Delhi – and round up

October 10, 2007

Well, we’ve all made it back to Delhi safely, which is the news I’m sure everyone wanted to hear 🙂

 Craig and I are holed up in Pahar Ganj and what did we find here? the Taj Mahal?…….Enlightenment?……no……Giardia?…….no…….  Broadband!!

And with it came communication with the other three. We should be meeting up in a couple of hours for chai and story telling.

Yesterday we got a lovely message from Allan telling us how much he missed us – thanks Al!

The following is an excerpt from a story that Craig has been writing about the trip for the NZ Alpine Journal. It outlines a bit about how the climbing part of the adventure went for us:

(no photographs yet sorry, we’re too old school and are still using film)

….. As plans go there wasn’t one. We knew where we thought we could get a ledge big enough to hold a tent, the rest we would have to make up as we went.

By early morning we crossed the shrund and with lungs screaming we pitched up towards a snaking gully that bisects the buttress from the blank walls out right. In general the snow is good to climb, always we have to dig through layers of ice to place screws but conditions are OK. We lose the ice in an early runnel and have to tension down and across to ice with more depth but by evening we reach the ‘snaking’ gully. We stand perched on a 65degree slope, the ice rising almost vertical above us, surrounding walls are smooth and blank, and with the last rays of sun disappearing over Dungiri to the west we start to hack out a bed for the night. The ledge is good, almost 50cm deep – enough to sit on at least. We forgot to eat and drink all day so with two stoves cranking we play hydration catchup. Neither of us can eat, we’re too exhausted. I don’t remember if we slept that first night.

A quick cuppa in the morning and we start up the gully. After a pitch it becomes far too steep to be climbing with packs heavy with seven odd days shit. The leader climbs and then hauls while spindrift pounds down the gully, the second struggles up 80-degree runnels with pack on. One point saw Kester pushing through a crux when a 15minute blast of spindrift reduced him to as standstill. We manage four pitches before evening, our brains quickly switch to bivvy mode. The ledge is some 15cm wide that night. Practically hanging from cracks in the wall, feet stuffed in packs stopping us from sliding off. I guess we slept, and again we forgot to eat and drink all day, we’re above 6000m now and every-things a fuckin epic!

Kester and I wake in the morning feeling like shit, it’s a general feeling that neither of us shares with the other. We pack and continue pitching upwards, hauling again on the first pitch of the day then as the gully disintegrates we traverse right to easier ground. The slopes drag on, we cough and scream and generally make a hard time of it, always having to excavate through layers of ice for screws. In places screws have hit rock but for the most part the ice has been over an inch thick. It’s late evening before we hit the snow arete atop the main buttress and another two and a half hours to hack out a ledge that almost fits the tent. Again we haven’t eaten, and as the sun fades we are engulfed in cloud – it starts snowing.

 by the time darkness arrives we a crammed in the tent, brewing madly, heads spinning from the concoction of drugs we had taken to ease the headaches and coughs. I think we actually slept that night. We didn’t get out of bed the next morning, and only when the snow and spindrift threatened to push our little tent of the mountainside did we get up and dig the tent out…

We’re up and climbing before 7am. Traversing across the ice field towards a devious looking cliff band which separates the ice field from the final headwall. Everything takes more time now. The ice is beginning to dinnerplate and as we reach the cliff band we realise we’ll have to haul again. Although only 60 odd metres the band has a big zag in it, we break this into two pitches but combined with its steepness and fiddly nature it soaks up all the afternoon. The weather has begun to turn to crap, all afternoon spindrift has poured over us. Six in the evening we pop onto another snow arete below the headwall and immediately start looking for a ledge.

We hit bulletproof ice after the first few swings of the aze…

Not much you can say or do really – just make the best of it ha? The evening is clear and cold. The valley below feels empty. Out west, beyond Dunagiri, beyond the Ramani Glacier, thunder clouds roll. In the semi darkness we watch the lightening flashes and here the thunder echo across the mountains. Not much you can do ha?

It’s early evening when the snow starts to fall. Spindrift cascades off the headwall. I pull the tent over me, kester huddles in a bivvy bag…It’s all gone to shit!

By midnight our sleeping bags are as much use as wet dish towels. Kester and I don’t say much, we close down into our own miserable worlds and suffer through the night.

With not much more than a look between us we start rapping, V threading the entire north face. 16odd raps through cloud and spindrift to the shrund then a butt slide down to the glacier, where a wave of exhaustion sweeps over us, we’ve hardly eaten or slept in two days…I’m spinning out as i struggle back to ABC.

The next day is a right-off. We don’t move, hardly eat, just lay there numb.……

Stay tuned for news as it comes to hand from the other team!

(and photos)


3 Responses to “Delhi – and round up”

  1. ed said

    hey fullahs, glad your back and thawin out best wishes and fun travels

  2. Stu said

    Good to hear that you are still around. We need to get these storm cycles more organised.

  3. Rob said

    Sinh chao folks. Good to hear you are out with some good tales. Have fun.

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