Martin: We loaded up with the team kit and set off to do a carry forward to camp one. It's just over 1.5miles to the camp, but if I told you our average speed was 0.8mph, then it might give you an idea of how steep the gradient was. We climbed just under 700m in 3hrs!
Despite the aching legs, plus the headaches and shortness of breath thanks to the altitude, spirits as ever remained high and we laughed most of the way up the mountain!
There's a great camaraderie between the team. Sean (as expected) is the source of much of the amusement, most of which could never be repeated here! Needless to say he’s keeping us all entertained, and keeping many of the camp staff wondering just who we’ve brought up the mountain!! And we WILL teach him to eat vegetables by the end of this exped!!
Jaco: I opted to take my personal kit up first as it was slightly lighter and I wanted to use this first time up to higher altitude to acclimatise. This will make the second time up while carrying a heavier pack slightly easier, as my body will recognise that I’ve been at this height before.
Personally I felt good, Andy our expedition guide set a steady pace. Once at camp 1 we emptied our backpacks and sorted all the kit in different piles for camps 1, 2 and 3.
A few off us walked over to a nearby ledge with breathtaking views of the valley, looking down on base camp. On the ledge there was a sheer drop of over 50 metres. After a few pics and selfie opportunities our courage grew and we started to shift closer to the edge of the ledge. Some off the guides with heaps of climbing experience took it to the next level and climbed right to the very edge. It made for a great photo opportunity!
Heading down was great fun! Myself, Andy and Tel were in one line racing down the mountain, letting gravity do its thing!!! By keeping your knees bent and soft, your back straight and your head over your toes and not leaning back, you can pick up some serious speed! It took us 2.5 hours to get to camp 1 and 34 minutes to get back to BC.
A great day, I felt strong and looking forward to our ascent to the summit in a few days time.
Kelda: Every day that I’m still going strong and the leg’s still working puts a smile on my face! The climb to camp 1 was tough….I was in the mountain boots for the first time out here. My leg doesn’t have a great working relationship with the boots, but they seemed to have come to a compromise and worked well together. It was harder than I expected getting to camp 1, and I’ll be honest, I had a few tears when I got there!
But hey, I did it and the best thing of all was that I was really dreading the descent, as I know how much pain this normally causes me, but for whatever reason, I found it easy. I got down way quicker than I was expecting, and I still had a smile on my face at the bottom. Now that’s what I call a result!
Sean: "The 500 metre ascent to camp 1 was literally shits and giggles. We had been at base camp for a few days acclimatising and even though that’s needed I was getting impatient to climb.
We set off around 10:30 in the morning and I was feeling fit, strong and well rested. We started the climb and the pace we were walking seemed to me, with my lack of experience, extremely slow. How wrong I was. I started feeling the altitude and was gasping for breath. Trust me, then I was glad of the pace.
We had to forward carry our kit to camp 1, leaving it behind so then we can carry the rest when we set off. I decided to go big and carry near enough everything I have up there. This, in hindsight, was a mistake. The sun was beating down and I was hunched over with what felt like a house on my back. It wasn’t the best idea I’ve ever had.
To make things worse half an hour in I started to feel a little ill. I thought the world wanted to fall out of my arse. It did not feel good. Luckily for me we stopped for a rest and I ran behind a rock, (to let’s just say, ease the pain from my stomach). I did have to kiss Terry’s stump before the bugger would give me some toilet tissue. This might sound disgusting but desperate times call for desperate measures.
After that it was a straight slog to the top. It couldn’t have taken more than four hours to get up and down but trust me it was a graft, but well worth it. The views were spectacular. I can’t wait to see the views from the summit."
Terry: "I’ve been looking forward to today. We are now on the mountain and will experience all the good and bad effects that go with it: sleeping, breathing and drinking at 4300metres all becomes harder with headaches frequent.
I had the choice not to go to camp 1, but from not going, to then going halfway with no kit, I ended up carrying 25kg of team kit all the way (lucked out there).
The team was strong and we kept it together, halfway we stopped for a 10 minute break for water and food. Sean was desperate for the toilet but unfortunately forgot his toilet roll and it didn’t take him long to agree to kiss my stump for my toilet roll which after 2 hrs of hard mountain walking ascending 300metres was pretty sweaty to say the least.
We completed the walk without battering ourselves too much and headed back to base for a rest day. With weather windows on the 19th Harry, Martin and the guides have put a plan in place for summit day.
Del: A forward carry of fuel, rations and equipment to camp one, fairly heavy loads and increase in altitude to 5000m meant this could be a cheeky day on the mountain. Hopefully, I was fully recovered as my confidence had been knocked when I suffered on the trek into base camp. So it was a nervous start as we headed up the steep slopes.
The weather was good and Andy the local guide was setting a good steady pace. We zig zagged our way up the steep ground stopping a couple of times to take in the stunning scenery and to try and take in as much oxygen as possible, which became increasingly difficult the higher we got.
Two and half hours of steep climbing we reached camp 1. Spending an hour or so at this height is ideal for acclimatisation, we then headed back down the steep slopes back to base camp. I had a good day I felt reasonably strong which was just what I needed, now I'm looking forward to getting back up there!
Matt: the team did a forward carry to camp 1. I stayed back at base camp because my stump had taken a beating from walking almost 50 kilometres in the first 3 days. I had a large lump from rubbing, and one raw spot. Taking the day off helped a lot with the recovery. The flip side is I haven't acclimatised to that altitude like the rest of the team has, so it will be harder work for me over the next couple days while I catch up. The benefit of staying for me definitely outweighs the negative.
Day 6, Matt: I spent the day staying off of my leg in order to let it continue to heal, which paid off. The large lump I had has drastically reduced in size. The other big thing I did today in an effort to have a good stump for the long climb is I took my prosthetic socket to the kitchen stove. I heated the socket with the stove, and then pushed out the carbon fibre where it was rubbing my leg. The socket feels a lot better now, but I won't know if I did enough or not until we spend a day climbing the mountain.