Archive for October, 2009

Looking Back at Cho Oyu

Tuesday, October 13th, 2009

Now that I’m back in Calgary I have some time to write down things I wanted to pass along before. One of the things I found interesting was the type of people that were in our group, to maybe illustrate how diverse we were, let me list the professions of all the clients attempting the summit: Lawyer, Farmer, Engineer, Military man, Ex-Bouncer, Diving Instructor, School Teacher, Trainer/Public Speaker, Unemployed.

One of the best moments of the trip for me, other than the summit, was when we were leaving for the summit. Coming out of my tent to a sky full of stars that almost lit the way, walking in the absolutely still air to the path, then starting my journey up with my headlamp lighting the way, oxygen on my face and flowing, giving me the life and energy that I need. It was a very cool experience that made me smile, though it was full of many unknowns: first time on oxygen, first time on this path, and the unknown of what the night’s hard work will bring.

Summit day for me was very long. At about 1:34 am I started my stop watch, and stopped it seven hours and six minutes later on the summit. About 50 minutes I spent on the summit, and then it took me 3h10m to get back down to Camp 3 where the day started. Here some people rested, laid in the tents, made some water. I still had half a liter of water left of the two liters I started with, so I just spent 50 minutes packing all my stuff, and continued down to Camp 2. From Camp 3 to Camp 2 took me 30 minutes (compare that with 4h15m on the way up!) as it is a pretty short distance, plus I slid down half the way on my bum! Reason being was I still had my down suit on and I started getting hot, so rather than stop on the semi-steep slope and start undressing, I decided to slide the rest of the way down! Best idea I ever had!

Packing the rest of my stuff at Camp 2 took an hour, after which I was the first one to set off for Camp 1. This part of the trip took two and a half hours, at which point the walking part of my day was over.

Add all that up and it means in 16 hours of hard work, breathing some of the driest air possible, I drank less than two liters of water. (For comparison, when resting at ABC I would easily drink 5 or 6+ liters of water in a day.) What this means is that upon reaching Camp 1 was the point where I had lost the most weight. My estimate is about 10% of my body weight, so 20 lbs or 9 kilos (most others on the trip estimated similar percentages). I would say 5 pounds of that came back with simply hydrating over the next few days. Another 5 came back after eating big back in Kathmandu. The other 10 I am still missing and working at getting back, and since most of that is probably muscle it will take some time.

It was nice to get back to Kathmandu where there are enough places that serve western food that you can really get whatever you may want. After losing as much weight as we had, everyone eats quite big on every meal. For me, a lover of food, it is one of the fun parts of mountaineering! I remember one breakfast I had a big plate of eggs, beans, cheese and salsa, prepared as Huevos Rancheros. Then I had dessert of apple pie with ice cream. Dessert after breakfast! It was absolutely lovely.

Now I’m back in Calgary and I am slowly trying to get back into the groove here. But it’s tough. For some reason I feel a little bit weird here. People ask me about my trip and I have a hard time just talking about my trip, there’s so much to say. Then they ask what’s next, while honestly I’m just trying to let this trip sink in, which I don’t think has happened yet. But I’m sure after a couple of weeks it’ll all be back to normal, as is always the case with life, so I’m not too worried.

That’s about all I wanted to get off my mind. I posted some more pictures, bigger than Facebook allows, you can find them here. Take care!

Cho Oyu Summit Reached – 8200m

Friday, October 2nd, 2009

The summit was reached on September 27 by our group, at 8:40 am Tibetan time by me! We are now safely back in Kathmandu, have a look at the few pictures I posted on facebook by clicking here. See you all back home soon!