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Dhaulagiri Expedition 2002

April 1, 2002

    Today I rose earlier than the amber hues of sunlight that carve the massive white body and fluted ridges of Dhaulagiri out of its palette of darkness each morning.  In the dark at 6:00 A.M., I scuttled to the top of a ridgeline with the hopes of clearing my imagination and filling the void in reality with a sight of this alluring peak.  Lying in the frost, alone and high in the Himalayas, I worried less about the arduous 3000' descent ahead and focused now on why I was here: to be a tiny speck on the great white flanks of one of the worlds most beautiful and unforgiving peaks, a peak now in my sights.

    After the sunrise I returned to MultiMate.  I found the group stirring, sipping their tea and packing duffels in preparation for our trek to Dhaulagiri's base camp.  Little did we know that we would have the company of a steady 20+ mph headwind to welcome our return to Jomsom.  The experience itself was more than most people would be willing to put up with, but I found lightheartedness in the fact that when we returned many of us had enough dirt and sand in our teeth, ears, and on our bodies to choke any shower drain.  Looking forward to tomorrow and our trek to Marpha.

Keep Dreaming, Ben Clark

Tuesday, April 2, 2002: Today's complications began with the last evening. The group arrived here in Jomsom in high spirits and poised for our change in direction and our ascent to base camp. After long showers, squeaky-clean hair and white shiny teeth, we had a group meeting. We were informed the mountain has already begun to turn against us. Our climbing support has been getting stalled out of the way to base camp. A pass at 17,000' has thwarted our lead Sherpa, Dawa Chiri [this is Babu Chiri Sherpa brother], a man many believe to be the strongest climber in the world. Our meeting was a discussion about our options, which included additional tasks that may involve waiting patiently in Jomsom for the snow pack to settle or even flying a helicopter to 17,000' dropping loads and porters to assist in breaking trail, a very expensive option.

Himalayan climbing is unlike any other adventure in the world. The logistical hassle of ferrying 120 ninety pound loads to base camp via a three day walk over a 17,000' pass is a nightmare. That is just so we can start the climb. Conditions on route and near the mountain are not ideal for traveling on foot or with mules and yaks.

In addition to these maligned traveling plans, seven of our members, 4 at current have another story to tell. It is of a new member of our expedition; a bug so evil it causes its victims to writhe in pain all night sending reports from your stomach so vile and interrupting that chemical warfare may begin to look timid. These folks are thankful for our rest day today and unfortunately not really enjoying it. As for the rest of the team, we wait patiently at 9,000' through another day of playing chess, sipping tea, and enjoying the splendid views of neighboring peaks around us! Keep Dreaming, Ben Clark

A picture of the Team with Dhaulagiri's north ridge in the background is below taken on March 29th, 2002.

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