Three days in which it all got rather muddled and we lost one, possibly two, climbing days.
To make sense of the story that follows, the x on the right is our 3rd camp (July 4th). The arrow marks the unfortunate bivi site that became our 4th camp (July 5th) and the red lines are the site of our tents on July 6th and 7th. The green line marks the line of footprints visible when this photo is viewed in a larger size.
We were climbing along the ridge crest when Nuru, who was in the lead breaking trail fell. He was held by Zarok but battled to get back up the snowslope. The snow was deep and sugary, very difficult to set a trail in. The rest of us climbed down to join them and then continued to traverse, lower than would have been ideal. By 17.30 it was clear that we would not get round the peak to a suitable campsite that day. We created a bivi site beneath a rock overhang, but only had space to put up one tent. A very cold night was had by the other four climbers. The next day we climbed on to the next col and camped very early, to give everyone a chance to rest.
We knew from the meteo reports we were receiving daily via text that the next day (July 7th) was supposed to be stormy, with snow and high winds. Unfortunately the phone would not connect to the network from that campsite so we had no update on that meteo report. We decided to stay put on the 7th. We did get the high winds in the morning but the promised snow never came and we could have climbed on.
In all what should have been one day of climbing turned into three.
Visibility improved but the wind remained high as the ridge narrowed. Temperatures would be cold right along the ridge, and we all climbed either in full down suits, or at least in our big high-altitude down jackets.
Nuru and Zarok (front of photo) slept where they are currently sitting. Note the legs in the background. That is Rick, digging out the cave where he and Lhakpa Rangduk slept. All four climbers had a very cold night.
The view from the bivi site, down to the Diamir glacier. This is the one night I was throwing up and I could open the tent door and throw up straight down an 80 degree slope that bottomed out 2500 metres below me. Very convenient.
DAY 5: 6 JULY
Our 5th campsite (click for bigger). As explained above, we climbed just far enough to find a decent campsite and then took the afternoon off. We then stayed there the next day because of the bad weather report.
DISCLAIMER: this summary of events is entirely based on my point of view (Cathy) and the other climbers might see things differently.
NEXT INSTALLMENT TOMORROW.