Monday, May 28, 2007

Summit Recap



Hello All!!! Unfortunately our camera cables are not compatable and so it will be another day before we get some of the pictures on there. Anyways, one of these days!!!
The summit day was definately a long one, and parts of it we were of course done in a sleeping walking state, but between the two of us we peiced it together pretty well.
The summit day of the 23rd was in fact easy compared to the previous day of 22nd spent just below 7,900 meters. We moved up to that elevation through the night and arrived at what we deemed camp Yoda at around 7:00 am. Later we heard the wind was clocked at over 130 mph, which was not hard to beleive from inside of the tent. Thanks to Appalachian Outfitters we were comfortable inside of the Mtn. Hardwear EV2 tent, which we stayed in for about 14 hours. We managed to get a few hours of sleep, which we did on oxygen, but for the most part we spent the time boiling water. Our stove troubles continued and so we were only able to use one Jetboil stove that could not be hung from the ceiling because of the raging winds shaking the tent.



It was also really tough to stay positive that day because we were truly feeling the 23rd would be our only shot at the summit because of diminishing resources, and the wind simply left a dim outlook. We originally planned to leave around 6pm but waited until 9 hoping the wind would die down, which it never really did at that elevation.
So, we decided to break the camp before leaving in order to save time on the descent, which turned out to be a struggle. We were barely able to shove all the gear in the duffle bag that we eventually locked at the site before heading up at 9:22.
At first it was a total nightmare for both of us getting used to moving with the akward regulators on our faces combined with both goggles and headlamps. The system, which is considered the best, is a complete nightmare that you constantly have to adjust and occasionally drain because of the buildup of condensation. You feel like your mouth and nose is sitting in a puddle. Justin was having an excess buildup of ice on the outside, and my tanks were running out 15%-30% faster than they were suppose to. Anyways, we eventually got use to it and the system was ultimately sufficient.
Because we chose to skip the upper camp, we added several hours to our summit day. It took us about 4 hours to reach the beginnning of most teams'high camps, which was partly because of our packs which I estimated at weighing 25-30 lbs. We started off with 2 4 liter oxygen bottles each and 1 3 liter. We also started with 3 quarts of water, and a gob-load of energy foods thanks to clif bar.
It was not until we reached camp 3 that we started to see other teams, and thankfully at that point we realized that it was not going to be a crowded day. The route was in excellent conditions due to an excess of snow this year that covered a great amount of loose rock and scree. I would say we reached the ridge around 6 a.m. and had a clear picture of the entire rest of the route. At this point we stopped for some water at mushroom rock, and I made the mistake of dropping a full liter of water, and the threads of another bottle iced which resulted in a half liter spilling through my bag(that certainly added to the sufferfest.)
We also finally made a much awaited dispatch to KT and Rachel around that time. We were slacking on our dispatches because of our focus of just putting one foot in front of the other, but were also frustrated at the interference caused by the rocks.
We also realized around this point that we were running a little late because other teams could already be seen descending, but we were not concerned because the weather was looking great and we were not cold or in jeopardy of running out of oxygen. We navigated through the steps and I would say we were actually slightly disappointed at how casual the famous 2nd step was. We both felt that the only difficulty or danger was avoiding the old ropes that were scattered throughout the entire route but especially risky on the rocky steps.
Its also worth mentioning that the number of bodies on the route between the 2nd step and the summit is truly noticeable and very much distracting at times. KT and Rachel were utilizing a spotting scope and could see our every movement on the final summit step. At one point they were freaking out because Justin had stopped and they did not know why. It turned out he was just switching out oxygen bottles. Due to this I summitted about 20 minutes before Justin who joined me about 12:25 pm on the summit. The wind was raging on top, and so we did not stick around long. In fact I would say we were on the summit together for less than 5 minutes, and very much just focused on the descent.

5 Comments:

Blogger SiouxFanInGopherLand said...

Strike,
Truly an inspiration...Sounds like a time of a life- I'm so sure your mom is looking down at you with a smile...truly honored at what her son has accomplished in awareness for a greater cause. She always knew you had this stuff in you. Congratulations again...see you both soon.
Hewitt-You should still be able to catch the Stanley Cup Finals if you hurry..haha
PS-Sign me up for the next run up!!
-Matt-

6:38 AM  
Blogger Pippi said...

Congratulations!!!!
Looking forward to pictures!!!

11:43 AM  
Blogger kym shap said...

I'm so proud of you guys! Be safe. I love you all!!!
Kym Shap

12:21 PM  
Blogger shana said...

Im so glad everything went great for you guys, and that you made it safely!
Love Jake and Shana

1:55 PM  
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5:41 AM  

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