Ladies and gentlemen, today we have a guest writer, Dominic Renshaw, who has written this post from Mount Everest. He has been updating us all with some fascinating video footage. When that technology proved evasive, he wrote the following post. It’s in his words, completely unadulterated with no editing or alterations. Sure there are a few typos, but I think it’s proof that being dyslexic doesn’t stop you being a good writer.
Well the Chinese SIM card has stopped working, so video upload is proving difficult. Back to basics, written!
The rotation went well, I took it really slow and steady from Basecamp to ABC to conserve as much energy as possible and it worked. Felt good at ABC but a restless night sleep meant I was a little lathargic for the ice wall. No worries still made it up with plenty of energy in the tank. Words can not explain how desperately slow you move near 7000m, everything is just a huge task let alone climbing the icewall, which is near vertical in places. The last 10-20m is vertical and with so little oxygen it is a real test of character. To give an example just chatting at this altitude is difficult, let alone climbing. The temperature is cold, it must be -10c, add the wind chill and it’s anyone’s guess.You do not take your gloves off, just pop a pair of gloves on around the house and see how difficult it is to do the simplest of tasks.
We arrived on the Col and started to melt snow to rehidrate ourseves and food on a little gas stove in the tent. Ironically you have to warm the gas canister up to -7c by holding it or putting it up your jacket otherwise it won’t light.
Soon however the wind became brutal, and the tent was taking the brunt of it, we tried to sleep but this was never going to happen the sound of the wind was so load, and the condensation in the tent turned to ice and every gust of wind meant a snow shower on your face from the frozen condensation. Next morning it was same again get the stove on and rehidrate. Everything in the tent was soaked from the condensation. Then came the call from our leader Dave, its far too windy too move higher so off down the icewall to ABC. To be honest I was a little releived to hear this, we had achieved our goal of sleeping on the North Col, so no need to take additional risk. Getting ready can take over an hour as everything moves in slow motion, just putting you sleeping bag back in its bag can take in excess of 10 mins, and what ever you do, wear gloves while doing this otherwise your hands freeze within seconds.(only made this mistake once at ABC)
Finally ready we set off down the icewall, as soon as you got off the top the wind died down and the sun now made it blistering hot, I managed to burn my lips and tongue (No not from talking too much!) on the first rotation, I faired a little better this time just burning my lips. Nothing serious, couple of days will see it right. There is probably 6-8 large pitchers on the icewall, ranging in difficulty but a significant challenge to even experienced climbers. Finally back at ABC, wind was still playing it part, but got a great nights sleep as decended the 23km to Basecamp the next day in a little over 4hours. You walk down the glacier over millions of stones, imagine walking on a stony beach it’s a lot like that.
Looks like sleep will be essential so going to make sure earplugs are used all the time from now on so giving my body the best chance to recuperate.
A few other points of interest, which make it interesting!
1) Eating porridge every morning!
2) Ear 2 or 3 eggs every day.
3) Eating spam, not had that for years.
4) Drinking hot/warm water all the time.
5) Its either freezing, or scorching, there is no inbetween with the temperature.
6) Moving so slowly, it’s like someone is taking the piss.Imagine taking over 1 minute to walk across you front room.
7) Wearing the same clothes every day gets a little smelly.How many times can you turn your boxes inside out?
8) Taking a wet wipes wash is a luxury.
9) Wearing suntan lotion all the time.
But the views you see are amazing, the ones attached are from the North Col looking up to the summit.
All in all a great rotation, all goals achieved and the body is now acclimitised to 7000m+ so ready for the summit rotation. I’ll explain this tomorrow.
Thanks so much for all the support.
Thanks to Patrick McKnight for the photos from the North Col, far better than the one’s I took.