Kangchenjunga 2011 expedition

Sunday, April 17, 2011 - 21:00

Stories from Camp 1 (6173) and Base Camp

On the 16th Mario, Anselm, Pawel and myself climbed up to C1 at about 6173m. Mario went down the same day to BC but the rest of us chose to spend the night there for acclimatization. We were the only ones that night at C1, Alexey’s team had gone down to BC as well. Up until now they have done all of the work on the mountain (fixing the essential parts of the route to C1), since they were the first to climb up. It was a hard task and they did a pretty amazing job, thank you guys.

After such a long period spent in BC I was starting to feel kind of wasted doing basically nothing (due to the prolonged bad weather and the lack of gear which was still to come up to BC ). I was starting as well to be a bit concerned about my less than peak performance on the way up to C1. But once going up the mountain I was happy to notice I was feeling quite strong. Probably the way to C1 is the most technical of the entire route but not necessarily the most difficult. On the summit day there are some technical parts as well, even if not as long or sustained. But up there there will be the extreme altitude putting the most of the stress on the body.

As for my knowledge, this season on Kangchenjunga there are some five teams camped in BC (quite a lot for this mountain) : ours (the four of us, no oxygen, no Sherpas) , the Russian’s ( middle sized team, no oxygen, no Sherpas) , one big international commercial team (whose members all use supplementary oxygen and plenty of Sherpas, except for one Iranian member ), one Indian (small private team, using oxygen and Sherpas) and one French team (still not yet in BC, no info about them).

Today I took part in the Puja ceremony organized for the Sherpas (and not only) of the international team. They would not go up without first asking permission from some of their many deities and from the mountain to be allowed to successfully climb. Mantras were flown by the wind through the prayer flags and incense had been burned. In the very end, a huge eagle appeared and made some circles above us, as from a fairy tale. This has been interpreted as a very positive omen.

Next, Camp 2 at around 6650m to be established.

As for the time of writing, the eagle has left the building and the blizzard has already covered my tent with some fresh snow.


Pawel up on the way to C1 with Jannu in the background
Anselm on the traverse, mid way to C1
View from below C1
Just checked in C1
One of the Russian team's tents in C1
Pawel and myself on the way down to BC
Pawel in the middle of down climbing the serac
Anselm down climbing from the top of the serac
Pawel looking down to BC
Anselm abseiling the lower part of the serac
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