22 May 2008: This is the point that you can really appreciate how caring and supportive Nepal’s climbing Sherpa’s really are, especially those from Peak Promotion. Mingmar moved in as my tent mate and
After waking up this morning I told Ngima that I thought the climb was over for me. I was still very tired and did not sleep well on oxygen here at 26,000 feet. Ngima left the tent and in came Mingmar. We had a good talk about the options available.
We decided on an option that required more oxygen if we stayed at the South Col all day and tried again tonight. We would need about six more bottles of oxygen. In our favor was the fact that Peak Promotion and their excellent Sherpa’s have very good relations with other Sherpa’s and expeditions. In very little time six more bottles were sitting outside our tent. Our new plan was now possible I just needed to recover from a less than positive nights sleep.
This is the point that you can really appreciate how caring and supportive Nepal’s climbing Sherpa’s really are, especially those from Peak Promotion. Mingmar moved in as my tent mate and literally nursed me all day long. He told me when to eat, drink and sleep. He sat right next to me and coached me through each liter of water, mug of hot drink and bowl of soup. He also gave me pep talks to the point that I began to think we had a chance tonight.
Each one of the other three Sherpa’s would pop their head in the tent during the day and express their encouragement. After a while I began to feel obliged to do my best for them. This is point you truly understand how much it means to get their clients up the mountain. Clearly Wonchu’s (Director of Peak Promotion) experience and caring is well engrained into each of his Sherpa’s. Early in the evening during my regime of eat, drink and sleep, Pemba visited me again. He told me that he had been praying for us to get up the mountain. After that I saw no way to quit.
At 7 PM we started the process of dressing and packing. By 8:00 PM we were having our last hot drinks and were on our way by 8:15 PM.
The first slope out of camp four is a snow slope that gets steadily steeper. Eventually you are on a head wall similar to the steeper sections of the Lhotse Face. Through this section my confidence was increasing although I was only carrying one bottle of oxygen. I was easily keeping up with Mingmar and Pemba who was breaking trail. We were the first group out this morning and it had snowed about six inches during the afternoon. Kame and Ngima followed behind me.
At the top of the headwall you climbed on mixed snow, ice and rock. Finally we got onto a fairly steep snow face again similar to the Lhotse Face. This ended at the Balcony (~27,300 feet). T think we were all surprised how quickly we got there, it was still not midnight. We could look back down on the South Col and the string of climbers’ headlamps coming up behind us.