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 David Lim: ASCENT 8000

David Lim ASCENT 8000
Singapore Disabled Ascents of Shishapangma and Cho Oyu 2002

Below is the story of Dave's Shisha attempt...

Two fried eggs, a pancake and a sprinkling of black pepper. If you've just had a horrible 9 hour day descending in a windstorm, this is the closest you'll get to culinary heaven. I missed adding that apart from 2 -3 mugs of hot tea, you've also had nothing to eat but six small biscuits all day. 


I'm down from Cho Oyu. We didn't make the top but got to 7800m and past most of the technical difficulties of the route. We got to ABC on May 13th, rested a day and went straight up to Camp 1 (6300m) or so. This camp is right on the glacier's edge. This was followed by a hard haul over 2 ice cliffs and then to Camp 2 ( 6925m ). In 1997, I recall we had a fine day to Camp 3 at 7350m and took ( for me anyway ) 5 1/2 hours. This time, in bad  (snowy, cloudy)  weather, we made it in 3 1/2 hours and with bigger loads - you go figure....

The weather was brilliant on Friday and we thought we'd missed the best of it. Our day on Sunday started on 4am where we climbed up to the 50 m vertical rock band. Unlike the 1997 route I was successful on, the fixed line and route took the most direct and thus most vertical approach to the summit block. The route was about 50 m through granite and then 50 degree snow couloirs for about 100m and the an unprotected slabby bit that went on for another 100m before the big snow patch underneath the summit block. 

By this time, it had taken me about 5-6 hours and the wind was picking up. It would be easy to  say that this was why we turned round. But the truth of the matter is that the very tough terrain was murder on my bad leg and the energy spent compensating for it had completely fatigued me. We had taken on the mountains on its terms and we'd been beaten. We had been leading the small pack all the day and were happy to let an Italian couple at that stage take over and make the top. I'll send a pic of the route soon. I had given 100% but it wasn't enough. We dropped back to Camp 2 - disappointed but knowing we had done our best. 

If there was one reason for failure to summit both Shishapangma and Cho Oyu it would be a lack of compromise in style. Perhaps in the future, I should, like so many climbers gunning for the big peaks, get a posse of sherpas to lay fixed rope ahead of me and/or carry everything. My insisting on doing as much as I could, this may have lessened the margins of success. I'm not sure where the line between a mountain tourist and adventurer lies but I'm sure I'm well inside the right line.

The descent the next day was a small epic. Windy weather had been predicted but not the 70 kmh sort that knocks you of your feet. My camping mat went ballistic as a gust of wind caught it. It's in the next glacier system now. Descending the two ice cliffs was also scary and tough. My left hand was half frozen and the ropes were stuck in the ice. Finally, we cleared these obstacles only to meet more strong winds. The same Italian couple were almost blown off the ridge. Finally, the  four of us roped ourselves as two pairs and inched our way down - four legs per group better for balance in the strong winds.

It was 8 - 9 hours before I was back in ABC - and now for those eggs  and pancakes by Gyanu, our cook. 

Other Shishapangma 2002 Expeditions and News



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