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YEP 7 Exp Kamchatka Day 3

Left, Right, Left, Right, Left Right…

These words are all that pass through your fighting mind as you achieve one foot in front of the other, 50 knot winds spare past your ears as you try navigate your way through the deep snow…. “STOPPPPP”!!!!… my team mate hails as our sled begins to over turn. With every breath, step, and struggle you become weaker and weaker, the threat of frost bite starts to become a nearing reality. “for the team, for the future and for our pride”, are the thoughts that motivate you when you yet again arrive at another valley to summit.
Leaving from Mutnovsky Geothermal power station early morning, all of us young explorers were very excited to experience for the first time the real true elements of Kamchatka, we were ready for anything, we thought. Setting off with sleds to follow, heavily loaded with our equipment. Bodies covered and equipment strategically packed. Our goal was set for a small volcanologist Cabin at the base of Mutnovsky Volcano, where we planned to set up base camp.

Quickly we learnt from our mistakes, to walk with power, as a team, navigation, and speed but with agility. All these qualities we learnt to enhance and master with every thought and action of “left, right” which prepared us for what was to come…

Darkening clouds cover, blizzard conditions thicken, head winds harden, and our clothing stiffens. Ice invades our faces freezing everything left exposed. As the seconds pass the elements of the brewing storm grow stronger. Our speed and pace begins to slow, to then result in a halt. It becomes obvious that the conditions are at their peak. Over 50 knots of wind makes it a struggle to stand. Horizontal bullets of snow pierce our bodies. The decision is made to set up base camp right at the spot where we found ourselves. Panic set in as we rushed to pitch our tents.

Suddenly excruciating pain rapidly fires up my right hand, from unbearable pain which made me want to scream, I realize I have made a huge mistake, one that may change the status of my future. I have been caught with one hand out of my glove…

My hand then hardens and feeling is no more… with panic flashing through my mind, I yell at the top of my lungs for Fred our mountain guide as he walks past me. But with the wind like bullets, hearing is impossible. With my condition worsening, it becomes clear to me that I am alone; I am the only sole person that can decide my hands fate. In panic and struggle I strip open my bag, the last option I have is to hope and search for a lifesaving spare pair of gloves. “Bang” a huge beat of my heart as my eyes sight what I had hoped. In seconds I have my hand wrapped and safe but with no feeling. I franticly fight throwing my hand towards the ground to restore warmed blood to my fingers. Feeling starts to restore, and movement is again possible.
Coming so close to the threat of frost bite, I had my first encounter with the real strength of the elements in Kamchatka, This is no game. Exploring with Mike Horn is the real world!

I fall off to sleep, an amazing day, one I could name the best day of my life… but tomorrow`s venture is to follow. “live to learn, and learn to act”.

Good Night

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