up coming through the ice with one crampon is almost impossible and dangerous, valuable lesson learned. I backtracked my steps to Basecamp and found my single crampon back at base camp it fell out less than 20 ft from my tent. The other half of the team was to leave the next day so was able to join the group to C1 for 2 nights and then on to C2 for 3 nights.

Day 18 to 22 We join the first group and moved to a cold snowy C2 it was -20 the first night. I meet back up with my North Face inferno -40 bag and I need it. I wake in the middle of the night with the top of my bag covered with Ice. We have a dinner tent and cook which is a luxury at this altitude but still very painful to exists. I hear people coughing in tents around me and with me. We are now 2 per tent and it is a constant work in progress to keep warm. You have to make sure you have water and you toss and turn until morning comes and the sun heats your tent. It snows about every day and the blanket of snow helps insulate and increases temp plus 2 per tent the body heat keeps tent warmer. Still way below freezing. I develop a sinus blockage and forced to breath from my mouth without a cover. Trying to make my 3 nights at C2 I pushed a little too long and I wake the last day with my throat swelling and voice gone. I am not feeling good but you don’t feel great at this altitude anyways so I just write it off to the altitude. I feel a bit feverish as I head out and soon start struggling. I came up in good time making C1 and C2 in personal record for me. Now going down from C2 to Base Camp becomes harder than on the way up plus it is getting late and still have the Ice fall to pass. The day before there was a collapse that delayed passage and we were going through a new route. I get to C1 and get on ox and Dex to speed my trip through the ice. I get out and my walk to Basecamp is painful. Go to the BC doctor and make the call to drop down to Katmandu for treatment not sure where the swelling is from and since we have 5 days to rest at base camp the timing is good and I will recover faster at lower altitude.

Lessons to grandchild:

I didn’t secure my crampons to my pack. One fell out and I had to turn around at the base of the Ice falls returning to Basecamp.

Own your mistakes, don’t hide them. Sometimes they are embarrassing and make you feel stupid, but if you don’t accept and identify a mistake, you will not learn from them, and you’re sure to repeat it. The lesson will be lost. Embrace your mistakes as opportunities for growth. You don’t want to go through life with one crampon.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Hey friend, your crampon story reminds me of when we were coming down the Lhotse face in 2016 and both my crampons came undone. Had to wait for Dan to come re-tie them. Not a pretty site on a 70 degree vertical icewall. I felt so foolish. Then I managed to lose one of my gloves within the next 10 minutes after that. 🙂

    Get better and stay strong Gary. Very proud of you! KEEP POSTING!!!!

  2. I hope you’re feeling better, if not come back down.

Leave a Reply

Close Menu