Most of my team has now arrived in BC. They need to stay put a while to acclimatise. On the 16th I climbed to Camp 1 with Alex, Pawel and Mario. I had been sitting around in BC for nine days waiting for my climbing gear to arrive. I ended up having to borrow boots,crampons, axe and harness from various people in order to go. My own gear finally arrived later on the 16th while I was on the mountain.
I carried all my sleeping gear to C1 and left it there so I don’t need to haul it up next time. I also carried a few bits of gear for Mario since he was letting me use his tent.
C1 is situated at 6173m according to GPS, so about 700m above BC. The route follows an easy snow slope along a ridge to reach a snow plateau. From there it traverses rocky terrain covered with snow then goes up a snow ramp. From there to C1 is all on ice, fairly steep with an average angle of maybe 50 degrees and the occasional steeper section. This had all been fixed by the Russian expedition a couple of days earlier so was not a big problem, but I found it very exhausting. I spent a quite comfortable night at C1. Coming down from C1 the next day took only two hours.
I am writing this on the 18th and my team has just had it’s Puja ceremony. This basically involves asking the mountain for permission to climb and the Sherpas will not go on the mountain before it has been held. The Sherpas plan to carry some gear to C1 tomorrow morning and most of my team will also climb to C1. I intend to wait until the 20th and climb to C1, sleep, then climb to C2 the following day. I will be climbing with Pawel, Alex and Mario again. This time though a sherpa, Dawa, will also come with me (since we have had the Puja).
Attached is a picture of me on the traverse on the way to C1, taken by Alex Gavan.