Dan Mazur's Kangchenjunga Spring 2002

2 May Dispatch: The weather was sunny and hot in the morning, and in the afternoon, it did not rain very hard. Ivan, Julio, Malte, Paul and Mike rested in basecamp. Stuart, Steve and Chris rested in camp 1. Ian, Felix and Dan walked across the plateau, and the climbed up through the ice building (a 30 - 55 degree ice and snow gulley of approximately 300 meters vertical gain, which provides passage from the 6000 meter plateau up to the 6400 meter ice terrace. Hanging above this ice-snow gulley, are two tiers of seracs. Although rather inactive, they do indeed look formidable, and this is no place to hang about. After climbing up through the ice building, they proceeded to post hole through very deep snow along the 6400 meter ice terrace, which still has the occasional serac hanging above, and in the darkening afternoon, they realized  they would not arrive at an appropriate place for camp 2 that afternoon. They found a spot which was relatively serac-fall protected and free of crevasses, in a 20 degree slope, and they dug a slim platform, wide enough for a tent and long enough for two, with their ice axes, into the snow slope. It was nearly dark by the time they set up and guyed out the two Ozark Mountain 24 tents, and crawled in to fire up their two Blue Sheep International hanging stoves. 

3 May Dispatch: Ian, Felix and Dan woke up early in their airy perch, the weather was sunny in the morning, and in the afternoon it turned to snow. They plodded up through the deep and crusty snow, with the heavy rucksacks. They followed flags placed earlier by Julio, Ivan, Malte,  Paul and Mike. The flags crossed a monstrous looking crevasse, and they stopped to investigate, by actually crawling in (roped) and finding that it was a filled-in crevasse of about three meters depth, so not seriously dangerous. They built a camp two platform at 6450 meters, large enough for 4 tents, up under a protective serac wall, near to where Ivan, Julio,  Malte, Paul and Mike had previously deposited tents, stoves, shovels, and rope and ice screws. Late that afternoon, Chris, Stuart, Steve and Paul arrived, and Dan helped them to set up their Ozark tents, while Felix meanwhile got a brew on, so everyone of the new arrivals could have a cup of hot Tang. Malte rested in camp 1, with a sore throat and fatigue. Julio, Ivan, Dorje Tamang, Jangbu Sherpa, Ang Galu Sherpa, Dorje Sherpa, Mark and Mike walked up to camp 1.

4 May Dispatch: The morning was sunny and the afternoon was cloudy and snowing. Mike, Mark, Malte, Dorje Tamang, Jangbu Sherpa, Julio and Ivan walked up to camp 2 to spend the night. Ang Galu Sherpa and Dorje Sherpa carried a load to camp 2, then returned to camp 1 to spend the night. Stuart and Chris shoveled tent spaces for them. Steve, Paul and Ian rested. Felix and Dan hiked through very deep snow and over 20 degree tilted seracs to the base of the notorious rock band at 6700 meters, the next obstacle in our path. The Rock band is the crux of the climb on the northwest face. Its a bout 500 meters of altitude gain on mixed ice - rock - snow. Hard technical climbing, all accomplished at an altitude of around 7000 meters. Its relatively safe from objective danger, there are no seracs hanging above. However, it is subject to rock and ice fall, and also, when it is snowing, copious avalanches. Felix and Dan found a 10 meter deep, by 12 meter wide, by 5 meter high ice cave inside the bergsschrund at the base of the route, and it looked like it might be safe. They took turns exploring (roped up of course) the floor of the cave and over a period of several hours, they shoveled a platform large enough for a tent, then returned to camp 2 in the evening. 

5 May Dispatch: Happy Birthday Amy. Today was sunny in the morning and snowy and windy in the afternoon. Dan and Dorje Tamang returned to basecamp on a quest to find more high altitude cooking gas. It seems the members have been choosing to spend many days and nights at altitude, rather than resting in basecamp. We had not foreseen this group being so strong and keen, nor the weather being so good (comparatively so for eastern Nepal). We have plenty of gas now, but it could run out, if the members really push their limits and stay up in the higher camps for most of May, which it looks like they might. Therefore, Dan will go and hunt out more gas in Eastern Nepal and even as far as Kathmandu if necessary. On their way down, Dorje and Dan inventoried all of the camps, and found 88 cylinders of gas (62 having been used) among many other items. Felix and Jangbu moved into the ice cave in the bergsschrund at 6700 meters, calling it camp 3.  A very keen Ivan and Julio fixed 100 meters of French static 7mm kernmantel rope on the bergsschrund, and started getting into the rock and mixed ice-climbing. Ian, Steve, Stuart, Chris and Paul carried a load of gear up to 6700 meters and stashed it in the ice cave. Mark and Mike and Malte  rested in camp 2. 

6 May Dispatch: It was a crappy but warm morning. Mark elected to send Tek down to basecamp to get more food and gas so he could stay in camp 2. The rest of the team decided to stay in camp 2 and rest. Dan left basecamp at midday, heading out for Ghunsa with Kipa the 2nd cook, Nike Sherpa, Matay Sherpa, and Kungdup. They walked hard and fast in the afternoon snow and rain, and arrived in Ghunsa (3600 meters) at 18:30 pm, staying at Himalaya Chungda's place. They were tired, but that evening  sent out the word to the village that gas was needed.

Thank you very much. Cheers for now. Yours
Sincerely, Daniel Mazur from http://www.SummitClimb.com

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