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Dhaulagiri Expedition 2002


April 21, 2002 – Ben Clark: The crisp sunlight that warmed the nylon surface of our tent this morning was enough to finally muster my eyes open and my mind free and clear again.  Waking to legs feeling fresh and a mental attitude renewed, the long traverse across Dhampas and French Pass, both above 17,000', to base camp seemed a worthy and exciting goal for the day. Of course, at about Noon was when I realized that we were once again in the high Himalaya. The constant reminder was there for the entire three hours, chilling my sunburned half frozen face fueling my welcome back to Dhaulagiri and her base camp the entire way. I did take some light to the situation when I realized what a truly committed and maybe crazed climber I had become when descending into the valley.

Tommy Heinrich and Robert Link heading up a steep section on the way to Camp 1 on the Northeast route on Dhaulagiri.   Photo: Jeff Justman
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Traversing the trail along the highest geographical feature which was directly in the middle of the valley that the thunder and lightning above somehow seemed to just lap over and beyond wherever it was I stood....where I stood with a pack on my back supported by two metal stays and holding in each hand...Metal ski-poles.  After two days of weather and absolute physical abuse The Greek and I reached our base camp soggy, dusty, and with smiles on our faces. 

April 21, 2002 – Mike Olson

Today is a rest day after two days of carrying loads to Camp One. Everyone is taking the day to rest including our Sherpa climbing crew. They have been pushing the route for us and have done a fantastic job. Just accessing the ramp which allowed us to skirt the icefall was great work. Yesterday they made it to Camp 2 and scoped the way to Camp 3. We now have a plan to depart tomorrow for Camp 1 and then carry loads to Camp 2 and Camp 3 spending five to six days up high then we will return to Base camp to rest again.

We have one of the strongest Sherpa crews in all of Nepal and with their help and luck with the weather we should be able to make good time towards our goal. The boys are having fun and I think they appreciate our help in carrying loads so as to allow them more time route finding and fixing rope in critical areas. Last night people partied a bit and Pasang even danced some! Again, hats off to Lhawang, Pasang, Dawa, Lhakpa Nhuru, and Zangpo!

Kitchen crew also - Ang Dawa, Pemba, Nima and Ura.

Thanks –Follow the Kushi Batto (Happy Trail) 

Mike Olson