The next day, we began the ascent and ended the day on a mountainside at about 4400 meters. It rained heavily that night, and we crossed our fingers, hoping it would stop. Unlike the first three weeks in the Khumbu Valley, we now slept in tents every night. I really love camping, so it suited me well!
The next morning, we set our sights on Base Camp. Finally, properly in the mountains!
We arrived at Base Camp (4940) on Friday 27.09.2019. Everyone was in good shape and the mood was high!
Go high, sleep low
The day after we arrived at Base Camp, we had a long rest day. We “showered”, washed clothes in the stream and had a short rope course. Here we met two other groups who were going to attempt to reach the top of Putha Hiunchuli. Since we were already well acclimatized from the trip in Khumbu, it was probably our group that would try to reach the summit first.
On Sunday 29.09, we went on our first hike to Camp 1 (about 5500), where we spent one night. We carried quite heavy loads up to Camp 1, all of the climbing equipment, sleeping bags, and sleeping pads. Everyone was still in good shape, so we decided to “just” visit Camp 2 (about 6200), without sleeping there. We returned all the way to Base Camp, so this day was a long one. The next day was a rest day in Base Camp.
It went by quite slowly, and we mostly talked about (good) food and what we were looking forward to when we got back down. Every time I went to the bathroom (the tent bathroom), I walked past the helicopter landing site and hoped so much that we had managed to reach the top when we were to be picked up here in a few days.
Quiet before the storm
On October 2nd, we went to Camp 1 for the second time. After a night here, we continued to Camp 2. In sunshine and beautiful weather, we reached Camp 2 after about 4 hours.
Everyone was still in good shape, and the atmosphere was great. After some dinner and cuddling in the tent, we went to sleep.
The plan was to start the summit attempt at midnight. Around 8 pm, the wind started to pick up. We were in a steep mountainside, and it was storming and snowing. The wind was blowing hard and shaking the tent. I was worried, mostly about avalanches. I was in the tent with our guide Matoco and Pepo. Matoco probably realized that I was scared and said that he had received a weather report that a storm was coming around 9 pm. I just thought, “God, is it going to get worse than this?” And it did! I (who never get scared) was terrified, and I was sure we were going to die on that mountain. The tent was getting smaller and smaller as the snow piled up against the sides. I didn’t sleep a second, and the storm didn’t let up. Matoco received a new weather report saying that it would get better after 2 am.
When we had been walking for two hours, I asked Matoco how far we had left to go. None of us knew for sure, but he estimated that there were between 3-4 hours left.
We continued, but after 4 hours Bjørn Arne said we had to stop and look at my toes. I was so happy when he said that! Lhakpa and Bjørn Arne took off my shoes, warmed my toes, and put on heaters. It helped!
We continued upwards.
We thought we saw the top 3-4 times before we finally, after 9 hours, reached Putha Hiunchuli (7246).
I cried behind my glasses and was so happy that everyone had made it to the top!
We started the descent and after 18 hours we were back in Base Camp. So tired, happy and grateful that the goal was achieved and that everything went well in the end. Thanks for the trip, guys <3 Kristin <3