Oct 19, 2012

Heading up the Mountain! Ama Dablam Camp 1 Gear Carry....

 I’ve had the so-called privilege of slogging, unacclimatised, huffing and puffing, air struggling to reach the deepest, darkest depths of my hypoxic brain up snow slopes and rock faces on various mountains across the world. During these times I pass each heavy footstep dreaming of the day when I can ‘walk’... no, skip... up these slopes and actually stop to enjoy the views rather than feeling like I’m about to keel over in exhaustion as my eyes glaze over…. 

Well, today the day came and all of the time and effort that we put into acclimatizing on Makalu rewarded us in ways that exceeded all of my hopes..! All I can say is, “Being acclimatized is AMAZING. Being acclimatised is the best thing EVER. Mountaineering is actually FUN!!!!!"

We set of from the comforts of basecamp at an absolutely FREEZING hour of 7am (the sun hits camp at 7.36am!). Even a 6am ‘hot towel with black tea’ does little to entice one from the warmth of a sleeping bag when the temperatures outside of the tent are well below zero. Having said that, as soon as we got moving and started to climb up the first grassy slope the warmth soon reached my finger tips and I found my stride… and never looked back..!

The climb up to Camp 1 is mainly on a grassy trail at a comfortable slope with absolutely stunning views all round. This is then followed by a short steep section of bouldery terrain with some nice big granite slabs. With the mighty face of Ama Dablam clearly in our sights, we took every opportunity to stop and take photos and take pleasure in the fact that we were walking at a comfortable pace without huffing and puffing..! Cholatse, the mountain that I attempted in the spring, was to our backs – also an absolutely stunning peak and illuminated by the sunrise – it made for a fabulous walk and had me dreaming of future projects and challenges.

We were heading up to Camp 1 to drop off our technical equipment to save us having to carry the equipment to Camp 1 during the climbing rotation for our summit push. When every ounce of weight matters we do everything that we can to conserve the valuable energy that will be needed during the main part of the climb. As I’ll also be carrying warm clothes and food on my next climb up to Camp 1, every opportunity to get rid of extra weight was most welcome. 

Camp 1 is perched on a ridge in the sunshine and providing a fantastic view of the route to the summit as well as the other Camps. Whilst the tent spaces are limited and the nights will certainly be cold, Camp 1 is stunning and will likely be the more comfortable of the 2 that we’ll be using on the mountain..! We made it up in about 4.5 hours and took an hour to refuel, take photos and start our descent back to Base Camp. A fantastic, rewarding, and satisfying day that really highlighted the levels of fitness we achieved on Makalu and the degree to which acclimatization makes such a big difference.

Between the 4 of us, we celebrated that evening over a delicious dinner complimented by Nepal’s finest rum and toasted to our next foray onto this stunning peak.


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