5/13/2003 It couldn't be.
Kangchenjunga: Carlos Pauner
On the 8th
at 6 in the morning, we left base camp with the intention of attacking the
summit of Kangchenjunga. We climbed in 6 hours, directly to camp 2, at 7,000
m. The route, as always, has to be opened, because the snowfalls of each day
erase it every time. After sleeping in camp 2, we went into unknown terrain.
We crossed the top of the ice fall that gives access to the snow plateau, at
the base of the summit pyramid known as "great shelf". To get there we had to
cross two big crevasses in the ice and to climb vertical walls, so, with
everything being carried on our backs, it has been very hard. This way we got
to the location of camp 3, at 7,600 m, in a valley at the bottom of the
Kangchen terminal corridor. There are still 1000 m. of uneven terrain to go
and we prepare to spend the night. At 2 in the morning, we get ready to
leave. We dress up and prepare water, which inside a tent shared by 4 is a
long and hard task. When we are ready, around 4, the wind begins to blow.
Not much at the beginning, but then it begins to shake the tent. We decide
to wait a little. Inside, there is almost no room, the frost covers it all
and the cold temperature is intense. Around 6, we leave, with the light of
day already, but the wind and the blizzard make us turn around. We keep
waiting and around 7 we decide there is not enough time to get to the summit,
and during the blizzard we climb down to base camp in very harsh conditions.
The return has been very hard, because the blizzard didn't let us see the
route, or the crevasses, and we even initiated one layer avalanche or another,
which scared us. Finally, at base camp, deception is more than obvious. We
have been just hours away to end it all. But this mountain, hard as it could
be, has not let us get to the summit. After so much effort, we had to turn
around. One feels like giving up everything, like quitting, because the
suffering due to the high altitudes is extraordinary and hard to explain for
those who have not experienced it. Nevertheless, now we have to rest and
recover. The high altitude has treated us bad and in our bodies there are
traces of these past days. We have lost a lot of weight, we have destroyed
throats and above all, a bad mood. Tomorrow, I'm sure, we will see it all
differently. After a night of "comfort" inside our tents and after having
eaten and drunk well, we will be in another mood. We will be more positive
and we'll say, at least we have installed camp 3 at 7,600 m and we have made
that acclimatization mark. It will be that way, tomorrow, because today there
is only room for pain, for deception and the most profound depression.
Tomorrow will be another day...
from Spanish by Jorge Rivera