The plan was to go up to Camp 1 on 28th September, for our final summit attempt, as time was running out. We were desperately hoping for the weather to be on our side for a change.
When we left ABC it was still quite windy and snowy and we climbed up the dreaded scree slope for one last time, still uncertain as to whether or not we would get above Camp 2.
We woke on the 29th to see windy lenticular clouds covering the summit above us, and we packed up and left for Camp 2 feeling pretty sure that this would just be a gear retrieval exercise. The climb up to 7100 metres was cold, windy and a fight with the elements and we were glad to crawl into our tents.
Wind and Snow
Well things have not really gone according to plan - as often happens in the mountains! The weather has been playing a few trump cards.
We did not actually leave ABC until the 24th and even then the weather looked rather ominous. We walked up to Camp 1 in misty windy weather - which was actually more pleasant than being in the midday sun, but did not bode well for the next day. The weather gradually deteriorated throughout the night with the gusts of wind threatening to blow the tents away - it was not a very restful night.
Onwards and Upwards
Our last despatch took us to the 12th September whereby our merry little band was still scratching at Cho Oyo's base like children trying to climb a candy tree. Much has happened in our little world since then, a microcosm splashed with exotic sun bleaching weather and tempered storms, exhilarating climbing marked by exhausting performances, avalanches and summit preparations. Read on and sit down if you must, as the Cho Oyo 2002 story is building up like a Nepalses monsoon block buster.
Base Camp to Advanced Base Camp
These updates are being sent via the Indian Ocean INMARSAT satellite.
On the 8th of September we left our comforts of Base Camp only to arrive at the comforts of Advanced Base Camp at an elevation of 5650m. Thanks to the great meals prepared by our cooks, everyone arrived in good health after the 22km journey and 5 day stay at base camp.
Kathmandu to Basecamp
The leader of this year's Cho Oyo Expedition is Russell Brice, assisted by his very able Sherpa team: Chhuldim, Loppasang, Karsang, Lachhu, Kul Bahardu and our regular yak men Chhuldim and Karsang.
The climbing team is made up of:
3 Australians: Ian, Simon and Mark; a Canadian: Stuart; 3 British:
Chris, Paul and Sue; assisted medically by James.
The team met in Kathmandu on 25th August and after obtaining visas for Tibet, flew to Lhasa on 27th August. We spent two days in Lhasa visiting the Potala Palace and various other sights. By now the group is getting to know each other and are still on speaking terms despite the disparate nationalities, although not surprisingly there is much verbal banter - mostly to do with sheep and what the Aussies think of the Poms.