Text Box: Xpedition 8000

Dispatch Fifteen: September 8th, 2009

2009 Shishapangma Expedition

Day Fifteen: Carry to Depot Camp

Today, Mario and I woke up at 7:00am, had a quick breakfast, strapped on our boots and packs, and headed out toward depot camp. The way had changed for me in two years and even more so for Mario (he was on Shishapangma in 2005 and reached the Central Summit, around 30 meters lower than the Principal Summit). Rockfall and mudslides seems to have destroyed the somewhat moderate path that we had the luxury of following in 2007. Instead, we had to climb up big piles of rocks only to climb back down them two minutes later. It made for frustrating terrain. Finally Mario had enough and we decided to just climb to the top of the ridge and follow it till it dropped us off at the route higher up (hopefully at a point where it was a bit less erratic). We arrived to Depot Camp in three hours, dropped off our gear, spoke briefly with Carlos Paunerís group who had made an acclimatization hike to depot camp (aka they didnít carry any heavy gear, only hiked up to the camp to gain better acclimatization), then started down toward base camp. The weather turned from sunny and warm to quite cold with light snow. We arrived back at base camp at 2:30pm and quickly opened up a Lhasa beer and warmed up in the mess tent. While we were relaxing, two Tibetans from the Tibetan climbing expedition came into our tent and spoke with us about rope. Apparently they were trying to set up a system similar to Everest South Side, where the icefall doctors (a group of experienced Sherpas) set all the fixed lines and all the expeditions in base camp pay to use the lines. Shishapangma, however, is not Everest, and the only fixed lines that are useful are a few meters prior to arriving to Camp I (thanks to some nasty crevasses) and just before Camp III, where the terrain is only moderately steep. The two Tibetans were basically mandating that we pay to use their ropes that they would place as they said from the depot camp all the way to the top. Absolutely ridiculous. The majority of snow slopes on Shishapangma fall between 20 to 40 degrees, nowhere steep enough to require fixed lines. The few fixed lines Mario and I will place (only for added security on descent) are right before Camp III and just after where we will need to rappel to access the Inaki or Polish route for the summit. We told the Tibetans that we werenít going to be climbing to the summit on the normal route and that we wouldnít use their lines, as we brought 400m of fixed lines, 100 meters of which I carried up to depot camp today. We suggested that they bother the commercial expeditions who have yet to arrive for their profiteering and leave the small independent expeditions alone. We also suspect that their expedition was the reason that† the yaks were so expensive this year, as we were told that they paid nothing for their yaks, and are sure that they also paid nothing for their peak permit and are somehow part of CTMA, as no liaison officer was present when they arrived.† They finally left our tent and we got on with our afternoon.††

 

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