Kangchenjunga 2011 expedition

Sunday, April 10, 2011 - 21:00

First thoughts from Kangchenjunga Base Camp

We finally managed to reach base camp on the evening of April 8th in quite bad weather.


Kangchenjunga has some of the most astonishing scenery I have ever encountered in a base camp. I'll let you discover part of it through the video panorama attached to this dispatch.



360 degree video panorama from Kangchenjunga South Base Camp at 5470m.
April 8th 2011.


I still need to get my last equipment barrel from the Middle Camp at 4800m. That one also contains our altitude tents and my crampons and ice axes, so pretty essential stuff. After a heated phone conversation to Kathmandu I sent down our kitchen helper Lok to try and sort it out.


Our plan for climbing Kangchenjunga is to "prepare" the mountain first (by putting some fixed ropes where needed, to help us ascending and descending the difficult sections while carrying heavy loads; we have already spoken with Alexey Bolotov to collaborate with his team on this matter) and set three high altitude camps at about 6200m, 6650m and 7150m respectively. Including our acclimatization program this will take us around three or four weeks, given good weather and proper conditions on the mountain. Acclimatization is considered finished by sleeping one night in Camp 3 and then having a good four or five days rest in Base Camp. Then, on our summit climb, we'll dismantle our tent from Camp 3 and carry it up to about 7700m, from where we will have our final push for the summit. As far as acclimatization is concerned, it is not physiologically possible to acclimatize to an altitude higher than roughly 7000m - 7500m (differs slightly according to each climber’s genetics). That's why the zone above it is infamously called "The Death Zone". Any further acclimatization is impossible and with each moment spent above that altitude one's body is slowly dying (this excluding the cerebral or pulmonary edema for which the risk is at the maximum). Above 8000m, the oxygen concentration in the air is less than a third of that at sea level (maybe in the Bucharest’s office buildings the oxygen level is at a similar low level; kiddin', don't take it personally, ok? :)...it’s the altitude speaking out of me now).


"Snow in the Kingdom" (Google the book if you're curious what it is all about) for tomorrow and the day after tomorrow, our forecast says. We'll assess the conditions and decide if it is wise to make our first climb up and establish Camp One (maybe with Air Force One it would be way easier but it would not be as much fun).


Already getting my fingers cold on the keyboard…


I'll try to write tomorrow a somewhat delicate and longer dispatch, not really related with climbing, but still.


From Oktang-4730m, we had one of the best views of ther upper part of Kangchenjunga with our approximate route from above Camp 1-6200m to the summit drawn with red line.




My tent in Kangchenjunga BC at 5470m, in the morning of April 9th. A 7469m high subsidiary peak ok Januu in the background.




Pawel's "Lucky Mirror", as it was written on its backside, was bought from Khatmandu the day before our departure.




One of my equipment barrels had a first though night in BC.

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