We trekked up the winding path before we cut right, down an incline to the raging Dudh Kosi. We crossed by way of an old rickety bridge and climbed onto the moraine on the other side. The trek was slow and tiring but we made base camp in good time. It was about 11am by the time we stopped at the base camp stupa for a rest and snack. We rested a while, but knowing that we were racing the clock we pressed on for our first objective, camp 1.
The route took us out of Base camp around to our right and along the bottom of a grassy moraine ridge. We followed the ridge in to a saddle and onto a field strewn with rocks and scree. We traversed the field and as we came out of it we reached our camp 1. We set up our bivy under a small rock shelf and made some of our food. It was going to be a cold night followed by a very long day tomorrow. The plan is to go from here to the summit and back in one day! (This is a big commitment and a highly dangerous undertaking, however we felt we were both in a good position to do this, Pat had been climbing here for the past four weeks including Baruntse and Island Peak. I had just flown in from New Zealand having climbed on Mt. Cook and a few of the surrounding peaks. This we hoped would help us with acclimatisation problems)
It was still dark when Pat shook me to get ready. We got our things together and set off with very light sacks just carrying warm kit and food.
The rocky ridge was narrow in places and we made short work of it until we reached the famous Yellow Tower. This was going to be hard and was one of the bits I was worried about. I set up to lead it (we had been hoping to use other teams old fixed line but the previous expedition it seemed had cleaned the route of old ropes). I started out, struggled a bit and then dropped back onto the ridge. Pat then led this pitch of what he reckons was 5.7/5.8. I then seconded him onto the ridge. It was a relief to gain some height. We followed the ridge through a very messy camp that had four tents in it (they obviously didn’t clean it all)! and then dropped down onto a snow ridge which we followed.
Part 3 coming tomorrow…