The expedition is now over and we’re all down and back in kathmandu. I’ll write up a full trip report soon but suffice to say that we almost made the summit – however deep loose snow conditions made for very slow climbing with exceedingly poor anchors. We made a 4 day push to get everything we needed to camp1 early on in the piece and then had one rest day before heading back up to the col for a summit push. Camp 1 was situated at 5640m and we bivvied at 6100m – the next morning above the bivvy the snow [/caption] got worse and the climbing slightly more tenuous over some narrow knifeblade ridge lines – and of course with faceted powder snow. The bivvy was a chopped out ledge at the last place we got to before it became too dark and whilst we were pretty late the evening was quite comfortable with plenty of water and no wind. Winter wasa bit cold and he’d managed to puncture his thermarest – but we were able to share some gear around to stay warm on the snow.
The upper headwall at the low peak had about knee deep snow with 1500m fall lines and no pro. After much agonising we deceided to turn back – continuing would have meant a forced second bivvy with little food but with plenty of water .. However the main factor was the snow conditions. The descent took us 8 hours with most of time spent trying to find acnhors. Downlimbing what we4 had soloed seemed stupid and scary as the steps we collapsing under our feet most of the time. We were able to find good ice after digging for 2-3 feet at each anchor point though. Back at camp 1 we all felt pretty drained and exhausted.
The descent back down the headwall and onto the glacier was punctuated with a massive slope settlement and the obligatory run under the ice cliffs – though the “bowling alley” as we came to affectionately call it. The glacier itself was moderatley chopped up with some decent bridges that allowed us access – in the future it may simply be a stuggle to reach the headwall .. Matt went back over the Cho La whilst Winter and I went down to Phortse and met him in Tengboche the day later. So now 4 dayslater we are back in Kathmandu – skinnier and very very tired. Enjoy the images – I’ll have more up soon and bit more info on the trip. CIAO Mal