(via satellite phone)
We set off from Low Camp (elev. approx. 7, 000 ft) this afternoon at about 2:00 pm in a clear blue sky day. Because of the intense sun, we wore long sleeved synthetic shirts only for about 40 minutes, then a cold wind came up and we added layers.
We stopped to drink and eat a little at the bottom of the headwall. It is very steep and has one km of fixed ropes that we had to go up with our fully loaded packs. It is 11:25 pm now and I’m in our tent at High Camp completely and utterly exhausted. It’s about 13,000 ft. but it feels like 15,000-16,000 because of the low atmospheric pressure.
The last hour and a half of the climb was a steep snow-covered ice sheet so we were tied together in case someone slipped and we carried our ice axes in a position to do a quick self arrest if needed.
The last one and a half hours was also in a strong cold wind with some blowing snow. I had to stop regularly from lack of oxygen and to warm up my hands and check for frostbite. No part of our skin could be exposed to the wind or it would freeze.
Other than being exhausted, Adam, Laura and I, have no ill effects and feel pretty good. The steep climbing carrying loads is very, very hard on the achilles tendons so we will see how we are tomorrow.
Another well earned rest day tomorrow.