Text Box: Xpedition 8000

Dispatch Forty-eight: October 11th, 2009

2009 Shishapangma Expedition

Day Forty-eight: Climb to CI; High Altitude Theft Ruins Summit Plans

Today, after waking up at 6:00am, Mario and I had breakfast and waited for the sun to hit the tent before starting up toward Camp I. The winds were a bit calmer than yesterday, so we left Base Camp optimistic about our summit push. We reached the deposit in two hours, crossed the penitentes, then started up the final snow slope to Camp I. Upon arriving to Camp I, we were horrified to discover that someone had taken down our tent and all our equipment (probably the Sherpas of either the Chinese or French Expedition, both of which have left base camp). I had carried a tent up, but none of us had brought sleeping bags, as we were counting on the equipment that we had deposited at Camp I to be there so we were forced to abandon our summit bid and head down to base camp. I will add, despite high winds the previous days, we are sure that the tents were intentionally removed from Camp I as the shovel that was cached inside the tent was placed neatly in the snow next to the snow bars that previously had secured the tent to the glacier. We are also now suspicious that the Camp II and Camp III tents were also taken down and weren’t blown away (Andrew Lock had further secured the Camp III tent with snow bars before heading down and we were very careful to angle the Camp II tent so that the wind would blow around the tent, not hit the sides and weaken the guy lines). Exhausted from climbing in 60-90km/hr winds all day, we didn’t reach base camp till after dark (I was carrying over 35 kilos as well). Disheartened that someone could destroy nearly two months’ of work, steal close to US$10,000 worth of equipment, and obliterate our chances of summitting, we sent the message to our Liaison Officer requesting yaks and a jeep to take us back to Nepal. It appears that the Central Summit will be as high as any of us will be getting this season.

Photo: Left: Shishapangma viewed from the penitentes; Right: Kinga Baranowska at the start of the snowfield to Camp I


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