Rest Days on 8000 meter peaks, like in all of climbing, can be fun or frustrating. When wind or storms force us to spend endless days in Base Camp the days can feel unendurable and it feels like our bodies are weakening every minute. But today is the other type of rest day. We worked hard yesterday, climbing to over 21,000 feet (6400 meters), Camp 1 on Cho Oyu, with a full load of ski and climbing gear. Last night, back in ABC (Advanced Base Camp) we enjoyed red wine with dinner, and an amazing apricot crumble for dessert.
That led into a perfect rest day morning. The night was cold and clear, and wind is pounding the upper mountain. We stayed in our warm sleeping bags until sun hit our tents around 7:30 am, and then greeted the day with our first cups of coffee. I brought a few bags of good coffee from The Coffee Bar in Truckee, CA, and it’s always a treat to start the day with it when we are in ABC. After my third cup our computers and power systems warmed enough for us to hop online and quickly check out Instagram, Facebook, and the New York Times. Having wifi in camp is a huge bonus, and let’s us feel a bit more connected with home and our businesses.
Then it was back outside and to our binoculars. From here in ABC we have a perfect view of the upper mountain, and today one of our Sherpa, along with 6 Sherpa from other teams on the mountain this season, began the hard work of fixing ropes between Camp 1 and Camp 2. Progress was quick along the ridge above Camp 1, and into the technical ice cliff area. By tomorrow we hope the lines will be in to over 7000 meters (23,000 feet) and we will head back up for a longer rotation, probably 4 nights split between Camps 1 and 2, and hopefully with lots of skiing!
But for today, we’re busy with rest day activities. A big lunch of kielbasa sautéed with peppers, onions, and french fries, a beer or two, and a much needed shower while the sun is still out!
More from the upper mountain!
-Adrian Ballinger, Alpenglow Expeditions