11. August (day 20)
The weather is perfect as the gang of cyclists still are sleeping when Jim rushed past us at 8 in the morning, making us look like a bunch of lazy donkeys. He decided to go for another summit attempt just for the fun of it and to examine whether the extra days of acclimatization compensate for the last days efforts. A true scientist.
We eventually get started and follow Jim's track up the mountain. Steijn is now with us after giving up on a summit attempt from camp two early in the morning. Peter had to abandon his attempt due to being too cold in the morning and cleverly didn't want to risk frostbite. Sieg looks like on speed drugs and walks steady up the mountain side, while Luc and I struggle to find a pace together. We pass camp three, which we at first believe it the place where the Slovenian climber died and are quite affected as we slowly move on.
We finally reach a flat section around 7.000 meters where Jim awaits us after realizing staying in altitude has made him slower. This is though perfect for the bikers. We now got the two witness, Guinness book of records demands and instantly assemble our bikes.
The biggest obstacle turns out to the cycling itself. The snow is soft and deep and even a walked path is not easy to bicycle, but we all do it at least one occasion, while Steijn record it on camcorder. Would we have been in trouble if we have had small wheels on our bikes! We pack our bikes together again a couple of hours later, happy but tired.
The leak of energy completely overwhelms me on the descend and I have to stop for every 20 meters for rest and am soon alone. I somehow force myself down to camp 2.5 there Luc in his worries on my missing arrival has begun to walk back again to ensure I am safe, while darkness is approaching. I go directly to sleep after a quick snack, but wake up in the night with freezing feets despite a - 40 C sleeping bag. Jesus - I forgot to take on dry socks before going to sleep.
12. August (day 21) Now is "only" the walk down Mustagh Ata left, but we are more than tired and progress down to camp two goes really slowly. I am beyond exhaustion and decide to stay in camp two to recover. Sieg end up talking Luc down to camp one, despite his similar weak physical appearance and frequent stops. I use the rest of the day to eat snacks and drink water while I incredible enough consider whether I maybe now can become strong enough to make a summit assault without bike tomorrow, but my battered body makes me realize there only is one way - down!
13. August (day 22) Steijn and Peter volunteer to help down a Chinese climber with cerebral edema in the last stages from camp two, not being able to walk by himself. They have to construct an improvised sledge to drag the guy on, easier said than done. I gear up with my bike and two backpacks and keep in pace just in front of them to recover the rope I didn't bring with me from the crevasse section, from a half meter of snow. I just want to get down to base camp now, but use a long time to make a safe walk through the crevasse section, before I am overtaken by Steijn on a fast descend to find a doctor in camp one. Soon are three doctors on their way up to give the Chinese a full medical treatment, while I exhausted stagger my way down to camp one.
I am surprised to find Luc here in the VE-25 tent. He explains that Sieg has gone down to hire donkeys for bringing down our gear. We soon start packing the rest of the gear and await the donkeys to arrive. The problem is the Chinese and one donkey with drivers is left back for bringing him down into lower altitude (he later recovers). Luc and I walk down, while the gasps for air and the cold snow disappears. This adventure has come to an end.
14. August (day 23) Luc start to cycle back to Gilgit in Pakistan while Jim, Sieg and I walk down to Subashi followed by camels with our gear. A minibus brings us from Subashi to Kashgar. We are two days later in Beijing and I wait four days for my flight back to Denmark again.
Epilog: Steijn and Peter didn't reach the summit, mainly because of their rescue of the Chinese, but also due to more snow falling, moving the summit even further away. Sieg later contacts Guinness books of records and they accept the record and each of us receive the certificate below. We did it!!