Today we set out to climb from base camp to the summit of Lobuche in one push. We started at 0500, and with one ascent already under our belts, this should have been a lot easier. When we had done this earlier in the week, we had done it over 2 days, and the cumulative time it had taken me was 2 hours to high camp, and then 5 and a half hours to summit camp.
So it should have taken me around 8 hours, but with 2 days and nights to spend on the summit, I decided to carry an extra 3 kilos of equipment to help entertain my tent mate and I. The additional discomfort during the climb would be offset by the pleasure and entertainment we would have in the long 48 hours on the summit…at least that was my theory.
3 kilos certainly doesn’t seem too much writing about it after the fact, but it was probably a 30% increase in the weight I was carrying. Multiplied by the number of hours I had to climb, and it suddenly became a significant, nay ridiculous burden.
Whilst most of the other climbers reached the summit in around 7 hours, it took me 10. Coupled with the fact that I was suffering from congestion, which stopped me breathing freely, a major hindrance at high altitude, the extra weight was a very bad idea…but as Russell said, I had to learn!
Having said that, this was not a bad day for me! I plodded along, and despite the long hours, I never thought of giving up. My vision tunnelled to the 5 metres ahead of me, and I just focused on getting to the next anchor point, and then the next and so on…
When I finally arrived at the summit camp, everyone else had already settled down for lunch and retreated to their tents to keep warm. Only one tent flap was open, and Shari was there waiting for me. When I crested the final ridge, and people heard I had arrived, I received a wonderful reception. I had taken so long that they had assumed I had given up. As Helmut the German said, I am a fighter and never give up, and it was really nice to hear the other compliments I received on what they called an epic effort, but what the guides would probably call a lesson in weight management!