Sunday, May 31, 2009

the summit!!!!

10th std board exams-not prepared-not nervous
12th std board exams-not prepared-not nervous
Meeting the president-not prepared –not nervous
Performing-even if not prepared-never nervous

At the south col. Or camp 4-prepared as hell, everything ready,-me nervous as hell!!
I was hating that feeling….of feeling nervous…..and it was a strong nervousness….had seen the mountain….while coming up to camp 4….finally the route…and all that…..it almost looked impossible to climb in a day…..and come back….it looked massive….huge tall….hovering…….i chose not to look at it that much….it had not been so tough….mentally to reach here….but now that I was here I was shivering….physically it had been…well quite demanding…..was able to fulfill those demands of this mountain and still manage to keep some for my self…..

We had left EBC on the 17 th morning at 4:30 am…..the first and foremost challenge was the ice fall….and knowing we had lost someone right here…just some days ago we were all a little pensive about how it was gona treat us…..but we slowly slowly fastly made our way through it…..meaning very carefully yet fast….we had reached camp 1 by 9am….we heated some water and had some chai at our lone tent standing at camp 1…and then was the part that I dreaded more than even the ice fall….i thought I would be able to do better than my earlier time….as there was a bit of cloud cover…..and so the sun was milder…..but just as we started out…it magically cleared out as if someone had read my mind and been like huh!!....so anyway….we walked the sizzling snow to camp 2….this time the way seemed longer …..probably because we were goin directly from base camp to camp 2…..Henry had reached camp 2 at 9:30 am leaving probably 15mins before me…..Yura had reached by 11am….Nick had reached by 12….and I reached at 3pm….and Bud by 3:30pm……it was a terribly long walk…..these guys are just really tall and their 1 step is like my 3 so it was understandable…..but….i knew the next day was gona be a relax day…..so I wasn’t much bothered by my tiredness….besides we had had a terribly long rest down at Pheriche….. i was fearing that we must have started to lose our acclimatization....so the slow rising up…helped me…I guess….so I had some soup….my head was hurting right behind my eyes…..and so I gulped down 2 bottles of tang…..then had some more soup…..and then some noodle soup and then I went straight to bed……I knew I would sleep well considering I was pretty much tired…..i got tucked in by Gyalu as usual…and he stayed till I fell asleep……and then went on for his dinner….i slept really cozy with my hot water bottle in my hands and the feather jacket wrapped around my legs…..tomorrow was a rest day so no getting up in the blistering cold….but invariably I was awake at 5:30 am…..wanting to go to the loo….i could hear the winds lapping all the tents at the campsite…and just the thought of getting out of the warm sleeping bag was frustrating to me…. So I decided to not think of it and continued to sleep….i was in that semi conscious mode…..at 6;30am I finally decided to get out…..when I got back I was shivering…..the winds were making a havoc out there…..and some guys were summiting today as well…..i wondered what it would be like on the summit……and went back to sleep…trying to clutch the now warm water bottle….while again in the semi conscious mode…I could hear someone moaning…..but I wasn’t sure…actually I was just plain asleep….and that moaning to me was from my dream…..and then I floated from being semi….to completely sleeping…at 8:30am I was awakened by screaming outside…..not right outside my tent but….close by….Bud was on one side of my tent and Yura on the other……and I couldn’t exactly get what was being said in all the screaming…..but it was definitely not for Bud or Yura…..and then finally I heard among all the screams….HENRY! HENRY!....and I was like shit!! What now??....i pulled my feather jacket on and ran out….there were a lot of sherpas…and some other people gathered out….Henry was in his tent….and I could hear Puchhanga (Bud’s Sherpa)saying “Henry stay awake…you are ok….just breath….henry ,henry…listen to me open your eyes…henry henry”my blood froze…I dint know what exactly had happened to him….but he was the fittest of all of us….besides he and me had done our rotation together….and had done only one…..if there was something wrong with him…then I wondered how far behind was i…..we were at 6320mtrs….and at this height anything could become a problem….i wondered what it was that had happened to him….there was just too much commotion at that point…sherpas were getting the oxygen bottles out…the regulator was being fixed…..the mask was being looked for….two sherpas were sent to go look for doctors on the camp site….like I have said earlier the camps are really set widely….there were men communicating the exact condition…….”of male victim..46yrs old….” To the HRA Himalayan rescue association…..down at the base camp….and they were telling them what they should do….i finally spotted Gyalu in all this and asked him what the hell had gone wrong……he wasn’t sure but he said that “….was calling out for help from tent….then came out and fell on the rock…..then sherpa help to take him in tent ….then he have seizure….then he do combat…and now his eyes go behind” he said it matter of factly…..simply…..like it was normal….Henry was calling out for help cause he was in some kind of pain....after no one came he got out of his tent to get help……but he slipped and fell on the rocks….then Perba(Nicks Sherpa) saw him and got him in the tent……his nose and face was bleeding…..and then he went into a seizure….after which he was being angry or was trying to fight the people trying to help him….the doctor said it was also a concussion….basically a head injury….by the time the doctors had arrived he had started to not fight…..and was calming down…..breathing now….in the next 15 mins he was given some shots….and soon he was talking to the doctors….initially he couldn’t remember his own name….or where he was….or who Yura was….but now he could remember…..though he was still quite sure he was in base camp….he had to go down now…it was over for him…..head injury is a strict no no….and so his bags were packed and he was dressed…..the doc. Was telling the HRA that she would try and get him to walk….she was just worried of the ice fall….she was the doctor of the Coratian team….and she agreed to walk with him till camp1 just in case he had another concussion……which was possible in case of head injuries at high altitudes…..my heart sank….my confidence cracked and I felt like it was all gona crash down on us….Henry was standing there with the support of one Sherpa and the doctor…the guy who had climbed to camp 2 as fast as a sherpa….i had just developed a good rapport with him…and we had just began to crack jokes just between the two of us….and on this lonely trip of mine I had finally made a friend…..and I was looking forward to summiting with him…and pooooof…..he was going down…he called out to me as I stood hiding behind the crowd of sherpas….. I gave him a heartfelt hug…..and let go…it was best if he went down…..it meant he would live…..this height could do anything to you….in minutes…and you wouldn’t even know….. I went back to my tent….the sun was shinning brightly today….Puchhanga and Gyalu and Perba were going down till camp1 to leave him and then some other sherpas were coming up from base camp to get him….it was quite depressing…..i lied in my tent for a while and then I decided I had to shake it off me…..and I did…I started planning for ahead…the packing…what all did I absolutely need and what I absolutely dint need….and what I could do without….and the brat that I am I put my kajal in the first thing…..ahahaha…I did and I left my toothpaste and brush….see…..what I absolutely need….and what I could do without…..comm’on you don’t expect me to brush at those temperatures…..im quite proud of myself to be even brushing at camp 2…….anyways so I sorted things out…the socks the jackets….the more important things….what I would carry myself and what I would give Gyalu….he came back by 2pm…..then he went had lunch and then we packed together…..tried to make fun…..with what we don’t need……like sleeping bags…..or water bottles…..i had chosen to eat in the kitchen tent instead of the dinning tent…in the dinning tents my team mates talked about how bad things were….how they must have evacuated Henry….how if this had happened he would have been no more and if that ….this…it was depressing and suffocating while in the kitchen tent Nima dai’s(our camp 2 cook) jokes and the sherpas laughter would keep the mood light….even if they were the ones that had actually gone down with the victim…..so we then went in for dinner…..i had noodle soup that I oh so love so much….infact that night in the fear of not having enough energy for the next day I had two full servings of the noodles…as usual Gyalu came to tuck me in….and after he though I was asleep he left…..but I was not asleep….i was awake…..and some or the other thoughts kept coming to me…..i heard Bud dial and talk to someone….and I had just such an urge to borrow his phone and call my mother and tell her all that had happened today….just tell her….let her know….let someone know what I had seen….it would have helped me get some weight off….and I tried counting sheeps….dint work….i tried humming…..and moaning…and screaming in the sleeping bag…..i put on my torch and read all the tags ….then I tried to sleep on my stomach like I do at home….but that DEFINITELY dint work….i adjusted my pillow…..then went to the loo….then yelled out to Gyalu to come back to the tent….may be that would help…to sleep….it dint for a while…..and then Gyalu was snoring……and I was still wide awake…..had some water…… and then I think I fell asleep…..i thought i would not have enough energy the next morning coz I hadn’t slept till 10 last night which is very late for the mountains…..but I was quite energetic when I got up at 5:30am on the 19th of May …ready to go to camp 3….went and had some hot black tea and cornflakes in the kitchen tent and we were ready to roll…..Partemba dai had asked me to use oxygen from here….though there was no real need for it….it would preserve my energy for the next few days…..if I used it now….so reluctantly I obeyed….put on my mask…..put the oxy on 1 and started of…..i was feeling quite uncomfortable….i dint see that it was making me walk any faster…..and it was uncomfortable…..but because Partemba dai had said it I continued to walk with it….once we reached the jumar point I decided I wanted to go without it….it would have been really uncomfortable…..so I pulled it of …..and climbed the Lohtse face….this time it felt much simpler and the camp came much faster than it had come earlier….the NIM team was right behind me….their tents were the first tents in camp 3…..mine were the 4th row of tents…..about 20 mins apart from each other……I had reached camp 3 in 5 and a half hours…...i wasn’t exhausted but I was dehydrated…..and now I was climbing with my new Millet everest shoes….which had managed to give me a pain on my heels….it had made them numb and stiff….and it was funny that my heels felt that way….coz I thought my toes would feel like that……the moment I reached camp I gulped down some hot juice….and then some hot tea…in the fear of developing a headache…..took my crampons off got inside the tent…..changed my socks….the tent was as hot as an oven…..you wont believe how hot I was feeling at 7300mtrs….but it was really hot and I peeled off the layers I was wearing till I was wearing my thermals and a t-shirt…..i had to be sucking on oxygen as I sat in the tent…the heat in the tent made my face sweat…plus the mask made it hotter…..the uncomfortable ness took my mind off the tension of moving to camp 4 the next day….which was supposed to be a terribly long walk/climb….i had some noodles and bournvita….and tried to sleep but the tent was too bright and yellow to be able to sleep in it….but gyalu managed to start snoring as soon as he lied down….and I was so jealous of him….i listened to some music…..and dreamt of the summit day….and how I was gona be so energetic….and how I was going to run up….and be so strong while coming down……and that I was going to come down……there are no objective hazards after camp 3…..meaning no crevasses…..no avalanche prone areas….no rockfall….it was just the increasing height which could pose a problem…..and your own body….nothing else…..and of course slips and falls could be a problem….i was hoping my body kept well internally…..so kept drinking water….as the evening came close the weather became cloudy….and it began to snow…..we had decided to have dinner by 4…and off to bed by 5….so gyalu got up at 4…..we made some noodles again…..some soup…..had it…..packed for the next day…..i went to the loo….put on my feather down suit…..which is like the boiler suit…..or the kind of suit mechanics wear……like a dangree….but it felt nice and warm….it was just a pain when you had to go to the loo….the rainbow zip on the butt wont work….and as it is I was wearing two thermals inside….so I would always have to pull the whole suit off to go take a leak which was a very very cold procedure…..anyway….was ready for bed at 5pm…..i was quite sleepy and the brightness of the entire day had made my eyes burn….i slept well at camp 3 with the oxygen in my sleeping bag….. we had planned to leave by 5am…..but we managed to be completely ready and leave by 6am on the 20th of May….everyone at the camp was getting ready….outside their tents…the last things…the harness…..the crampons…..and the masks….and then we lined up at the fixed line and started the climb……had to go around a bulge of ice on the face and then straight up at a 90 degree till we came exactly in the line of the yellow band……and a right angle turn to the left……till the yellow bend…I thought this traverse would be easier to walk than the vertical bit….but it seemed to take longer….the yellow band is limestone that has marks of all the possible climbers that have moved over it with their crampons….its a vertical push again…..but it lasts for only 30-40 feet……after which its again a traverse slightly at an angle connecting to the Geneva Spur….which is a black rocky spur which goes at a diagonal …and then over the ridge…..and then a straight walk of 15 mins to South Col. Or Camp 4…….a lot of people were coming down…..summiteers …from the 19th….and we exchanged congrats and best of lucks all the way up to Camp 4……I reached Camp 4 at 12:30pm….it had again taken me 5 and a half hours to get here…..i wasn’t exhausted….i felt good….but looking at the challenge that stood RIGHT before me now…..i became nervous….it really looked huge, big, massive, and scary…..the wind was working its way now….the view from the col. Is beautiful….can see Nupse, and Pumuri , And Cho Oyu…..the clouds were making beautiful patterns far to the right of Nupse……and also around Cho Oyu…..as Gyalu set up the tent for the afternoon….i watched the happenings of camp 4…..there was so much garbage around I almost felt like running around picking it up…it was the gas cylinders, food packs, used socks, broken water bottles, and loads of other crap,….i got inside the tent…..got my shoes and soaking wet socks off, changed to a pair of warm new socks…..made the tent cozy …and settled down for the afternoon…..had water….and made soup…..i was nervous as hell but dint say anything….had to spend time till about 7 in the evening…I knew I would be fine once I would start climb…this was the night of the summit….the first attempt..it was THE night…..i tried to sleep….so I had energy for the night….i put some laughing cow cheese down my throat….some biscuits….some dry fruits……and soup….and tried to sleep again….but just dint manage to….cuddled myself into my sleeping bag ….and just sat with my eyes closed…..i dint know wether I will be able to do it….i was really scared at this point and my heart was beating really fast…..i really wanted to talk to my mother….i just wanted to talk to her….but there was no way for that and besides I wouldn’t have actually spoken to her…..it would have been just too difficult…..so I just tried to think of good things …..good dreams…..Apa Sherpa came in and told me that I had to leave by 8:30pm……I asked him how long it takes to the summit…and he said “well it depends on your speed some take 13 some take 10”….so I asked him how long he takes…..”about 5 to 6 hours”….and I was like phew….i wondered how long I would take….i thought I would take 13 hours….we started getting ready at about 8pm….and we were completely ready by 9pm and started off…..the initial part is flatish and it gradually increases gradient up till it reaches a 65 degree to 70 degree ….and then the surface begins to get rocky ….and the foot doesn’t know how exactly to place itself between these rocks with the crampons…… but after the first bit I managed to be able to do it smoothly….i was keeping in pace with the other climbers….you could see a line of white lights all the way to the balcony….(a feature that stands at 8500mtrs…a flatish space before the South-east ridge)……the moment we reached the balcony we got our water bottles out….drank the warm grape juice changed the oxygen cylinder….took a leak….and this my friend will be the coldest most uncomfortable leak I have ever taken……I had to get my harness off…it was a painful procedure….anyway….the line of lights….had reached all the way till the south summit…the line of climbers had lighted up the whole way up to the south summit…..the NIM Indian team had left at 7:30pm….so they were all the way up there…..seeing this longer line of lights my enthusiasm and energy shot 5 times higher…..it was 1:00am now…..which meant the sun would be out in the next 3 hours…if not out at least there would be light…..there was some wind but it wasn’t really troubling me……I think I had left no room for it anyway…..coz I was wearing two thermal pants….one windproof pant….one thermal top…..two t-shirts, two sweaters and then the down suit…..so I was packed….besides three pairs of socks….two facemasks…a pile woolen cap…..the wind wouldn’t dare bother me with all that…..we started off again….there was some snow climbing and then two big humps of rock……and then some more snow vertical climbing to the south summit….there was lightning happening far behind Lhotse…..probably in India…and we were above it all….there was little lightning happening in china as well ….it looked beautiful….like as if that whole region was partying…..while on the ridge we spotted 3 lights on the Tibet ridge also climbing…..then the moon rose….it was a crescent and a bright star folloew it shortly…probably the shukra tara…it looked beautiful….im sorry but I couldn’t wait to take a picture…the climbers were moving really fast……and dig into the pockets to get the camera out was not possible…..that image remains only for my eyes….maybe I’ll paint it sometime….slowly after the moon the eastern horisen started changing its color to a deep orange to yellow….till the horizon from the base of the mountain was a sea of clouds…..so it looked like u could just dive into their softness……the sky had its shades too…..from a dark blue on the west to a light blue in the east…..the shading by the sun….that had not yet risen……I was just below the south summit….i was quite excited to reach the south summit….and the moment I reached , my jaw just dropped……the hillary step stood right in front of me now……THE HILLARY STEP……something I had seen at the NIM……a poster that says ”the army team negotiating the Hillary step”…….and that’s what I thought at this moment…..it looked exactly like that…..as if I was standing right in front of that poster….in NIM the poster is right in front of the staircase that’s there after coming up from the dinning hall….and here as I climbed the steep bit of the way to the South Summit….that same picture came in front of me……this was the most exciting moment….well till then….it was magical…and then the sun rose….slowly …..like saying…..may I add to the beauty!!!!??......and then in the west the most massive huge and dark thing began to rise…..like a ghost….and it took my brain 2 seconds to realize what I was watching grow to my left……it was the dark shadow of MT.EVEREST….the tallest most longest shadow ever…..it went higher than the horizon……it is the most beautiful thing that I have seen…..and I think it will remain to be the most beautiful thing I will ever see……I spent some time trying to click pictures…..the battery froze after a while…..i loved it here….at the south summit….you can see down from here till the balcony…..and up till the SUMMIT…….it looked like you could just hop skip jump till the summit from here……looked like it was 15mins away……but it was not….it was 5 am……and I left for the summit…..you climb down the south summit and then your walking on the cornice ..till you reach the Hillary Step…a little climb….then theres this huge stone that’s there that you have to sit on….like you sit on a horse…..but then you are attached to the rope….and so there’s a 20,000 feet drop all the way to camp 2 on one side and a small gap on the other side…..and I couldn’t spin from the drop side coz I was clipped in to the rope….and I couldn’t get my leg to this side from the gap….coz my leg was too fat for that…..and I struggled a bit on this rock….as yura….my teammate who had summated was on his way back….as he waited and laughed at me……and I climbed back down and came up in another fashion….and then passed him…congratulated him…and went ahead….this was my funniest moment on the summit day……’stuck in a funny situation’……then I met Nick after the Hillary step……congratulated him…..and then I met the NIM team…….one by one…..all the sirs…..and I congratulated each one of them……as they all made their way down the mountain….i had all my energy…..and I knew now that there was no stopping…..this was the time that I knew there was no turning back for me…this was when I had ABSOLUTELY no doubt that I could DO IT!!!!!......i had heard stories of people turning back at the south summit….i knew I was not gona be one of those people now……I slowly but surely made my way to the top…..as I was getting close to the summit the wind began to pick up some more momentum….and I was a little doubtful of whether my cameras would work ….at least one of them should work…..at least once was all I was hoping for…..just once god…..at least just once….and as I reached the summit I thought…..wow I am standing on the highest point ON THE FACE OF THIS FREAKING WHOLE WORLD……I have done it…..but the other thing that remained in my head was that…..i have to go back…..this is not over yet…..this was a PART of the trip…..its not the end……this is just HALF the way……like a very intelligent mountaineer once said…..the SUMMIT is OPTIONAL…….RETURNING IS MANDATORY…….so the summit was done….it was the returning that had to be done now……and that was gona be a loooooooooooooooooooong long way……the wind continued its moking for a while….i looked around….trying to see what I had heard about the summit…..of how one was suppose to feel….and how people react on the summit…..now when I think of myself on the summit….i think I was a bit too mechanical….or just way too perfect perfect….i clicked the necessary pics….there was a british woman whose camera stopped working so I clicked her summit pictures…….and then another Indian Tapi came…..looked over at the Tibet side…..was hoping to see the climbers from that side but dint spot any……looked at Mt.Makalu……it looked beautiful…..and ChoOyu…and Pumuri……was wondering if I could see the Indian skies from here……then realized that I was standing right on the border of Tibet and Nepal…and I thought to myself what a weird border compared to the other ones in this world….like the wagha one…..then tapi was taking a vedio and asked what I felt like doing and I said I wold just like to tell my mum that I did it…..just let her know….and then we realized we hadn’t told Partemba dai that we had reached…..so we called him over the radio and told him…..and I yelled out to him that I had done it…and that he should let my mother know….and then we had to leave…..we had been on the summit way too long…..so we changed our oxygen bottles….and started on our way down……I met Apa Dai…..just before the Hillary step…and he congratulated me……and I continued down…….at the south summit I again got my camera out…..but gyalu said that we souldnt waste time….and I thought to myself ….”not gona get this chance again’so I clicked pics all the way down…..not of myself but the surroundings…..the sky was as clear as could be ………and as the rock bumps came I wondered to myself as to how the hell I climbed this…..and how the hell is it that I am gona go down……safe…..in one piece….i rapelled in the vertical bits…..and walked down the not soooo steep ones…….i was back at camp4 at 12:30pm…….i bum slid the last 20 feet….just for the fun….and that my heels were numb due to the shoes….when I reached camp….Nick and Yura were getting ready for to go down to camp 2…..i was just entering so I decided to stay the night here….and enjoy the view the height……and STAY at the south col….just extend this rendezvous…with the tallest of all beauties….

13 comments:

  1. krushnaa,

    Heartiest Congratulations. You have really made us (mountain lovers) proud. Keep it up. Let Sagarmatha be just a beginning. Our blessings are with you.

    Nikhil
    nikhil0109@gmail.com

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  2. अभिनंदन, शिवसेना प्रमुखांची भेट व त्यानंतर "स्टार माझा' वर झालेली तुझी मुलाखत चांगली होती. विशेषत: हिमालयात स्वच्छतेचे उद्दीष्ट चांगली गोष्ट आहे. आपल्या सह्याद्रीत सुद्धा गड- कोटांवर मोठ्या प्रमाणावर स्वच्छतेची आवश्‍यकता आहे. तु त्या दिशेने युवकांना व हौशी मंडळींना प्रेरीत करू शकशील.

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  3. Congratulations ! Hmmm on Hillary step were you talking about this poster in NIM ?
    http://protrek.multiply.com/photos/hi-res/11/753?xurl=http%3A%2F%2Fprotrek.multiply.com%2Fphotos%2Falbum%2F11%2FNehru_Institute_Of_Mountaineering_-_Uttarkashi_B.M.C._-_191_March-April_2006%23753

    Cheers ! :)

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  4. Is the video-clip of Krushnaa's interview on starmaza available on the net? plz gimi da link...tnx!

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  5. congratulations!
    like you i m also very fond of mountains and wish to climb the Everest.is there any diploma or any certificate(in mountaineering) that i need for the same.plz also tell me the whole cost of the adventurous expedition.i ll be highly obliged if you mail me the details at dhewaprashant@yahoo.co.in

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  6. is there any eligibility for the same

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  7. congrats !
    (better late than never :D.)

    where are the pics krushnaa ???
    ~subbukl

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  8. I am posting quite late. But I would like to congratulate you for this feet!! I have been to EBC and Kalapatthar. So I have experienced the expanse of the nature over there. I have experienced all the cold, nervousness, headaches, restlessness of the thin air. But going 11,000 feet above that and that too at the age of 19 and that too alone!! Taking decisions alone at the age of 19!! I can not do that at the age of 45 in that region!! :-)
    You have truly made Marathi Manoos proud. Modern Zansi ki Rani!!

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  9. One more thing. When I started reading the blog few days back, I had put the comment that I can experience what is up there, beyond EBC, through your eyes (I mean your posts)!! And you have written it so well that I really experienced it. I felt I can make it too!! But I know it is going to remain in my dreams.....

    Salutations to your writing skills as well. Write a book in Marathi on your experience!!

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  10. Krushnaa,

    It is one of the example to the nation that what a girl can do?

    Congratulation for your courage and efforts you have taken to reach the world's highest point.

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  11. hi kriushna,

    we are proud of you

    vijay nandgaonkar
    9881077199
    SHIVSHAKTI PRATISHTHAN, Pune

    ReplyDelete
  12. Hello Krushna

    We are proud of you.

    Darshan Honkalse.

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  13. Hi Krushna..
    Although very late, congratulations on your achievement!
    I'm a friend of Neha Kulkarni, and that's how I reached your blog.. It's really amazing the way you have written about the whole expedition, and I felt as though I could peek inside you and feel all your emotions at that time..
    Great work.. Wish you lots more success in future!!
    -Abhishek

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