THE CLIMB- Filling in the Gaps [8TH OCTOBER] Last day of climb

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for the project details  how much we’ve raised so far 

Click on “Blog Entries & Pics” at the top of the website for:

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It actually gives you a better experience if you click onto the website instead of reading it in your email.

 

Day 8, October 8

 

 

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We woke to the sun beating down on the tent, which was dangerously dehydrating us, but given our experience yesterday, no one felt the need to wake up early today. As we were packing our things to head back to Base Camp (BC) (5,050m), six Tibetans from the Qinghai Mountaineering Association Search & Rescue team met us on their way up to the official Camp 1 (C1) (5,600m) (we were camped at 5,300m). I knew the man wouldn’t have lasted the night, and it would be a recovery, not a rescue.

 

As we packed, I was aware that four of the fingers on my right hand and a couple on my left were becoming increasingly sensitive to touch, to the point that Julia and Sheena were kind enough to help me pack a lot of my gear for the next few days. This was later confirmed to be frostnip, the first stage of frostbite, which can happen in just 60 seconds. Once you’ve had it, your resistance to the cold is much less. I realised the onset was when my mind was in that “zone”, and I took my gloves off to make those calls for help at Camp 1. 

 

Amidst the obvious air of sadness that was over our camp, one thing I thought quite amusing was that our tent, which we thought on relatively flat ground, was actually at such an angle that Sheena, the smallest in our team woke with the three of us rolled on top of her, and a big space on the other side of the tent.

 

The girls’ tent (Sheena, Julia, Jiji) were extremely grateful to Carl for his care and attentiveness leading us up the mountain, and now also, coming down, when Sheena was especially grateful for his assistance.

There must have been a different, faster way down the mountain, because when we reached BC, the Search & Rescue team were already there with the police entourage and later, the coroner’s vehicle.

We found out that the man whom we discovered at C1 had a driver. Philip and I shook hands with him at Base Camp and chatted briefly while the rest of the team packed our gear. He told us the man had intended to camp with us the night  we camped at 5,300m, but of all the chances he had to communicate this to us, when he was climbing quite close to our team, he never tried to make contact. Frank said at one stage, they were so close, he could have hit him with a rock (if he threw one). 

News reports after the incident revealed that the driver waited anxiously at BC when the man failed to radio back to him, though unfortunately we didn’t see any lights.

We were later informed that he was the vice-president of a mountaineering association of Xinjiang, Qinghai’s neighbouring province. News reports confirmed that the man died of High Altitude Cerebral Edema (HACE)(fluid build-up in the brain due to prolonged exposure to high altitude; the severest & most life-threatening form of altitude sickness).

 

This experience was surreal, and one that we didn’t expect to have to deal with, on a simple fundraising expedition, by a bunch of office-workers from Australia. I felt as if I had walked straight into one of the climbing novels that I loved reading so much. We feel terrible for the man, we now know to be Yang Ge, and for his family and friends, that he had to spend the last hours of his life alone. We had so many questions that we will never know the answers to.

 

We packed up our remaining things at BC and drove to Xidatan “Truckstop” (~4,000m) for our first proper meal in days.

One the photos shows us all with red weather-exposed noses, as we had to cover up every part of our faces on the mountain, but the tips of our noses would often get missed. It’s probably also from wiping them constantly, lest our nasal dribble turn into icicles, which they did!

It was not until we arrived at Golmud (Chinese:Ge’ermu) (2,800m) that evening that I felt we were well and truly back on safe ground, and the experience behind us.

After a hot shower, our second for the expedition, we shared some street food and a case of hot beer (people don’t really use fridges in Qinghai, with temperatures averaging -5 to 8 degrees). We drank with mixed emotions, but were ultimately and humbly thankful for the safety of our expedition.

 

ON BEHALF OF THE ADVENTURE4AID TEAM, WE’D REALLY LIKE TO SAY A BIG THANKYOU TO CARL AND PHILIP FOR COORDINATING THE EXPEDITION AND TAKING CARE OF US. I HOPE THE MONEY RAISED WILL GO INTO TWO SOLID MOBILE CLINICS WITH UP-TO-DATE EQUIPMENT & STAFF!

  

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THE CLIMB- Filling in the Gaps (1st-4th October)

Hello, for all email subscribers, please see www.adventure4aid.com

for the project details  |  how much we’ve raised so far 

previous blog updates  |  if you can’t see these photos

 

Hi everybody thanks for reading. Sorry it’s taken so long to write about our actual climb. As I mentioned in the last update, I was figuring out what and how to document about it. I’ve written a summary for this blog (with help from Sheena).

I’ll be filling in the gaps for you each day of the climb until the end of our expedition- October 8. Look out for one roughly each day until Christmas!

First of all, thank you for all our sponsors, individuals and businesses- without your generosity, these TWO mobile clinics could not become a reality.

—         

In my opinion, and from the true climbing stories I’ve read (I am definitely no expert here), there are two of the most difficult decisions a mountaineer could be faced with. On this expedition, we had to make both of them.  

—         

Day 1-4, October 1 – 4

 

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 As per our previous dispatches (please have a read if you haven’t yet), we started our expedition from Xining (capital of Qinghai), on October 1st, headed west, spending two days at Carl’s place at the famous Qinghai Lake, China’s largest inland salt lake. (Carl is our crazy Norwegian guide who has lived in Qinghai for fifteen years & speaks fluent Tibetan). We did a couple of training climbs in the mountains behind his property. Julia & Carl got to the summit of this 4,400m mountain Woo hoo! (see photos) [There are also a few photos of Carl’s place when it was snowing after the climb.]

 

 I pick up from our last climb update- October 4 in the township of Dulan, when Mic, our team member from Queensland decided to turn back for a combination of reasons, not in the least being the altitude. We’d been on the road since 1st October- SIX people, 8 days worth of food, team cooking and climbing gear, individual backpacks, AND Carl’s Siberian husky, Kiro- all packed into one four-wheel drive.

We saw Mic off on the next bus to Xining, then went on to the next town. 

Golmud (Chinese name: Ge’ermu) (2,800m) is the last town before the mountain, and major stop on the train to Lhasa. Here we met Philip (Director of LOVEQTRA, who is administering this project), and his friend, Lao Qiao, who was also joining the team. This was also where we had our last shower and proper meal in a no-star hotel room, which can be booked by the hour. We didn’t stay overnight here, just bought some more supplies and headed off westward towards the next stop.

We stopped at Xidatan ~4,000m, “the Truckstop” as Carl called it, picked a spot on the side of the highway, and camped there for the night. The only reason this place exists is to provide a rest-stop for truckies. There is a little row of small restaurants which serve the usual- variations of lamb or yak (high-altitude cattle) noodles and hot tea.

To toughen us up I guess, we ate army food that I won’t comment on here! It comes in foil packets- either rice or noodles, you add water and shake it and the chemical reaction in the section surrounding the food is supposed to heat the food and keep it warm. I chose noodles because I was a bit doubtful about how hot my food was really going to be, since it was already snowing, and at least cold noodles taste better than cold rice…. suffice to say, though, that the army food was never brought out again (not in the girls’ tent anyway!)

There was one item I enjoyed- the compressed biscuit. It was like eating a yummy, peanut butter-flavoured brick.

It was pretty cold standing around, so after we ate, we jumped into our sleeping bags and dozed off.

We’d love to hear from you, leave us a “Comment”

 

 

 

 

 

If you prefer to see all the thumbnails here (smaller version, not as good as the slideshow above!) …

    

8 Oct – Back from the mountain

Hello, for all email subscribers, please see www.adventure4aid.com for the project details and how much we’ve raised so far!

~ Message from the Oz Home Team translated from the Jiji’s SMS ~

(from an SMS 10 October at 3:59am Sydney Time)

We are back and everyone is safe.  We are currently at Golmud now (major town near the Yuzhu Peak).

The team made a tough decision to turn around short of the summit because of bad weather and the hour of the day.  It has been quite intense and we pushed our boundaries both emotionally and physically.

We will write more detail if we can when we are back in Xining but we want to report that we are safely off the mountain first.