Sunset on Shishapangma from Base Camp
been quite a few dispatches of late, as each climber
gets their word in. And now I get mine... We're in
Shigatse now, and this will likely be the last
internet connection; everything else is via satphone,
so the dispatch frequency will drop
going well. The climb was arranged through the
Chinese/Tibet Mountaineering Association and the Tibet
Mountain Guide School (they're the same thing). Eric
mentioned our porter (Bemba, not Pemba as we initially
thought) had summited Shisha and Everest. Bemba is a
graduate of the school as well as C/TMA employee,
so HE will be our Laiason Officer (LO). It doesn't get
better than that. We've already discussed having him
join us on summit day, having him as both a climber and
current plans are that Bemba will travel to Cho Oyo
Base Camp with us, arrange the yaks and deal with the
Cho Oyo LO. But depending how things work out, we may
ask him to join us on CO, offering him another
8000m peak on his resume.
Run-of-the-mill fixed line looks like nylon
water-skiing rope and is very inexpensive (last year on Ama
Dablam we paid $45/200m). You can buy high quality
static kernmantle rope, but that's only used for
vertical sections. We were expecting to buy our
fixed line in Lhasa, and would run us $150-200 (this works
out to 2Yuan/meter). Uh, no... there's none to be
found. But Me Nema,
the head of the school and C/TMA guy, offered to
sell us some of their static kernmantle
(top-of-the-line, and way more than we need). For $900, or
16Yuan/m. Uh. no... We find this out at dinnertime
on our last night in Lhasa. So we beat
feet into town, to the three climbing stores.
There, we can buy static kenmantle for a stunning
28-35Yuan/m - that's almost $500 for 100m! We ask our
cultural guide Mima and our drive if they can take us
to someplace that sells rope. So into some narrow
alleyway behind Barkhor Square we run, finding
three different rope seller booths.
feeling our way through dozens of ropes we find just the
right fixed line. Opening bid - 2Yuan/meter (now we're
talking!). He only has 150m on hand, and we say we
want 600m. This is probably more than he's sold all
week, and in seconds a young boy sprints
inspecting and measuring the rope, the boy returns
with another 450m, while Val's negotiating.
So in the
end we got it for 1Yuan/m, paying 624Yuan for 624
meters ($78) - a far cry from $900!
rope search, with all its ups and downs, was a kick
in the pants. It's what makes expeditions fun!
we drive to Tingri, but must leave early - "The road,
it's not so good". It'll take all day to cover the
same distance we did today in four hours.
See you on
the mountain! Monty
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