The time of acclimatisation comes to ist end. Since two weeks I am back to Khumbu Valley. The weather is quite instable. Strong winds in the altitude and wet air from the south. I am happy. We have installed ourselves mostly in Lobouche. If you want this is our base camp. The Eco Lodge gives us the perfect conditions at an altitutde of 4950 meters to get acclimatized. It was a good decision to come here. We have a bed to sleep: I will sleep long enough in a tent. To get used to the height this is an imporatnt time. You can not shorten it. My time with my wife Nicole was great. I would have liked her to be with me during the whole expedition. So I will look forward to spend a long time with her in autumn.
On March 18, Freddie Wilkinson, an MHW athlete form the United States, and I sleep at 5300 meters. From there we go to Lobouche Peak. A wonderful peak at something over 6000 meters. Here we stay one more night in a objection tent. The night is windy and the following morning the view is simply amazing. The sun rises over the Everest, Lhotse and Nuptse. On the background we spot he massive pyramide of Makalu. In the west Cho Oyu.
We start the day relaxed. Coffee and müsli before we pack our things and go back to our base camp. By midday we are back in Lobouche where we spend another couple of days.
On March 21 I decide to go jogging. My way brings me from Lobuche to Kalapathar at 5500 meters. I am quite suprised how easy it went. Despite the height I could run in a good speed. The training from the past months seems to work. On Kalapathar I think back to all my work outs on the „Niesen“. My series of three timest he „Niesen“. Run up, get down with the train. Up again and down with the train. And this three times after another. Over 5000 meters of altitude per day.
The descent is short. It takes me only 15 minutes to Gorak Shep. Here I am happy to have to find an internet café. The highest one in the word. One day of trek away from Everest base camp. Big surfaces of solar panels and since some time also mobile phone reception...
On March 23 I have a complete day of rest before Freddie and I move on to Zhongla on the 24th. The Lodge in Zhongla can not be compared to the one in Lobuche. We are happy to get up at 3 am. After a slight delayed breakfast we are at the entry of Cholatse Northface at 4 am.
I am looking forward to our climg. Freddie is in a good mood. That it is very early in the morning doesn’t matter to him. He is happy. We have never climbed together before. I am sure that we will get on well together. He is easy going and always cheerful. He has a kind of a calming effect on me.
We find ourselves at the bottom of a 1400 meter hight face. In the moonlight the face looks even more powerful. The rock appears nearly black, next bright striped of snow and ice. I try to spot out the line we want to climb. As soon as we fixed our crampons a new day begins. Over Lhotse there is a huge could. The rest of the sky has some cyrrus clouds: A bad sign.
We move on well. We climg without belaying ourselves the lower part of the wall. The firn conditions are great. I will not give Freddie the feeling that he has to climb unbelayed. I am aware that I have another feeling to climb without rope than he has. I do not want him to climb without rope just to prove me something. We are here togehter in as a roped party.
After 500 meters we belay. I like this climbing. Rock and ice. I am happy to have Freddie with me. I think back how I climbed Cholatse Northface in 2005... unsecured...I get older and this is fine.
The great overhang ist he crux of the middle face part. In the meatime we climb in complete fog. My forecast was correct: By midday it started to snow. I am not so calm anymore. We only brought our sleeping bags with us. Underneath the headwall I recognize on the right hand side snowdrifts. This is our chance to have nevertheless a quite comfortable bivouac. Already at 3.30 pm we start to install our bivouac. It snows continously. Sometimes we think to spot some blue sky. We have a tiny cave and we start to cook. While we eat and drink we hope that the snowfall will stop soon. It stopped as it was already dark outside. We spend a quite comfortable night. But he morining is not much better than the day before. Clouds everywhere. We decide not to climb over the steep headwall. We get to the summit as fast as possible and descend over the south side. The path over the french route is quite demanding for both of us. Again it snows and it is cold. A small stop on the summit before we descend. Never before I climbed a mountain in Himalaya under such miserable weather conditions.
Freddie and I are happy to be back in Nala at 4450 meters at 6.30 pm. We did our best under these conditions and I can say that I am very well prepared for Shisha Pangma.
Now I have a little more than a week here in Khumbu before I fly back to Kathmandu. There I will meet Don Bowie. My partner for Tibet. And I am looking forward to a couple of days in the hotel, nice coffee and good meals. I hope the weather will be on my side for Shisha Pangma.
Expedition zusätzlich unterstützt durch: