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

2009 Solo Manaslu Expedition

Dispatch Fourteen: April 6th, 2009

Day Fourteen: Puja Ceremony in Manaslu Base Camp

This morning, I was awakened around 5am by the drumming of the Buddhist lama in preparation for the puja ceremony. The morning was clear and all were awake. We ate breakfast then placed pieces of our climbing equipment at the chorten to be blessed by the ceremony. When the puja was finished, we returned to our tents, did laundry, etc. I decided to head down to the Korean Base camp to introduce myself and to ask about the route, as they had just returned from Camp II yesterday. They told me that the weather was good at camp II even when it as bogged in lower down, which was good news considering that it has been close to white out conditions at base camp in the afternoon every day so far. They plan to establish Camp III in the near term, weather conditions permitting. After Manaslu, they intend to attempt Dhaulagiri and Annapurna. After chatting for awhile and taking photos, I returned to base camp for lunch. The afternoon crept by slowly. I became so bored that I decided to refresh the staff’s crevasse rescue skills. We constructed different pulley systems using both minimal equipment (prussiks, simple pulleys) and more elaborate setups (self-jamming pulleys, mechanical ascenders, etc.). Finally a snow storm drove us into our tents. Enormous avalanches thundered in the distance as we constantly cleared accumulated snow from around our tents. The snow storm dumped a few feet of snow, making my carry to Camp I tomorrow impossible. One thing that I have found in my many expeditions is that altitude, bad weather, and egos don’t mix. Without mentioning any names, I was disappointed to see that a commitment made to me in Kathmandu to let me use the generator (which of course I would share costs) was now being ignored and used to exert power over me. When I suggested constructing a place where the generator would be protected from the bad weather but still be allowed to run, I was met by a firm “no” followed by the statement that the generator might not be started for many days from now. Somewhat infuriated by the statement, I returned to my tent to figure out an alternative, refusing to allow someone else to sabotage my website’s continuity and potential future sponsors. Luckily, the other team sharing base camp with us was very helpful, allowing me to use their solar panel/battery/inverter setup to charge my computer. This came as quite a relief as the only other option I had was to call Parajuli in Kathmandu to have him send a generator and fuel. This would have cost around $600.00 and would take 9 days minimum to arrive. I went to bed relieved and thankful to Mario Panzeri for his generosity.

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