Second Rotation

On the 28th of April we started the 2nd rotation. The plan was to climb to C2, sleep there, climb to C3 the next day, sleep there, descend the next day to C2, and either sleep there or descend all the way to KBC. The weather was ok when we set out, but deteriorated fast after about 5 hours, with strong winds and lots of snow fall. It got very cold and, unfortunately, I had dropped my down jacket in a steep section. I knew someone below had caught it but of course I couldn’t put it on when needed. Fortunately, there was still a ‘guardian tent’ up at C1 which was otherwise completely broken down. I was already showing the signs of the 1st phase of undercooling, but fortunately I got my down and Pemba poured hot tea in me. We climbed on and reached C2 after about 9 hours, pretty much exhausted. The next morning we set out for C3, but we knew we could not sleep there as the tents, fuel, and other essential equipment was not there yet. So we would just touch and then return to C2. The weather was not so good: mist, clouds, snowfall… you could hardly see the surroundings, apart from enormous crevasses. The fixed ropes diligently led us through the dangerous parts. However, when we had reached ~6500m I had enough of it and wanted to go down. It turned out that everybody more or less felt the same and we returned to C2. The next morning we could have another try but the weather forecast was not too good and for the day after pretty disastrous. Arien didn’t feel too well with a pretty bad headache that would not subside with ibuprofen and paracetamol. The only option under these circumstances is to go down. I had already told him I would join him when Pemba came with tea at 5:15 h and the message that the Romanians had decided to descend to KBC. Although that meant I would not have to go down theoretically, Pemba said it would perhaps be better for me as well to go down “to eat a lot and recover”. Apparently I’ve started to live up to my nickname they use behind my back: Spaghetti-Peter, because of my thin limbs and body. Anyhow, we returned to KBC in horrendous weather, especially the large amounts of snow made it quite difficult, if only for the avalanche danger in some places. It took us almost 4 hours to reach KBC. The stretch from Crampon Point to KBC was soo bad that even the sherpas fell one after another. For the next few days we will stay at KBC. Once the ropes are fixed from C3 to C4 and the summit and the weather is favourable, we will go up for the summit. So there won’t be a third rotation. The whole expedition might be over sooner than was originally scheduled.

Second rotation: 28 April – 1 May