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Author Topic: Tuesday 31 august, IC- ABC, 5800-6400m  (Read 7570 times)


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Tuesday 31 august, IC- ABC, 5800-6400m
« on: Sep 4 2004, 19:22 »

We have to decide if we want to rest here for another day (or 2) or if we continue up with the yaks to ABC right away. It's a big step to go from BC
(5200m) to ABC at 6400m within 30 hours, but I feel quite good and want to try it. Also the fact that ABC will have the kitchen tent helps to make the decision ;-)

Mark Thijssen decides to join me, Werner, Ruby and Sander want to rest for at least another day.

Nima Dorje Sherpa aka Boka Lama takes us across the river 40m below and guides us up the moraine ridge we will have to follow the rest of the day.
Apparently the route has changed a lot and we have to search for a suitable place to get back on track.

To the left of the moraine ridge an amazing sight appears: it seems like dozens of giant Ice sharks are swimming underneath the glacier with only their icy and shiny white back fins sticking out of the dark and rocky glacier...

To the right more fins appear and a giant cave, straight from TinTin in Tibet, so maybe the Yeti hides out here?!?

The route continues along the ridgeand cannot be missed. I wait for Mark while eating some bread and cheese and when he appears he clearly is quite tired and slow, but feels ok otherwise. He tells me to just go ahead at my own speed and he will come later. Lakhpa Sherpa & the kitchenhelp Ang Gellu are still behind him and the route is not to be missed (just stay on the about 60m wide rocky moraine ridge between the glaciers), so it seems no problem.

I catch up with the Yaks at about 12.00 just when the ridge turns left to avoid bumping into 7500m Changtse and have some lunch there. No trace of Mark and the Sherpas, so I just continue following the Yaks, alongside a sea of ice sharks flanking Changtse.

At about 6200m the train has stopped and I walk to the front to see what is going on. A giant crevasse has opened up recently and the track is completely cut off, no yak can pass here and even with climbing gearit will be hard for us as well. The side of the crevasse ends in the sea of sharks and the Yak drivers and Sherpa Pemba decide to cut a large piece of ice out of it to create a new track.

They start hacking and beating the ice with an oldfashioned ice pick until there is an opening wide enough to let a laden yak pass. It takes about half an hour of hard work, but it works! We put some rocks on the track to create some more friction and the yaks go through, albeit hesitantly.

Only a few hundred meters a next obstacle appears: another new crevasse crossesour path. The sides are not to steep, but the bottom contains a river with little option to cross. But after dumping some large rocks in it the yaks are willing to get across.

The track turns right again as we are rounding Changtse. ABC should be straight ahead, about 100m higher and an half an hour's walk, but it is nowhere to be seen. The entire NE face and ridge of Everest appear though andI can see both the North Col as well as the summit Pyramid. They look so close!

But before we can get any closer we have to cross a huge new crevasse that apparently also wasn't there in the spring season. The yak drivers do not want to go any further and even Nima Dorje Sherpa does not see a solution and proposes to camp right here. But it's an impossible place,dirty with no flat spots whatsoever, so I start looking for a solution. The only place where the crevasse walls are not steep,a wildriver is flowing,but it doesn't seem too deep and together with Pemba Sherpa I start dragging large rocks into it. The yak drivers refuse to help, saying it is not possible, but after 15 minutes of out of breath throwing of all sizes of rocks the river seems passable for the yaks. The first one is being guided down and carefully steps across to the other side. Soon the others follow and the train is moving across the river.

ABC is only another 15minutes further up the ridge and although there seem to be no flat spots due to the glacier movements either, it it obviously a much better spot. It's 16.20, so almost 7.5 hours of hiking including the breaks and creating the track.

The yaks and their drivers dump their loads and dissappear quickly, leaving me with Sherpas Nima Dorje & Pemba and our cook Furba to set up our camp. My head aches from the altitude and the exhaustion of creating the way.

We put up a kitchen tent and small fake TNF VE25 tent for me to sleep in.
Even though my head aches and I feel exhausted I am still hungry and afterresting for an hour I head off to the kitchen tent for some food. Furba who is not feeling good himself is surprised to see me and serves mea portion of their dinner: Dal baht with some strange meat, very tasty.

Ang Gellu and Lakhpa Sherpa have arrived but no sign of Mark!

They had passed him soon after lunch but were not sure if Mark would continue all the way to ABC or turnaround and get back to IC as he was feeling good, but going very slow.

Meanwhile it has become dark and I head out with Lakhpa to whistle and shout out for mark, but we get no response.

I call Werner using our satellite phones to see if Mark had appeared back in IC, but he was not there either.

I ask Werner to call back in when the Yaks arrive in IC as they surely must have seen Mark on their way back from ABC and very likely Mark would have joined them down.

But when Werner calls in there has been no sign of Mark and the drivers had not seen him either; this was very strange and I am starting to worry now.
Although it is almost impossible to loose track, there are some tricky places like the crevasses which might be difficult to cross in the dark.
Mark was carrying a sleeping bag so maybe he stopped to bivvy?

Our ABC crew decides that the strongest members Sherpa Nima Dorje and Pemba will go down the track and go search for Mark,just in case. If needed they will go down all the way to IC, so they must meet him. Werner and I will keep our phones switched on to inform eachother of any news.

I return to my tent, but cannot sleep.

But only about 45minutes later I hear voices: Nima, Pemba & Mark!

It appears that Mark was only 15 minutes from camp when he bumped in to the last big crevasse. As it got dark and he had no idea if he was still on track he decided to bivvy right there and continue the next day...

But we are very glad he was in camp! Mark quickly fetches a mattress and jumps into my tent, finally we can sleep after another long day..

Marc Streefkerk has come up to IC alone today, Boris wants to rest a while longer BC and also has a new problem: he sprained his back when reaching for something in the back of his tent, it is not clear if this will keep him longer in BC than needed.

(Song of the day: Pink Floyd: Shine on you crazy diamond)
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