Makalu expedition

Sunday, July 13, 2008 - 21:00

Still in Base Camp; summit push aborted due to bad weather

Well... we are still in Base Camp after we aborted our Saturday evening intention to start our summit push. The next try should have been this evening but the last night incoming snowfall made us again change our minds.

Nevertheless, last night Simone La Terra, Gloria Brighenti and Hassan Sadpara decided to start for the summit. Over the radio we found out they are now in Camp One where is heavily snowing as well. On G1, Veikka Gustaffson reached Camp Two in Gashebrum La together with the Spanish team and Colombian Fernando Gozales Rubio.

The North Face team is temporarily stranded at 7000m (tonight it will be their four night in Camp Three), the Finnish Kim retreated from his summit day due to high snow and the Polish team seemed to have made no progress as well from their Camp Two. Antonio Vicari reported over the radio just minutes ago he is unwilling to descend to Camp One due to avalanche danger.

The forecast that we had announced good weather till next Saturday with some strong winds over 7000m and with Monday being "not so good but still". Pawel and myself were planning to be on the top on Friday, starting on a full moon directly from Camp Three, but with the option open for a light Camp Four at 7500m as well.

For sure, I cannot climb the mountain by staying into the base camp but I learned that sometimes while out into the wild is just better of listening to my instincts. And I am glad to have remained here. I stated many times that high altitude mountaineering is in a way a game of the tuff nerves and of endless waiting for the good weather. And choosing the right moment to go up is maybe more an art than assembling meteo data. People now up the mountain might have their fair chance of getting to the summit in the following days but I am simply not confident to be up there in these moments. Last year I've been waiting into the base camp (to read, being afraid/cautious to go up) while on the same route and somehow similar conditions two people died after releasing an avalanche on the way to Camp Three.

It's just hard to get to understand this Karakoram weather.

Our next bid for the summit might start tomorrow evening. Might start...

PS: at my 6 pm radio contact with the guys up the mountain I was told my tent in Camp Two has been broken and blown up by the wind, luckily not off the mountain but in a nearby crevasse. It seems all our gear it's ok but as for the tent we have to go up with a replacement.

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