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Author Topic: May 4th & 5th: Up to the Col, ladders, dogs and Old Amsterdam for freedom!  (Read 3749 times)

Romke

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After breakfast we gathered our gear for the climb to 7000m. Lorenzo, Noel, Lynne, their personal Sherpa Lakcha and I took off around 10.15 and followed the well-trodden trail on the moraine towards the top part of the Rongbuk glacier.
After putting on our crampons we continued the trail on the flat glacier, the trail to North Col, opening up before our eyes.

The largest problem -that might have been a little unexpected- was the heat! When we started up the ropes the sun was so strong, that even climbing in just one layer (t-shirt), we heated up enormously and were out of breath all the time. I even burnt my tongue..
The first section is quite easy, just stepping up 50 degree angled snow and ice, changing from one rope to another every 50 meters or so.
The first steep section was more challenging, about 15 meter of vertical ice leading over a serac. But there were good steps made by previous climbers and with the help of an ice-axe and a jumar it was easily climbed, though the altitude left us completely out of breath..

Our dog, who had slept near Noel's tent, had followed us all the way to the glacier, to the fixed ropes, up the first section, but here, at about 6700m, she had to give up...

The ladder to North Col camp where Lorenzo is already waiting

Nate and John had just come down, after spending their nights at North Col and the dog followed them down..
The rest of the climb up was quite easy, though too hot to be able to get a good pace.

The last interesting section is only a few meters below our tents at the col.
The top crevasse that still had a snow bridge last September, has opened, and a 2 meter long ladder has been placed across. A few guideropes are strung across, so you can hold on and either run across or gently place your cramponed boots on the rungs, while trying not to look into the dozen meters deep gap...


Crossing the ladder to North Col camp

We just got comfortable in our 2 tents, when suddenly Robert & Nickolay appeared. We thought they would come up later, so now we had to improvise with the ample space in our tents. Combined with the low oxygen we had a sleepless night and were counting the seconds towards dawn...
The morning was nice, but it takes a long while to melt snow for 3 persons and it was already after 10 before we went out for a hike towards the real col.
Noel & Lynne took some RAW Outdoors (sponsor) and Barnardos (charity) pictures and we were all impressed by the sheer size of Everest's huge North Face, which we could see from the top to the very bottom...

We did not climb higher but descended back to ABC, mostly abseiling on the ropes.
While I was watching how Robert was going down the wrong (up) rope, I heard a familiar sniffle: our dog was back and welcomed me at the exact same spot we left her yesterday!
We ran down the hill and were down the slope in less than 45 minutes. Another hour later we were back in ABC, exhausted, but happy we spent a night at the North Col.

Lorenzo had decided to spend another night at Northcol, so while he was enjoying his high altitude Tortellini, he missed out on tonight's celebration: on the 5th of May The Netherlands celebrates the liberation after the 2nd World War. As it is already 60 years ago and Germany is now our closest economical and cultural neighbor, the concept of freedom in general is celebrated more than the defeat of the Nazis.
To feel a little at home I brought almost 3 pounds of Old Amsterdam Cheese, one of the most mature and tastiest cheeses available. Together with some Dutch 'Drop', liquorice, and Nepali Rum we celebrated our freedom and our luck to have the freedom to climb the wonderful heights of the world.


Old Amsterdam cheese and drop

Song of the day:
Funkadelic - Free your mind
"Free your mind, and your ass will follow"
« Last Edit: May 8 2005, 20:34 by Romke »
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annhall

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hi lynne noel and harry i'm amazed the dog is still with you considering the conditions you have talked about in the tents never mind the elements and the natural terrainyour surroundings sound and look spectacular. HOPE EVERYONE IS FEELING WELL AND KEEP GOING ....all the best from a very cold windswept northern ireland
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MaryClare

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Hello Harry and all

Thank you for updating us on your days at ABC and the North Col.  I was very happy to hear that your dog was still with you!  I can't believe that she made it to the fixed ropes and up the 1st section!  She really is "wonder" dog!  This dog seems like a very special part of this expedition.  I love that she was waiting for you at the same spot you left her.  What a loyal dog!  Please tell John that it was great that the dog followed him and Nate down to ABC.

Too bad you did not get a great night sleep on the North Col.  (A good night sleep seems so important).  It sounds like you made the best of it, though.

Enjoy!
mc
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MournesMan

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Wow!!  Great pictures Harry - scary crevasse!!.  I find it hard to comprehend what it must be like navigating those ladders across the crevasses - it would seem a bit precarious given you are on crampons.  Is there a large risk of slipping and falling through or off the ladders?

What a lovely dog - it reminds me of the dog we took with us on our ramble up Slive Donard in N Ireland (see earlier post for story).  We had decided to take her rather than leave her free to chase the livestock (sheep and goats).  She followed us to the top and shared (my) lunch with us at the Mourne Wall.  When we came down she seemed intent on staying with me and even jumped into the trunk of my car.  Your dog is amazing - how on earth can she manage to get up those near vertical sections (and in that altitude too!!!).  I guess she has some good quality acclimatisation under her belt  :lol)

Best wishes to the team and good luck for the next stage of the expedition.

Colin
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Michael and Ronnie

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Ronnie and I have been watching your progress. I have got vertigo. Ronnie wants to know have you met the Yeti yet (or the Yet yeti).
Look forward to seeing you Lynne when you get back for a curry and chips.

Good luck and see you in ''The Kathmandu'' (Castlereagh Road) 

Mike and Ran


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