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Camp one

3. August (day 12) This is the day for leaving base camp for quite a while. I have to hire a donkey +driver to carry food, a TNF VE-25 for camp one, my One Sports Everest boots and fuel for Luc and Sieg among other gear, because I have to carry my bike myself according to the record rules. It is for sure to steep to bicycle here, making it necessary to attach the bike to the backpack tight as possible to prevent it from moving from side to side, spoiling the ability to walk.

Walk from camp 1The donkey drivers are poor people, as anyone else around in this area and bringing gear up to camp one for one dollar for each kg. is rather a lot for them, but they deserve it for the endless walk up and down again. They are sometimes lucky, being able to make a deal in camp one and bring down gear for another group.

The walk is considerably easier this time but I still struggle to keep up with the altitude adjusted donkey drivers. Jim is still in camp one as I arrive, adjusting to altitude, while Luc put up our tent on one of the old camp sites. Food is not a problem here. We want in our inexperience to play it safe and brought a mountain of food with us including some 15 liters of Gasoline + gas bottles.

4. August (day 13) Is a welcomed restday, I use to enjoy the incredible view reaching long into Tajikistan, only some 25 kilometers away. This alone makes the trip worth it.

Camp 1 from aboveI still feel in a hurry, because Sieg and Luc the same day walk with a load of bikes toward camp two, but realize short of the only crevasse section on the entire route, that it has become too late in the day to reach camp two and walk back again. They decide to dump the bikes on a glorious spot and arrive back late in the day. They name the place camp 1.5.

5. August (day 14) Today is the time to change to mountaineering boots as I want to make a acclimatization climb with a small load to camp 1.5 joining up with Sieg and Luc as they how take this camp into possession. We all left our crampons in base camp because the show is soft requiring large snowshoes instead to make the walk more efficient. Most other expeditions use skies, which allow a very easy descend, but that option is out our range because of the bikes. I have in my ignorance on snow shoes bought a pair for trekking, which makes my walk just as angled as the mountain and I really come to hate those throughout the expedition as I constantly put pressure on my Achilles.

The route is easy to recognize because some of the commercial expedition has put up markers along the route. No thinking, just hard work. I go back to camp one after hanging out with the gang of two for a while, thinking on how good the weather has been for the last days.

6. August (day 15)

Peter and Steijn at camp 1,5Peter and Stijn are going to bring up a load to camp two and I want as well to bring up my my bike among other things. We walk up to camp 1.5 and rest there for a time, before we continue through the ice fall which turns out much better than I feared before the trip. Still, we rope up as Peter and Stijn are unselfish experienced mountaineers, and let the inexperienced on that matter, cyclist join in. It later turns out that the gang of two did it unroped among many others and I end up doing it myself the next time I pass the spot. The problem is just that it has become late in the day and we have to dump our gear just after the crevasse section and return to camp one again. I fell in my eager to reach the summit that I didn't push myself fully today, and could have reached camp two, had it not been for the late start.

The three bikers - Sieg's photo.Time of starting up in the mornings turned out to be the biggest mental difference between the bikers and the real mountaineers. Cyclists, how hard they ever are, seldom start their day of work before sunrise, while it is absolutely crucial for a real mountaineer to avoid darkness at the end of the day, if possible.

My stomach is no good in the evening and I frequently run for toilet throughout the night, not a pleasant experience in - 10 C, leaving a warm sleeping bag behind.

7. August (day 16) Any thoughts about going to camp two is ruled out today with last nights trouble, but it's not that bad because I ought to acclimatize anyway.