Wednesday, May 27, 2009

this was supposed to be posted on the 16th.......so here goes....

Ok….so I’m moving up to camp 2 tomorrow……and this is the final summit push…. All the work that has gone down for the past 6 months now comes down to the final 6 days….17th up to camp 2…..18th rest at camp 2…..19th camp 3….20th camp 4……and then at night final push to summit……summit 21st morning……and then hopefully back to camp 2…..if im feeling really strong and camp 4 if not that strong….so I’m in the first team…..though my initial plan was to be in the second team with bill….but Partemba dai said it would be better to be in the first team….though we will be cutting I the steps and all coz well we are one of the first teams going up so….well it’s me ….(I think its time I introduced my team to you’ll,….now that I know them quite well myself….)Nick,26 from USA, farmer and mountain guide, the loudest in our group, Henry,in his 40s….German….he’s the kinds you can imagine on a enfield o bigger bikes….kinna rough and really funny….,Yura, also in his 40s,he’s Russian but now American….the careful one, then there’s Bud,50,really careful as well, nice to talk to…I love his accent…he’s a pilot….., and Apa dai…..the 18 time everester…the most down to earth…and always ready for more work…..we are the first team….and well only Nick, Henry, Apa dai , and me plan to summit on the 21st…..Bud and Yura will summit on the 22nd and the rest of the team on the 23rd…..which includes Jesse,in his 20s,loves to eat……Bill or William Burke ,the oldest member of our team 67yrs,lawyer , has carried the maximum amount of goodies……loves spice…me n he like having the chilly nepali sauce that we have named Apa Sauce as its Apa Dai’s favorite as well….oh and we love it….and ten there is Mogans…a 36yr old fitness freak and the most competitive and non lazy leo I have seen so far….he had once cycled from Denmark to Everest Base Camp….through Iran, Pakistan, India etc….has summated Evrest from the North side….and was on Discovery for some show….and he is attempting this time without oxygen……..and inshalla he’ll do it…..so that’s our team….and well Will Cross who was also a summiteer of Everest left after the big Avalanche to go climb Cho Oyu in china….he was great fun as well….was diabetic but had been to both the poles and had done Everest…..

So the Avalanche…that I dint tell you’ll about earlier…I couldn’t get myself to write about it….so here it is….after my post on the 4th……I was on rest here in base camp….and Jesse ,Nick,Yura and the Austrian team of 5 had gone up on their rotation to camp 3…..on the 5th and 6th I lazed around bathed ,washed clothes eat,drank and chilled basically…..on the 7th everyone was expected to be back in base camp…I went for some exercise and acclamatisation to Henry peak….it’s about 2 hours from BC by my speed…..the 7th….it was a bright sunny day…..and I kept striping one layer after the other as I kept trekking…….at about 10:30am there was a huuuuuuuge avalanche starting from the lola pass again,or the Khumjung face…….sweeping over the right side of the Ice Fall……and further sweeping over the whole of BaseCamp….I was almost at the top of Henry peak so I got the whole view right from the start to the end…..by this time my eyes have gotten accustomed to spotting people from far away….and I saw no one on the ice fall on the path of the avalanche….(once when there was a small one we had spotted a person running before the avalanche)…..i got some pics of the avalanche…..and I felt quite confident that nobody would have been hurt……besides when I left Camp…Nick had already reached camp…..and so I thought Jesse and Yura couldn’t have been far behind…..I knew the Indian Nim team was coming down aswell…….and I hoped they would all be fine as well, or already down….I continued up to the top and then back down……the view from the top is beautiful ……theres a blue lake to one side of the hill and a brown one on the other…..and the mountains look wonderful from there…..i was in a “HAPPY DAY” on my way down….jumping and hopping…..the avalanche for a brief time left my mind completely…..but as I got closer to the camp it all disappeared….and my steps became slower as well….it takes an hour to come back….as I entered BC…the Indian Camp comes first so I thought I would go and check whether they were all back….. safe…I did see movement in the camp……so I walked there….welcomed the sirs back to BC….they all seemed fine…..and I asked where they were during the avalanche and they said they were right in the middle of it…..infact they said “we helped rescue two of your members but the Sherpa is still missing”and my throat went dry and my mind numb…..and I ran to my camp…..Dawa and all the other Sherpas from our camp as well as some other expeditions had all gone up to look for the missing Sherpa….it was 12 o clock…..as I walked to my camp I was just thinking of Jesse and Yura……and one of their Sherpas… they said they had helped rescue them from a crevasse…..my mind was choked with thoughts….and as I entered camp….i saw Yura standing right there….with a grave expression but standing just fine ….dint look like he had fallen into a crevasse…and my mind immediately made up my mind that it was not one of us…and not one of OUR Sherpas….but it was one of our Sherpas…..it was the 2 Austrian members that had fallen into a crevasse….and it was Lakhpa Nuru Sherpa that had gone missing…..Jesse was fine he was above the Avalanche when it happened….and Yura had almost reached Camp……one of the Austrian woman,one man and Lakhpa….got themselves into a small crevasse to protect themselves from the huuuuge avalanche….Lakhpa sat the out most…..and once the Avalanche hit….it took lakhpa out of the crevasse…flying out somewhere….while it pushed the Austrians further down also opening the crevasse down wards…..and they hung there choked between the two walls of the crevasse…..upside down…..the woman kept yelling out and the Indian Team that was coming down heard the screams…..they could rescue the woman immediately but it took about 20mins for the man….Walter…..as he had managed to go lower……he had got hypothermia…..and as soon as he was pulled out he was taken care of by Phelix who is a docter from the Austrian team….he was up above the avalanche when it happenend…..they were both got down immediately ….phelix’s face was bleeding coz as the women….Brenise…..tried to come out she managed to stamp on his face……while still having her crampons on….she herself had no injuries perse……phelix was completely fine by the time he had reached the camp….meaning the hypothermia had miraculously disappeared and he had walked back after half the way…..but they were both only worried about their Sherpa...he was right next to them one moment and then he was just gone….. it was 1:30 pm by now…..all the Sherpas were still up….Partemba dai and Apa dai had gone to Gorek Shep….they were there in about 15 mins after I had reached…...Nicks blue eyes were watery as hell as he sat at the door of the dinning tent…….Jesse just reached the camp and me and Bud un did his shoes as he looked zombie….Yura stood there staring at everything happening around ..just probably thanking his stars and his Sherpa who had made him practically run down the icefall as we had been having these avalanches coming from this exact spot for some days now…..and 2 small ones had come down just before this big one as if the mountain was warning us…..by 2:30pm the sherpas started giving up…..Dawa came down….Gyalu came down….Puchhanga…Bud’s Sherpa came down…..and I thought there could still be a chance Lakhpa was alive….i tried going over my notes on S & R….what if he had fallen into a crevasse and had lots of air to breath….what if this…and what if that…..I couldn’t look at Dawa……I felt guilty…..i couldn’t look at Partemba dai…..i dint have the guts…..and I dint have a heart to console…I helped serving juice to the tiered sherpas that were back…and I went to my tent…..just to organize my thoughts…I hadn’t allowed myself to cry…..not even when it was just me in my tent….i lied down and tried to think of stories or incidents that C sir had told us about…..but I couldn’t come to anything positive…..then Dawa called in for a meeting…..of all the members…Jesse dint come…..he dint leave his tent all day…he was way too shaken…..Dawa himself looked shaken……he began to talk but his voice choked on the tears that he held…..Partemba next to him dint think it wis e to hold his tears and his cheeks were red with his tears…..Bill on the other side of Dawa patted him….and his tears rolled then…Nick had hid his face ….he was crying……and then Dawa spoke again…..my heart was beating fast and my chest was choking…..he said it would be better for all of us to go down for a while….now that we were done with our rotations….besides he needed to clear things out hear…and its best we weren’t a part of it all….and then as he spoke about Lakhpa…the voice choked again….and this time even my tears rolled out…..i couldn’t sit in that tent any longer….i needed my own space to cry…..so I left the tent….i also had to ask the Indian camp if they had any probing rods…..so I left….and I cried my heart out on the way …it felt good…..my stomach felt hollow…..like a vacuum had developed….the Indian camp was also silent for a change…..everyone was resting…..even they were in the avalanche……Bodh sir was there….and he kept saying it was OK….and that we should forget about it for now…think about it after we had finished what we had come here to do ….but I found it difficult to do that but I tried to obey my sir…..but it wasn’t easy……dinner was silent that night and I forced my food down…..there were no sarcastic taunts being passed around…..tomorrow morning a team of 12 sherpas were going up to look for the body…..and the team members were going to head down to Pheriche for rest….i dint sleep well the whole night….and I got upto the crackling sound of the radio in the dinning tent….it was something about evacuating an Indian from the NIM team…..there was going to be a helicopter rescue…..and I was just like what the hell…..who’s going down….what happened…why heli…..is it soooo serious….and I tried to listen to more of the conversation….and learnt that it was Magan Bissa going down….and I went to the Indian camp….thought I would help if it was needed….I walked with his wife till the heli pad…..while he was carried on a stretcher to the pad….and the fact that “The mountain calls you” rested it self more firmly into my head as mrs.Bissa was telling me how they had fought the night….he had Apendixites….and had been in pain the whole night….I was there….but I was lost in some thoughts somewhere else….and all the incidents were worrying me….i went back to my camp and my tent….and packed to go down…..just for rest….dont wana think of any thing else…..the Sherpa team was still up in the icefall….they were gona be down by 8:30 max….it was 10 now but they hadn’t given up….we started to go down…led by Apa…..Nick, Henry ,Yura and me……Bud was gona come with Jesse who needed a day before he left BC….and Bill wanted to go up for a rotation….and Mogans was already at Pheriche….we left and as we went further for BC we all managed to get out of that daze we all were in….the weather was windy…and cloudy….but the walk was beautifull….as we got closer too Pheriche the GREEN looked sooooo good….it was quite a change from the the white and grey……and I thought of the stories of wanting to see just color…..well….as we got closer to pheriche it began to snow……and it snowed for the next five days….and all the green that we wanted to see went……well not down the drain but defenetly under the snow!!!

On the 12th we trekked to Dingboche as the weather had cleared up for the afternoon…..thats when I wrote that earlier post……tried to get the weather report as well…..it was me and Apa dai….and one of his friends called Lakhpa……and would you believe it……we lost our way….were stuck in a snow storm had snow blowing into our face…..we were wearing just feather jackets….and woolen caps…..trying to figure out the way…..we found the normal route and then laughed all the way to the hotel….the next day we trekked to Lobuche…..in 2 and a half hours to the earlier of 5 hours…that was the 13th…..and then on the 14th we were back at base camp…….we had missed the Apa Sauce…so we eat that to our hearts content……food here seemed soo good compared to the hotel food...Partemba dai welcomed me with a nice tight hug….and it felt like we were back home…..

On the 15th we all got our masks and regulators and we all tried the oxygen once…..putting it on……..taking it of….trying our goggles on etc.etc……the numbers we were gona use it on etc…..i wont lie….i was a little intimidated by the maskes and the questions people raised about it but it comforted me that it was a while before we used those….i mean I was set to leave on the the 19th…..and summit on 23rd……but as of NOW im gona be going tonight…..or lets say tomorrow morning….at 3am as usual…..i am a little scared….and nervous…..but also happy that its finally HERE…..the next 6 days….till im back HERE in base camp….and then its all partying!!!....just have to pass through that icefall twice more…..and then don’t ever have to worry about it…..i have everything I need….and im feeling ready for it….actually im quite happy I got moved up to summiting on the 21st as I was starting to get bored of waiting …..its all mixed up feelings….

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