We left late from 4000m. Felling good, we decided to climb slowly, not to stress our lungs and brains in low pressure, low oxygen atmosphere.
The first break was above Diesel, at about 4300. Photos, chocolate, some water from the mountain rescuers and we were ready to go further.
We decided to go no further than Pashtukova Rocks, because of AMS (Acute Mountain Sickness). Our bodies felt good, but the first night at about 4800m would have been crucial. As we will know back home, that night we camped at 5000m, not at 4800. That’s why we were all sick, one by one, more or less.
We felt tired, but the team’s moral was excellent. We digged to make the platform straight, then we built a stone to protect the tents from storms and winds.
Because of the altitude and the tiredness, Tibi’s sleeping bag managed to slip from his hands and rolled 1200 meters lower, on a glacier full of crevasses. Lucian and him went ASAP after it, with only their harnesses, water, sugar and flashlights. 4 people with 3 sleeping bags at 5000m would have been very… unpleasant. As they left, it soon became dusky, so I shot a few more pictures and entered the red tent with Ileana, preparing water for the boys’ return.
Melting snow at 5000, with severe headache and puking spasms, was quite an effort. 2 persons in the small tent, me shivering like hell because of the lack of food in the last day, combined with high altitude, would have become pure danger. I don’t know how we moved inside the tent, with all the gear inside, when we managed to pour 1.2 liters of melted snow from the pot inside my sleeping bag, all over me. I was dressed with 3 pairs of trousers, 4 layers of jackets, gloves and a beanie. All my lower part of the body was wet, fortunately the old Marmot jacket protected the inside top layers from getting too wet. I instantly forgot that our boys were out there, in the cold wind, or that I felt very sick, and I got out of the tent instantly. I wasn’t wearing socks, but I didn’t feel the freezing snow outside. The boys confirmed there were about -20 -25 degrees outside. I pulled the sleeping bag, with all the water inside, and it instantly froze on it. This way I cleaned it like it was full of snow powder. Fortunately, it was a synthetic sleeping bag, so the filling didn’t absorb water. With only 2 sleeping bags left, it would have been a long night.
We were seconds away from disaster, but after getting back in, I felt better quickly. Adrenaline works. My feet and internal organs felt warm again, and we were even able to eat half a slice of bread. After another half hour, we went outside to put a flashlight on a rock, so that the boys see us. We saw them climbing fast a few hundred meters below.
They arrived in about an hour, with the sleeping bag. Unbelievable, they recognized it on the glacier, among all the rocks, and it didn’t fall in a crevasse. We were lucky this time, at least we had the gear back, and we were ok.
Or so we thought… The first crucial night was about to begin. Will we sleep or will we puke all night?