Text Box: Xpedition 8000

Dispatch Forty-seven: October 10th, 2009

2009 Shishapangma Expedition

Day Forty-seven: Final Preparations for Final Summit Push

Today, after breakfast, Horia, Kinga, and I worked on preparing our backpacks for our summit push. As we can’t see the tents anymore in Camp II or Camp III, we are more or less approaching this summit push in alpine style (carrying everything we will need to camp and moving camps up the mountain vs. expedition style where we arrive to pre-stocked camps). The Japanese Sherpas have changed their minds about working with us to break trail to the lower camps and instead are lazily heading up the day after we make the way. It appears now that the four of us, Horia, Kinga, Mario, and I are going for the summit push alone, and aside from the Japanese lady and her two Sherpas, will be the only people up on the mountain or for that matter, in base camp. Kinga and I are quite worried about the Camp II tent, as both of our down suits are inside, so if the tent has been blown away, we will have to somehow improvise another (layering long underwear layers, fleece layers, and Gore-Tex, all of which we are carrying up tomorrow). If Camp III is gone, I will have to go for the summit in my regular gloves (as my down mitts were inside the camp III tent), something that worries me a bit, as the nerves/circulation in my fingers are already damaged/reduced thanks to minor frostbite on K2 exacerbated by the cold temperatures on Manaslu. The weather report showed a slight improvement on the 14th; winds are now forecast to be 40km/hr as opposed to 45km/hr. It will surely be a very cold summit, but we are encouraged by the sight of what appears to be ice and very little snow on the route; this will make the traverse and face climb much faster than it was for Andrew and Neil, thus exposing us to fewer hours of sub-zero temperatures exacerbated by severe wind-chill.  We will start for Camp I tomorrow at 7am.

Photo: Left: The final moments of light on Shishapangma’s upper slopes, blasted by wind; Right: Camp III on our last summit push… It now appears that all the tents have blown off the ridge, as they are no longer visible from base camp with binoculars.


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