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

2009 Solo Manaslu Expedition

Dispatch Thirty: April 22nd, 2009

Day Thirty: Descent from Camp III in Epic Storm

As morning arrived, I geared up (around 5am) and we yelled to the other camps to start down (safety in numbers in a storm like this). I led the way in the beginning, struggling to stay upright as wind gusts in the 100 mph range tested my coordination and stamina. The track from yesterday was completely gone and the snow was waist deep. Lina, Tamara, and I took turns breaking trail as the others from Camp III began following in our track. The whiteout obscured the route markers so we had to sit and wait at a flag for around a half hour till a short break in the clouds would reveal our direction of descent. Finally, we reached Camp II, exhausted mentally and physically. The rest of Lina’s expedition was there to meet her and Tamara, and the Koreans were in camp II as well. I was surprised, as the weather had deteriorated rapidly and was falling in course with the numerous weather forecasts we had received. The Koreans offered me tea as I repacked my backpack and redressed (the winds here were calm compared with above and down pants and jacket were no longer needed). A half hour later, I started down toward Camp I; visibility was still non-existent and progress was slow. I arrived to a buried tent, but was too exhausted from the morning’s events to dig it out. I freed the front door, threw in my harness and sleeping bag, and continued down to base camp which I reached in 45 minutes. I dumped my pack in my tent and had a cheese omelets and masala tea for lunch. Then I headed down to Lina’s camp for more coffees. We were visited by a Chilean climber who had just arrived with the Japanese Expedition. He said that he couldn’t decide which 8000 meter peak to attempt until he saw that there was a Spanish Female Expedition on Manaslu. A very interesting person indeed. I returned to my AGAIN broken tent (thanks to the base camp staff’s foray to Samagaon every time I am at high camps and the amount of snow that fell the past few days). I organized my things so that in the morning, I could fix the broken pole then recondition the now extremely bumpy platform. After this, I had a quiet dinner, occupying myself with my book, then went to bed.

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