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Text Box: Nicholas Rice
Extreme High Altitude Athlete
Text Box: Xpedition 8000

2007 Broad Peak Expedition

Dispatch Forty-One: July 20th, 2007

Day Forty-One: Summit Day; Cerebral Edema

Today, we all woke up around midnight and hurried to gather our things for our summit attempt. The weather outside was far from ideal with high winds and snow blowing around. I began melting snow for water which was taking forever and as Badia, Mauricio, and Jorge were ready to leave, I advised them not to wait for me as I still needed to melt an additional liter of water. They departed around 1:00am. I completed melting enough snow for my bottles and finished getting ready. I ate a small cup of noodle soup (something I was about to regret) and got on my way. As I began walking, my stomach didnít decide to corporate and I started to feel extremely nauseous. I struggled on, very slowly upward toward the group of headlamps above, never really finding a good pace due to my stomach problem. I managed to pass a few people, one of which decided then and there to turn around. I continued up, feeling quite weak and ill all the while. Summit day was turning out to be one of my worst days on the mountain. As I continued upward toward the col, I noticed Badia and Mauricio coming down and they stopped to talk to me. They advised me that it was getting quite late in the morning and there were still quite a few hours between me and the main summit and the conditions on the slope were quite hazardous for descent (deep soft snow under a hard crust with no fixed lines for security and scattered crevasses). They said that they believed I should start down, something I wasnít ready to do, so I bid them farewell, and watched as they descended to Camp III. I struggled on for another two hours and reached the col, where I had been keeping an eye on the extremely high winds all day. As they were still present, and I still didnít possess my usual endurance (something I now attribute to a sinus infection I contracted in Paiju and never managed to rid myself of, and the heavy carry to Camp III the day before) I decided to turn around about three hours short of the summit. The decision was quite difficult as I had been working all summer for this day, but conditions and my physical stamina werenít cooperating and I decided it was wise to descend. This decision was validated upon my arrival in Camp III where Badia pointed out my bluish lips and deteriorated physical appearance. As the afternoon continued, I developed a significant headache that didnít go away with ibuprofen. I drank as much as I could stand to the rest of the evening and decided that if the headache wasnít gone in the morning, I would take Dexamethasone (a potent corticosteroid that reduces the swelling of the brain that is the major symptom of Cerebral Edema, a condition I was now convinced I was developing). We waited for Jorge to arrive from the summit, and went to bed.

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