THE CLIMB- Filling in the Gaps (6th October) Camp 1

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

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Day 6- 6th October

 

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We headed up to Camp 1 (C1) (5,600m), this time with our packs. Frank and Lao Qiao led the way. We had a few opportunities to leave behind some of our belongings at Xining and Carl’s place (Qinghai Lake, west of Xining), along the way, but we now needed no motivation to purge our belongings even more rigorously, leaving unnecessary items at Base Camp (BC)- now that we had had a taste of what was to come. Even an extra pack of medicine, or bandaids was weight we didn’t want to carry!

 

We plodded along up the slopes of scree (accumulation of rock fragments at the base of mountains), having only the energy to concentrate on putting one foot in front of the other.

We crossed a winding, frozen river several times. For me, this brought up visions of those movies where people fall through the ice into freezing waters, as soon as they step onto it, and then get trapped under the ice. I’m sure the river wasn’t that deep & scary as my over-active imagination, but nevertheless, having wet feet and clothes opens the way for frostbite or hypothermia.

I always tested the ice to see if it was solid before committing, but once, on a deeper crossing, as soon as I committed my full body weight, the ice cracked. I was so scared that I ran across the river so fast I didn’t even see how deep the crack was. It could have been tiny! 

 

Our team had different walking styles, which I observed during our training back in Sydney. For some, they liked to pick up the pace for a while, and then stop for breaks, then continue at that pace. For me, I was like the tortoise instead of the hare. If I had to stop, then I was walking too fast. That was the rule for most of the time, the rest of the time, it was Julia’s (team member) suggestion- our prime minister’s favourite catch cry, “moving forward…moving forward…”!

 

I remember one time, Julia and I saw a figure in red, in the distance, climbing ahead of our team. I counted all of us, and remember asking Julia who that was. We didn’t know the significance of this then.

 

As a team we decided to make camp at 5,300m instead of the official Camp 1 (C1) (5,600m), as we were getting tired and may arrive at C1 too late in the day to comfortably set up camp.  

We set up our tents on what we remembered as relatively flat ground. Carl was very attentive to our needs and cooked some dinner (Norwegian cup-a-soup, Yak jerky, and apples) for our tent (Julia, Sheena, and I shared with Carl- 4 people in a 3-person tent- squishy, but we needed the warmth!). Frank shared a tent with Philip and Lao Qiao (Philip’s friend). He said that wasn’t terribly spacious either!

We would love to hear from you, leave us a comment (after the photos)- you don’t have to start an account or anything…. 

 

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

 

 

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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!) …

    

Update 3rd October @ 18:26

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 ~

The team stayed at Carl’s (our Norwegian Guide/Aide/part time porter) place at Qinghai Lake (3,300m) for the last 2 days to acclimatise.

Yesterday we hiked to 3,900m (with Julia doing 4,400m).  We are all pretty tired.

Mic cooked a YUMMY lamb stew. Out here, there’s nothing but lamb and yaks.

This morning, we hiked 3,700m and are now heading to Dulan (200kms west) where we will be camping. From now on, it’s camping all the way!

For food, we are eating peanut butter and jam on 3 day old sweet bread for lunch at the lakeside. But forget about the food, it’s been so surreal listening to Carl’s Blues Brothers whilst driving along the beautiful Qinghai scenery.

Tonight we will be staying at 3,700m.

Friday 1st October 2010 – Start of the Climb

Frank & Jiji have finished our volunteer work in Xining, the capital of Qinghai. The 2 weeks for us have taken its toll on our bodies so we gotta take it easy.

Sheena, Julia & Mic have now arrived for 2 days now.

The team has now assembled from Australia and is getting ready to go to the first stage of the climb.  We will be leaving our Hotel in Xining around 12:00pm and heading up to spend a day or two at Qinghai Lake.

This will be the first steps as we ascend to Base Camp.

Qinghai Lake ranges between 2000 and 3000 mtrs above sea level and will be a place to do some short walks and spend time getting used to the extra height.

On Thursday the 30th we did a short preparation hike up one of the local lookouts Beishan (North Mountain) – it was good to clear the cob webs.  We were taken up by Carl our Nowegian Guide/Aide/part time porter who we have affectionately nick named the “Crazy Norwegian”. 

Sheena and Julia followed up on Friday (today) morning with Carl on another short walk which they hopefully will provide some details.

Mic who arrived Thursday eve into Xining decided to rest a little more.  Jiji and I spent Friday morning sorting out our kit and catching up after late nights and long days with the other volunteer and charity work we had come to do in Qinghai.

After the lake we will travelling to Golmud to meet  with the rest of the team and have our kit double checked by a guide group and the team leaders.  Here we will meet up with Philip and one other helper to get us up to the top.  We plan to be at Base camp on the 5th Oct (5,050m).  All going well we should be able to post successful pictures and climb details around the 10th Oct.

If we can get internet access or sms out you may also see brief updates by us or one of our home team with the progress

Wish us luck!!!

Frank (& Jiji)