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Time to Climb

Two mountaineers navigating a glacier on a Gasherbrum II Expedition

Well, exactly one month after leaving the USA, the time has come to climb! The weather is perfect, we have all acclimatized to between 22,000 and 23,500 feet, we have had at least 3 days of complete rest, and we have polished off the last of the yak steaks and whisky here in ABC. So Russell has given us the go ahead to move on the mountain! Provided the weather holds, we plan to move to Camp 1 (21,500 feet) tomorrow (Saturday here in Tibet), then Camp 2 (23,500) on Sunday, Camp 3 (24,500 feet) on Monday, and with luck, the summit of the 6th tallest peak in the world on Tuesday (8201 meters, 26,900 feet).

We have spent today preparing last details for the next 5 days – we have no doubt they will be some of the hardest of our lives, physically and mentally. The team is really impressive though. Together we planned our food, practiced working with our oxygen masks, regulators, and cylinders, and compared down suits, gloves, socks, etc. Our one down moment came when we found out that one of our teammates Stephane had to head home due to a family emergency, and that Vlado had made the decision not to push to higher altitudes after challenges on our last acclimatization trip. Stephane and Vlado, your energy and spirit will be really missed during our climb.

So wish us luck over the next five days! We will be continuing to update our progress via satellite phone, and will try to not leave you without news for too long (provided the sun keeps shining and powering our batteries)! We are all looking forward to our attempt, and also to returning down safely and getting back home to our families. Thanks for all of your supportive thoughts,

-Adrian Ballinger (from Cho Oyu ABC)