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Author Topic: May 19th & 20th: Sweat on the snow and Russian medication  (Read 3003 times)

Romke

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It is chilly in the dark, and I am glad I can wear my The North Face Himalayan Suit, kind of a wearable sleeping bag, comfortable and warm.
We leave camp at 07.30 and slowly cary our heavy summitpacks up the moraines. I do not feel well, but do not know if this is just due to the lack of sleep and the early hour without breakfast, or due to the worsening of my throat pain.
I am glad for the break when we get to the glacier to put on our harnesses and crampons. It is nice to be all alone when the sun hits the glacier and we decide to take it easy.
But easy is all I can do and I tell Lorenzo to go ahead, while I struggle up the ropes and icy slopes.
I have problems breathing and swallowing hurts. It is hot on the slopes, I sweat, but more than usual.

Other climbers pass me and it takes more than 5 hours before I finally reach our tents at 7060m, where Lorenzo alrealy started the cooking.
"I will surely not be able to go any higher today" I tell Lorenzo; he was quite slow himself and agrees.
Many people comeup during the day and a long line up to 7700 camp is also forming.
We cook our Tortellini and though Lorenzo keeps on eating I just want to sleep. We test our oxygen masks on the bottles, it is amazing to see how even a very thin flow of oxygen immediately results in a jump of my pulse-oxygenlevel from 70 to 99%!


North Col camp

Something in the food disagreed with Lorenzo and he has to jump out for a sudden attack of diarrhea. He gets so dehydrated, he has to start the gas stove to melt more water in the middle of the night.
I just want to sleep, but everytime I put my head down, I have to cough until I get no air, so stay awake for most of the night, trying not to disturb my breathing rhythm.
Slowly we get to the morning, and instead of the expected sun on our tent, we are surprised by fresh snow!
I tell Lorenzo that I feel totally sick and even if the weather forecast would give us a window until the 22nd, I would never get up higher than 7700m, wasting valuable oxygen and maybe our only summit shot.
So even when Alex assures us by radio that the snow will stop within a few hours (it does),we decide to go down asap.
I feel worse by the minute and while Lorenzo is melting more snow for the descent, I try sleeping on a thin flow of oxygen, 1/2liter per minute. Again my oxygenlevel jumps to sealevel numbers and I feelreasonable for about an hour, only disturbed by painful coughing fits.

We go down the ropes while the majority of climbers on NorthCol go up.
The snow has stopped and it is really hot on the descent. Even though I am exhausted, we make good time and within an hour we are back at our cache at the end of the moraine. Just as I am taking off I see Sascha & Karo, 2 of our East european teammates appearing. I wonder if they want to go up, but apparently they heard about me being sick and came all the way up from ABC to help us.
People who know me, will testify that I do not easily give up my backpack, let alone, my camera bag, but when Karo and Sascha offered, I had no strength left to protest and so I went down to ABC without any luggage..
.
I crashed into the messtent and though the ladies from the Himex were visiting again for more Russian drugs & attention, Doctor Andrey immediately began testing me. Bloodpressure, many questions, temperature, resulting in a discussion with Igor, climbingmember, but also surgeon and knowledgeable doctor.
Together they hand me enough medication to kill a yak and advise me to go down to BC if I want to have any chance at all to climb anywhere on Everest this season..
I guess this means one more half-marathon at the height equivalent to the summit of Kilimanjaro, from ABC to BC, and then another back up a few days later. But I have no choice, I feel like slowly but surely dying up here and prepare my bag...

Meanwhile Victor & Marko and Volodia and his Sherpa have climbed from camp 2, 7700m to Camp 3, 8300m and will leave for the summit during the night.

« Last Edit: May 22 2005, 01:18 by Romke »
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