After our acclimatisation climb to above 7’500m, Fred and myself decided to walk down to 4’800m to recuperate. Eat, drink and rest has been on our agenda for the last 3 days.
Unfortunately we received very bad news while down in lower base camp. One of our friends Yannick, lost his life on Makalu. My sincere condolences go to the family, friends and loved ones. His company in base camp and on the mountain will be sincerely missed.
The weather has turned as well and snow has been a daily event. Any attempt to the summit has been put into the back pocket for the time being. As we are we are still in the recuperation stage, it does not matter a great deal to us but deep down we would like better weather and to know we would be able to climb very soon.
Down in lower base camp we had the luxury of eating rice, potatoes, lentils, chicken, yak and pork. Fresh products are very difficult to get your hands on here and to compensate for the fresh products we had popcorn. What a treat!
Makalu is a huge mountain. It is not as steep as K2 but very exposed to wind and that makes it a very cold climb. A steep climb in-between camp 2 and 3 can be challenging in bad weather, but from camp 3 to camp 4 above 7’500m it flattens out before the last famous French corridor and then the ridge to the summit.
On our acclimatisation climb we had very strong winds at 7’600m and without supplement oxygen it becomes very difficult to breath and very cold. The wind chill factor plays an important role on our survival where we breathe only 7% oxygen. At these heights we move only 60-100m per hour and the longer we stay up there the less chance we have of getting back down.
We must never forget that the summit is only half way there.