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

2007 Broad Peak Expedition

Dispatch Forty-Two: July 21st, 2007

Day Forty-Two: Descent From Camp III with Cerebral Edema

Today, I awoke at 5:30am from a very difficult night of on and off sleep. My headache and the high winds outside had kept me up almost all night. I decided to take the Dexamethasone for what  I was now sure was Cerebral Edema. After waiting for the pill to relieve my headache, which it didn’t do, Jorge and I prepared our packs for our descent. Jorge was eager to help me get down quickly as descent is the best treatment for cerebral edema. He bravely ventured outside into the 80mph+ wind to help expedite our departure and take down the tent. I meanwhile struggled to put on my harness for upwards of twenty minutes. After we were all ready, and the tents were down, we started down, carefully bracing ourselves against the extreme winds. Upon our arrival at the fixed lines below camp III, Badia asked me if this was the fixed line down to base camp to which I replied ‘yes’. Obviously not altogether mentally present, she and Mauricio descended on either side of me so they could keep an eye on me in my altered mental state. Mauricio later told me that when he looked back to check on me, I had absolutely no expression on my face and that it was like looking into the eyes of a zombie. Upon our arrival at Camp II, my condition improved considerably and I continued down in front, arriving at Camp I about an hour later. There, we took an hour break to relax and sort out how we were going to get all our stuff down the mountain. After this deliberation yielded a decision, we continued down the steep, poorly placed fixed line under Camp I. About half way down, the Georgian was standing at the anchor between the fixed lines, yelling at the people below him in Russian. I arrived and asked why he had stopped to which he replied that he was unable to move on the heavily loaded rope. We stood there for twenty minutes to the bewilderment of the Mexicans who were waiting above, all  the while he was screaming profanities in Russian. Finally we moved and descended the stale snow down the Camp 0.5. I waited there for Badia to arrive. When she did, she said for me to go down ahead of them as they would most likely take quite some time. I continued down the heavily deteriorated route which resembled a waterfall cascading down the slope. As I neared the base of the route, it began to rain, which made conditions even more hazardous. As I changed ropes at an anchor, a number of huge boulders tumbled down from at least 200meters above. I ducked away from them and hoped that was the end. I continued down and negotiated the final moraine to Base Camp. I was greeted by our liaison officer and his friends and later by Bill and Dirk. After the Mexican arrived, we all had dinner and the summit cake for Felix and Jorge and went to bed.

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