The Middle Days

Thursday, May 18, 2017. After breakfast at 11,000 foot camp, we took empty sleds and empty packs down to our cache at 10,600 feet. We picked up group loads and our personal caches then climbed back up the hill with our packs and sleds - probably 50 pounds in each.

The snow is falling and the wind is blowing. My face and lower lip are fried. So are the heels of my feet. By 4 PM the sun is out and cooking us in the tent!

Friday, May 19, 2017. Ditched our snowshoes and sleds in exchange for crampons and heavy packs. Ice ax in one hand and a trekking pole in the other. We climbed up Motorcycle Hill and Squirrel Hill then around Windy Corner and across the Polo Fields and cached at 13,600 feet. I was whipped and collapsed from exhaustion upon reaching our destination.  We emptied our packs. The guides buried our belongings which was mostly food and fuel and we walked briskly back down to 11,000 foot camp.

Saturday, May 20, 2017. Rest day.  Breakfast was delicious bagels with cream cheese and bacon. The weather is cloudy but warm with light snow. I took the opportunity to sit outside and meditate and stretch. Ate spam for lunch and tried to recuperate. My heels are still in terrific pain. I'm hoping I can endure. Mentally I feel better if not for my heels.

Sunday, May 21 2017. We moved camp from 11,000 feet to 14,000 feet. It was a brutal day. Very heavy pack. We climbed the three major hills AGAIN, past our cache, up a grinder and marched into 14,000' camp.

14,000 foot camp is a sprawling area that all groups use to launch their summit bids. We had to build camp and get our tents up even though we were all exhausted beyond measure. And cold. The guides have boundless energy and dug out/built the camp kitchen they call the "Posh" and latrine (again). Our team helped saw ice blocks and build walls around our tents and fortified camp against forthcoming high winds and snow.

From here we wait for a weather window to allow us to cache and/or move up to 17,000 foot camp.  Then claim the summit thereafter.  Based on forecasts and history, we might remain at 14,000 foot camp for the next 5 to 10 days.

The "Posh"is our cook tent (above). 

This was our "latrine" (above) complete with 5-gallon pail and pee hole (below).  The tent cover was deluxe!


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