Since February 10 (more than three weeks), we nearly only had clouds over
our heads. Although suffering a lot under these tough circumstances we worked
hard and established camp 1 on the icy ridge at 6300m. Even if there was no
good weather we climbed up again last Tuesday, two days ago. After long work
we widened the tiny platform a little bit more, built up the tent, secure it
with ice screws and Abalakov anchors. Two people could lie-down on solid
ground, but one must be happy with “void hanging” tent floor. Luckily Alex
agreed without hesitation to take this “cherished” place. To be more save and
preserve his nerves, we filled the area with ropes and he kept roped in his
sleeping bag. Our first night on the mountain was harsh with -35° and strong
wind and we nearly got no sleep. It was hard to get out of the sleeping bag in
the morning after freezing a lot. The strong storm didn't allow a climb up.
After a short breakfast we quickly went down to basecamp yesterday in
difficult conditions. Now our acclimatization and our bodies are ready for the
next step, to attempt the summit. Trusting our irreplaceable friend Dr. Karl
Gabl it looks good that on the end of the week the sky opens for the first
time after weeks and the stormy conditions slowly go down to more gentle wind.
Maybe we try a first summit attempt next week.
Louis and I started last Friday in bad weather
already at 4:20am. Alex couldn't join us this time because sadly he was sick
with fever. After an exhausting ascent, we had to break trail and put out the
fix rope out of the wind pressed snow, we reached the ridge at around 6300m in
the early afternoon. Soon we could find a not ideal, but counting the
circumstances, good and save place for our “very high” camp 1. We hacked more
than two hours the blue ice to get a tiny platform for our tent. It's a very
small place, but we have no choice. Finally we are happy that after three
weeks of hard work we have a camp 1. Exhausted but satisfied we came back to
BC after 14.5 hours. On the same day three porters reached BC with 24 chicken,
heating gas and other important things we needed. Because of deep snow on the
Baltoro glacier they reached us after eight days of hard and unbelievable
effort. We use the possibility to say a hearty thank you to these nameless
porters and to our agent, Ali Muhammad from Adventure Pakistan, for their
great help and assistance! Now we know that we will have a great BC live in
the near future too. Till we have bad weather here in the range of the
Gasherbrums. As soon we get green (weather) light from Dr. Karl Gabl we will
go up again to sleep in C1 and force the route till the end of the steep wall
at around 6800m. Next time we will be joint again by Alex “The Chicken” Txikon,
luckily he is completely healthy again! We will need the performance of his
strong arms to widen the place of our camp 1 a little.
Since some days we have to face typical
Himalaya winter weather, sky full of clouds, snowfall, strong winds and deep
temperatures. Last Sunday we reached 6250m although there have been clouds and
strong wind, but couldn't find any flat place for our tent. After seeking for
a while till full darkness we had only one choice, to go down to BC again. We
reached it late, at 9:30pm after 15 hours of hard work. Since Monday we are
sitting in BC now, waiting for better weather, which is not ready to come.
Exact five weeks ago we had our last shower. Nobody can imagine how we feel
under these circumstances. Because of freezing a lot and hard work on the
mountain we lost some kilograms of weight already. Louis is pretending that
his thighs are half now. We have to say thank you to our kitchen stuff, Waqar
Yonis and Muhammad Kahn. Each day they make great food, we have to confess
that we never had such good service on any expedition before. All my books are
read. Many times my thoughts are with my family, especially my charming small
daughters. Luckily our BC-manager Pierre brought a chess computer, so
sometimes I can train my skills.
Although the weather is not better tomorrow we wanna go up again. We will
start very early at 4:30am in full darkness at the coldest time of the day
because we need to hack out with our ice axes a place for our tent from the
steep hard blue ice, which will take some hours. But will come down again
because the bad weather don't allows a sleep up there. Unfortunately the bad
weather period will hold on. Our friend Dr. Karl Gabl gave us a small chance
of good weather at the end of next week. Charly knows how to activate our
Recently, we were plagued by some concerns,
because we have more than 400 New England missing fixed ropes which we sent in
the fall of the base camp. Without this cable, it would be very difficult
route to climb over. Two days ago, Louis was looking for candy, and
surprisingly, he found the rope that seemed lost. As you can see we have a new
chair for our kitchen tent!
Yesterday, on 17 Februar, we started back towards the mountain. We wore a
couple of gas canisters and a TNF Mountain 35 tent and after a little over
five hours we reached our last depot to nearly 6100m. Shortly after noon we
started (to be exact: Louis) our work in unfamiliar terrain. Unexpectedly, it
was the terrain more difficult than expected. Therefore, and because of the
high altitude we gained very slowly meters. On cold, cloudy and windy
afternoon, we made a mistake and unfortunately we had to descend again to find
the right route. Although we did our best, we returned because of the lateness
of the hour to 16:45 clock. Sometimes you just luck and commit wrong
decisions? Sorry, we do not yet reached the intended place for us to camp 1,
which is located at about 6250m (This course is unusually high for a stock
one, so we call it in our discussions usually "Camp 2. The wall is too steep
to to find a safe place beforehand for the tent.) rappelling and descending we
reached in just two hours in glorious full moon, the base camp, twelve and a
half hours after we left it. We were a little unhappy about the events of the
day, but we are still very motivated to climb this difficult but beautiful
route to the end.
Dr. Karl Gable sent us a very good weather forecast for next Monday. So we
will rise up on Sunday with cloudy weather to use the Monday for further work
on the route. I hope we can on Tuesday when we return to base camp, or report
the latest good news Wednesday on the ABC team.
Hidden Peak With warm regards from the base camp of the Hidden Peak
Yesterday in good, but cold weather we
climbed again in the steep south face of Hidden Peak.
After a freezing breakfast at 5am we started 1:20 hours
later. As usual our rucksacks have been quite heavy again. Bad luck, on the
route our fixropes have been buried under wind pressed snow. It´s a real
distressing, hard work to put it out again. Therefore we reached our last
depot at 5800m more lately than expected at 11am.
We prepared the rope and Louis climbed ahead. Nobody knows
how freezing it is in winter to belay and wait at the same point until you
can follow your partner after one and a half hour later. The same procedure
followed one by one. This afternoon Louis climbed harder than ever on this
route in difficult rotten rock and hard ice till 70°. Alex and I climbed
behind with the fixropes on the back, each of us carrying more than 20kg.
Finally we stopped our hard work at 4pm at 6100m. At our
last belay point we left more than 1000m of rope, before we started to
abseil down to the foot of the mountain. Twelve hours after our start in
completely darkness, only slight moon light in our back, we reached the BC
exhausted but satisfied.
Today we used the day to recover from the tiring effort.
Tomorrow early morning, motivated by a very good weather forecast from our
friend Dr. Karl Gabl, we will climb up again to establish our first camp at
Yesterday, 02/10/2011, we have used the good
weather and in all premature at -25 ° C from the base camp broken up.
Despite the large burden on our shoulders we could feel the progression of
our acclimatization. Thus we reached as early as 9:30 am, after three hours
of climbing, our depot at 5600m. Up to 2 clock in the afternoon we worked on
the route, to us a strong wind and the cold drove back to base camp. Due to
technical difficulties, we could only reach 5800m, 900m left there, but New
England fixed rope for the next climb.
Now, once regeneration is called for and wait as the
weather is bad in the next few days and snow is called for. Maybe I can use
this time for a first full body cleansing after three weeks and a shave.
As soon as we Dr. Karl Gable is an acceptable weather
forecast we have to leave. Here again, a very formal thank you to Charly,
who is actually an additional team member and supported us well!
We, the ABC team notify us whenever there is news.
When we arrived last Friday for the first
time the base of the wall of the Hidden Peak, we had the whole weekend
including Monday to fight for our base camp. Severe winter storms well over
100km / h ripped away most of our tents. Only by specific, lengthy
additional security measures we could the existence of the base camp safe.
After a good weather forecast for Tuesday by Dr. Karl Gabl we broke
yesterday (8.2.) On a first serious attempt. In painstaking work we fixed
the route up to 5600m where we left a bag with 500m rope and fixing
material. Among other things, we worked around the central couloir of the
south wall very tricky, a vertical 10m high rock wall. Pleased we reached
after about 9 hours of work in the dark, the base camp.
It's a great feeling once again to enter new territory on
an eight-meter peaks. The technical difficulties at the bottom of our route
on Hidden Peak are comparable with the British route on the south wall of
Shisha Pangma or Kinshofer route on Nanga Parbat. overcome such difficulties
in the winter is again another dimension of high altitude mountaineering. In
the upper part uMorgen Thursday, according to Charles Gable a good day, like
Louis, Alex and I drive the route up to 6100m, our planned camp 1.
Gerfried and his comrade Berg are fine. They
are after a stormy night at base camp. Wind speeds around the 120 km / h
they could not sleep. Although bad weather was forecast that the storm would
sweep but in such a violence on the tents, so that no one expected. Today,
Gerfried and co failed to make up the sleep and mainly determine whether
important material is missing
The first two stages of the trek towards base
camp are done. The Trio (Louis Rousseau, Alex and Gerfried Txikon) this
afternoon (local time) both with 26 carriers and two cooks Payu. Already, it
is extremely cold, so we sleep together in the large kitchen tent. Thursday
morning the troops marched on to Urdukas (4050m). Am 31.1., After three
stops, want to be the climbers at Base Camp of the Hidden Peak at 5100m.
Louis Rousseau celebrates the way in a tent with a sip of
brandy his 34th Birthday, well then "Happy Birthday"
Thursday morning began my long and arduous journey. Is
to separate me from my family very hard for me. However, I am looking
forward, this difficult project on which I worked so long and hard to
implement at last. For love of adventure, but also from environmental and
financial reasons, I would march with my friends walk to the base camp of
the Hidden Peak (8080m) and not fly by helicopter. Never before has an
expedition in the winter has imposed such a strain. This is already a
sensation when we, in these arctic conditions at all the wall foot of the
mountain at 5100 meters. Then we will tackle the still tougher: a new route
will allow us the first winter ascent of Hidden Peak.
I want to thank my wife Heike, who has once again incredible
and has supported me tremendously. It must in this long period of my
absence would not only provide our own lovely children, but will also serve
together with my good friend Martin Kolle's homepage.
You see in the next few days, my trip from home to Vienna,
then to Dubai and Islamabad, then in the north of Pakistan to Skardu and
I am happy if you follow me and my team on arrival and on the
mountain and our fingers crossed :-)
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