5am alarm this morning to get everything ready to head back into the icefall, wow it was cold! Breakfast was a variation of a ‘fry up’ I think - potatoes, curried egg, beans, bread and some chopped sausage and veg. It was still early so I wasn’t that bothered and just needed some fuel for the day so ate it down and then tried to work out what to wear for the current freezing temperature, how hot I’ll feel once we start trekking and then once the sun comes out what I’ll need to strip off so I don’t bake, temperature control is really important when trekking up high in the mountains, you don't want to sweat and then freeze when you are out of the sun but it’s difficult not to put on extra layers when its so cold.
Ww set off from base camp and head up to the entry point to the icefall, my hip is killing me for some reason, maybe I slept funny or the constant trekking on a slant has aggravated it but its not a great start, I remember one of Nims quotes ‘pain or discomfort is just temporary, it will go’ - I chant this in my head as we walk and try to concentrate on other things, we’re going at a fair speed today and after a rest day I think everyone is aching a bit.
We trek in and stop briefly to put on crampons and helmets when the ice takes over from the rocks and boulders and continue up the icefall, up and down using our equipment to navigate further and deeper into the intimidating landscape, we come to our first ladder crossing and my chance to see how my new crampons fit between the rungs on the ladders, fortunately they are a perfect fit and I cross the ladder taking a brief moment to look down the 100 ft crevasse we are crossing and to pose for a photo - probably a little over confidence on my part!
We’ve been told to turn around at 11am when the sun starts to melt the icefall and it becomes more dangerous than it normally is, by 8.30am it seems like 11am is a lifetime away as our legs and arms ache from the stresses and strains of climbing through the icefall but we continue upwards and finally hit an altitude of around 5,650m at 11am, everyone takes the opportunity to adjust clothing, grab a snack and drink some fluids before we’re heading back down, navigating the vertical faces by rappelling down being careful to watch where we are lowering ourselves to as crevasses surround us - it would not be good to go into one of them, when I climbed Manaslu I witnessed a man rappel straight into a crevasse right in front of me and he was lucky his rucksack got stuck and saved him from disappearing into the abyss, I take my time and double check my footing.
Nims was right pain was just temporary as y hip pain has gone!
We arrive back into basecamp around 12.30 and there’s just time for a coffee before lunch and then everyone goes there own way for a few hours, resting, sleeping, calling home, etc - I head up to the cafe and spend some time with Steele and Brodie the drone pilot and the photographer and just people watch the comings and goings of the basecamp cafe.
Not sure of tonight’s plan but I think maybe a movie, I’ve made a small request for it not to be a mountain disaster movie and so we will see what we get!